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Behind the scenes of BBC iPlayer

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James Hewines | 12:51 UK time, Friday, 28 May 2010

Hello, I'm James Hewines, the Head of BBC iPlayer.

I look after everything you see as a user, including new developments and keeping things running smoothly every day across the many platforms we support.

Wednesday was a really exciting day for the iPlayer team with the launch of a major new beta version of the site - adding a range of personal and connected features, and rethinking the way the site is designed to keep things as slick and simple as possible. You can find out more about what's included in Anthony Rose's post.

The other big piece of news came in the publication of the latest figures for iPlayer - the highlight for me here was the record monthly play requests which are now hitting 123 million.

A big thank you for all your comments and ideas so far - we've had a great response so far and the team are closely following the reaction. Although I can't promise to come back on every question individually, we'll be posting updates as the beta progresses and give a response on the key things that come up starting next week. We'd love to hear what you think, so please:

Below you can check out the video we've put together to try and give people insight into some of the thinking behind the new site. It's a chance to meet some of the people on the team and find out a bit about how we work, and why we've changed it. This kind of thing is a bit of a departure for the BBC and we hope people find it interesting. Tell us if you do in the comments on this blog.


James Hewines is the Head of BBC iPlayer.

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  • 1. At 2:24pm on 28 May 2010, Ed Lyons wrote:

    I hate to repeat things over and over, but when we are going to see keyboard shortcuts for iPlayer? Just space to pause/resume. Please!!!

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  • 2. At 2:31pm on 28 May 2010, Hazz wrote:

    Some comments from me:

    1. There only seems to be space for one 'Last played' programme whereas before there was about 10 or something. Sometimes I don't watch the whole programme in one go, I'll pause it and go do something else and comeback. If I do that now I can't just go to TV Favourites and see it in last played with my other recently watch programmes. Also I might want to watch it again and be able to find it easily...

    2. Instead of having favourites I think it would be better to have subscriptions like YouTube does. Instead of favouring an episode and then getting all the other new episodes of that series it would be better to just subscribe to a series.

    3. On the TV Channels section it says "Full BBC One London Schedule". I'm in Oxford so this is no good for me. When will you introduce local TV listings like you do for Radio?

    4. Will you ever be able to get the license to show Family Guy or other American Shows on iPlayer?

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  • 3. At 3:11pm on 28 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    I'd like to reiterate what Ed Lyons wrote, at least a spacebar shortcut for play/stop would be lovely. Other than that, I'm liking the new revamp so far, I just wish the iPlayer could be a platform for every other channel too!

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  • 4. At 3:18pm on 28 May 2010, Paul Jakma wrote:

    Why is it that BBC only ever uses open standards for Apple products? Why can't other platforms be given easy access the HTML5 video iPlayer?

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  • 5. At 5:36pm on 28 May 2010, Manu wrote:

    It seems very nice. However, Black it’s not the best color for this site.

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  • 6. At 01:59am on 29 May 2010, James Cridland wrote:

    That James Hewines looks like he runs up mountains for fun.

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  • 7. At 09:48am on 29 May 2010, ss7 wrote:

    The new beta iplayer site looks awesome on my iPad. Nice use of screen space and great navigation. All seems to work fine, except for the fact that it insists on using flash for playback.

    Sadly the new iPad "optimised" version of iplayer based on the bigscreen interface looks dreadful. When in fullscreen mode you also can't navigate back to the previous page, which makes it virtually unusable. Sure, when videos play back they look nice, but at the moment there's hardly any videos there to watch.

    It would make much more sense to me to have based the iPad iplayer off of the desktop version. It feels like the four weeks spent hacking together the current bigscreen based version would have been much better spent adapting the desktop version instead.

    Failing that, allowing iPad users to use the iPhone version would be a massive improvement over the current iPad version.

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  • 8. At 5:03pm on 29 May 2010, iamflimflam1 wrote:

    Completely agree with ss7. Please please please, just give us the normal iPlayer site on our iPads - the big screen interface really is dreadful.

    Or just give us back the iPhone version - that used to work on the iPad until you blocked the device!

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  • 9. At 09:31am on 30 May 2010, catherine wrote:

    This comment has been referred to the moderators. Explain.

  • 10. At 9:53pm on 30 May 2010, Chris wrote:

    When is iplayer going to become available in an open way for a large range of mobiles rather than a small number of selected handsets?

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  • 11. At 00:28am on 31 May 2010, Darren wrote:

    On the PS3, a timer stays on screen when the progress bar fades off (this started happening about a month ago, can this be changed please or set as an option, as its very distracting.

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