back to article BBC upgrades iPlayer to allow 'social propositions'

The BBC has relaunched the website version of its popular iPlayer service in an effort to give the online telly catch-up service a Web2.0rhea sheen. Auntie pushed out an iPlayer beta this morning and said it planned to release a full-fat version in July this year. The Corporation said it had simplified its iPlayer by making …


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  1. Dan P
    Thumb Down

    Enough already...

    I wish companies would stop needlessly trying to make everything about social networking rather than improving the core services they offer. Seriously, I don't need to be in contact with everyone on every contact list I've ever created on the web from every website, tool or service I might want to use.

  2. LuMan


    I started drifting off when reading the article. Not because of the article, but because I was up late watching telly. Anyhow, I perked up when I stumbled across Erik Huggers. What a great name! Do you think his mates call him Tree??

    1. I didn't do IT.

      Re: Friends call 'im

      Perhaps, "Erik - the half a Tree - Huggers"?

  3. Chris Hatfield

    Hooking up with total strangers, what could possibly go wrong

    I can envisage the Daily Mail headline now - 'Pedos & asylum seekers selling meow-meow to children via iPlayer!"

    On a serious note: meh, I'm not sure if this will add any real value. It should be, at the very least, opt-IN. (Not opt-out). I don't want to be watching "Outnumbered" when an irritating little box pops up, "saying Bieber4eva wants to chat"

    1. marksi


      It is an opt-in service. And has no chat facility.

      1. I didn't do IT.

        Re: No Chat

        Ummmm... it has no chat facility of _the BBC's making_. However, the report states that it would be compatible with other chat, email and other social networking sites, perhaps in partnerships. So iPlayer would have someone else's chat facility piggybacked.

        Does that mean that everytime you do get a "Beiber4eva wants to chat" BBC get's a haypenny if if you (or they) click on any of the ads that come up (based on the context of your chat, don't ya know)?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        More Grist for the Dirty Digger

        More likely to here the usual yelps and scare stories from theMyspace Murdock press (they've been having a go at Feedbag your years now in order to better promote the Murdock owned).

        And Marksi, glad to here no chat; hard enough watching a bit of telly without interruption enough.

  4. Mr Pedantio

    The kids on your lawn aren't doing any harm

    Why do you at The Register have a downer on social networking? Do you prefer the web to be a solitary experience?

    Smart move, BBC. I was only just listening to an excellent show on the iPlayer, and wishing there was Facebook integration so I could easily post it for my friends to enjoy too. I won't say here what it was though, cause it seems you folks don't like the web to be about sharing and personal recommendation.

    (Alright then, it was Charlie Brooker's new quiz show, So Wrong It's Right. Better not mention that I first read about it on Twitter.)

    1. frank ly
      Thumb Down


      Have you tried running Facebook in a different tab, then you can copy/paste your 'recommendation' from the iPlayer screen to the Facebook (or similar) IM box? That way, you can also have a group chat running commentary on the content of the tv programme you are all watching.

      Maybe the Web2.0 crowd can't handle more than function at a time though.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      Easily share with friends? That's what status updates are for, just post the url along with comment, simples. Why does everything these days need to be a single click away?

    3. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Dead Vulture

      Too right!

      Listen sonny, we here on the Reg are a bunch of curmudgeons who remember when hard disks were still called "Winchesters"!

      Away with you whipper-snappers and your constant need to make the most of technology! Connecting and communicating with others indeed, why next you'll be telling us anyone should be using computers!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Oh poo

        "Listen sonny, we here on the Reg are a bunch of curmudgeons who remember when hard disks were still called "Winchesters"!"

        I remember them being launched. I must be closer to retirement than I thought.

        Oh no, I just remembered, retirement moved further away.

        Ah, those were the days. Being able to talk about 10 inch floppies without ending up in a sexual harassment tribunal. Why on earth did we let the Carry On writers name all of the products in those days?

    4. Cameron Colley

      Have you not heard of URIs?

      You know, those things you can post up on MyFaceBoWitter so that people can go and lok at a web page you'd like them to see? They work for iPlayer too you know?

      What people have problem whit here is that time and effort go into developing this needless Web2.0 crap when they should go into making the site more stable and usable as it is.

      If you do want to invite friends to "watch with you" you can always email them, or MSN them, or twitter it, or put the link on facebook, or... There is no need for hte BBC to attach this to the iPlayer.

      Are Web2.0 fans so unimaginative that they can't work out some way of using existing technology to communicate and have to have some nice developer to make things easier?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The kids on your lawn aren't doing any harm

      "was only just listening to an excellent show on the iPlayer, and wishing there was Facebook integration so I could easily post it for my friends to enjoy too."

      Honey, you might wanna take a seat for this one:

      Computers have had the ability to "Copy" and "Paste" data, particularly text, for over 35 years. There are many possible uses for this, but one particularly stupid use that you may find interesting would be it's ability to transfer a URL from your browsers address bar to an input box on Facebook.

      Maybe you should check it out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Jobs Horns

        35 Years! Your so wrong

        Steve has only just invented Copy and Paste.

        1. StooMonster
          Gates Horns

          Deffo wrong

          The other Steve (Ballmer) has yet to invent Copy and Paste (on his Windows Phone 7).

