The BBC introduced a completely revamped TV version of its popular iPlayer on Monday, aiming to simplify the user experience on the TV screen with remote-control-optimized navigation, personalization and picture-in-picture overlays. The new iPlayer for TV utilizes HTML5 and is initially only available on Sony’s PS3, but iPlayer TV Executive Product Manager Gideon Summerfield wrote on the BBC’s Internet blog that the increased adoption of standards like HTML5 in the connected-TV space will help to bring the product to other devices as well.
Check out a video demonstration of the new iPlayer below:
The BBC is taking a page out of Netflix’s playbook with this new product; Netflix debuted its latest-generation UI on the PS3 as well, and the company has been using a combination of HTML5 and its APIs to rapidly innovate on its UI experience.
But the BBC’s move toward HTML5 also shows how important the emerging standard is becoming in the connected-TV world. Google TV and Boxee already have full-fledged web browsers integrated into their TV platforms, and others are expected to follow suit. HTML5 is also part of the new D-Book standard for connected devices, which is meant to ensure a smooth digital-TV switchover in the U.K.
However, the BBC isn’t putting all of its eggs in one basket with its new product. Summerfield wrote on Monday that the BBC is also building a version based on Adobe Flash 10.x and Air 2.x. From the blog post:
In addition to helping to make development easier we think building standard products on these two widely understood technologies will be able to address the majority of connected TV devices that we see our audience buying for their homes.
The BBC expects that in a few years, 50 percent of iPlayer usage will come directly from TVs.