BBC iPlayer Set To Grace BT Vision

Vincent Teoh

BT Vision, the internet protocol television (IPTV) service operated by the UK-based telecommunications giant BT Group, will start offering the ever-so-popular BBC iPlayer catch-up TV service as soon as next month.

BBC iPlayer on BT Vision

When the BBC iPlayer TV catch-up service first went live online towards the end of 2007, it was initially designed for PC and laptop users to watch BBC television and radio programmes that they had missed in the preceding seven days. But it wasn’t long before the Beeb discovered the UK public’s high level of interest in consuming catch-up TV content on their HDTV sets right in their living rooms, following well-received implementations of the BBC iPlayer on various digital TV (such as Sky, Virgin Media and Freesat) and console (e.g. Sony PS3 and Nintendo Wii) platforms.

Although the BBC and BT are currently partners in the YouView project, the collaboration between the pair to make the former’s iPlayer service available on the latter’s BT Vision platform marks a distinct change of tune from when BT slammed the bandwidth-heavy BBC iPlayer for putting excessive burden on its broadband network. At one point the telecommunications company actually throttled internet connections to the iPlayer video service to prevent online traffic congestion.

The BBC iPlayer will gradually be rolled out to BT Vision customers starting from December over a period of five months, with every subscriber scheduled to receive the service by April next year. Accessible through the main menu, BT Vision’s version of the BBC iPlayer will be the full rather than limited service, which delivers nearly identical content to those offered online.

The BBC revealed that its iPlayer servers was hit with a record 139 million programme requests across all platforms including PCs, TVs and mobile devices last month, of which 20 million (approximately 14 percent) were eventually delivered to television sets.