    6. Anonymous Coward


      "I was only just listening to an excellent show on the iPlayer, and wishing there was Facebook integration so I could easily post it for my friends to enjoy too."

      A key feature of spam is that it takes little or no effort to send. If "select URL, copy, open Facebook, paste, click Share" is too much effort then the show wasn't good enough to tell people about and the sharing/tweeting/whatevering will be considered spam.

    7. Efros

      Ctrl C, Ctrl V

      It really aint that difficult.

    8. Neil Stansbury
      Thumb Up

      Go Beeb

      Yep quite agree.

      The non-exclusivity doesn't seem any different to allowing BBC channels on Virgin or Sky and, I've often wanted the ability to share or "be shared with" my iPlayer content.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      IT already exists! Why spend our license money on pointless crap?

      You are an are the BBC people responsible...You want to share that show with a mate via facebook...You know what a URL is? excellent...Well just for your 'friends to enjoy to' here you go...

      Now how was that in any way hard? You tool.

    10. Naughtyhorse

      Funny you should say that....

      a) surfing tinterwebs IS a solitary activity

      End your internal dialogue.

      It is.

      if you see 2 or more people at a computer. 1 is surfing the others are watching the first one surf.

      (unless a revolutionary and magical multi touch devise is involved :D)

      b) if I see a great tv programme and want to tell my mates about it. I do. I speak to them, either directly, on the phone or cut and paste a link and mail it to them. and we watch it _together_ which makes it better (thats why canned laughter is used on so many shows, makes us feel part of a group)

      and as for this kids on the lawn.

      bolux to em,

      you rolls it

      you mows it

      you feeds it

      you rolls it some more

      then a bunch of hoodie wearing neanderthals get on it, gobbing everywhere and stubbing out their fags all over it.

      it's my lawn and they can piss off to their own bloody lawn!


    11. Spleen


      If you wanted to tell your Facebook friends about it so badly, couldn't you have just pressed Ctrl-T, gone to and typed "Hey guys, check out So Wrong It's Right"?

      The problem with this bag of badgers' paws is that in order for an incredibly lazy minority to save about three seconds' typing, everyone else will have to work around a bunch of unnecessary crap.

  5. Lee Dowling Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    Haven't been there since get_iplayer was made to feel unwelcome and development stopped. Being able to "tag" things on Facebook isn't going to compensate for that.

  6. irish donkey
    Thumb Up

    I wish they would improve the interface

    We watch iPlayer on an old tube TV, the iPlayer is designed for use on a wide screen TV so we spend ages scrolling back and forward to get to the full screen button. Once in full screen the program looks fine.

    Just navigating the app is poor in a non wide screen television.

    So hope they fix that. A few shortcut keys would be helpful as well

    When I put the media centre in the wife moaned like anything. What do we need that for nag nag nag. 2 weeks later it broke down. When are you going to get the media centre fixed Nag Nag Nag?

    iPlayer treating addicts everywhere

    1. marksi


      Time to buy a new television.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    @Mr Pedantio

    Is your life THAT busy that taking the extra second or two to copy and paste the url into facebook is such a stress to you? Perhaps you shouldn't be watching tv all the time in that case?

    I'd be far more interested in them sorting out both PS3 and iPhone downloading of programmes.

  8. David 155

    @ Mr Pedantio

    Could you not have just copied and pasted a link?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    multi tab browsing and computers that can run an IM client too!

    Is all this because people are increasingly computer illiterate of the basics and simply cannot manage to copy and paste a link from the address bar into a chat window... or onto an FB status box.

    I know my batter half who can do lots with office apps like word and excel when it comes to her work, yet to get to any site on the web starts with typing it into google, even sites where what she types only needs a dot com, e.g. the BBC!

  10. Ian 62

    Its about the ratings....

    Self perpetuating machine...

    1) People watch TV online, without a licence,

    2) Get enough people watching online we can make a claim to up the tv licence

    3) More people that can link iPlayer to their friends, more people watch more

    4) More people watch, it costs more to run, up the tv licence.

  11. Dave Murray
    Thumb Down


    Twatting about a TV program is not interacting with BBC content, it's interacting with Twatter and the Twaterati.

  12. gribbler
    Thumb Up

    Great idea

    I watch and listen to most of my BBC content through iplayer and I think it's a great idea to be able to reccomend shows to friends through FB. Social integration isn't always a bad thing you know...

  13. Bruno Girin
    Thumb Up

    And it still works on Ubuntu

    Cool, for once a company who upgrade their stuff and don't break Linux support! I like the new iPlayer, it's a lot easier to find programs.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Watching shows + chat

    This is, of course, an idea taken from sites like, where you can watch all manner of legal programming.

    They never show Premier League football on there. Ever.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    maybe this is an opening to help groups of people see things simultaneously over iPlayer. Then it starts to work more like a nearVOD service. Needs a multicast enabled infrastructure (telcos and ISPs - this means you) - then there's a chance to contain the wholesale blowout of bandwidth across the country.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Social networking

    It consider the term, when used in the context of the internet to be very contradictory. Social it is not and networking, if having more 'friends' than others is networking then I'll eat my WiFi.

    What is wrong with people actually going out and meeting people face to face and actually talking to them rather than posting: "AC is a nob", "I hate working with Rik Mylewski" or other such brilliant type of utterings from the great unwashed.

    I'm fed up to the back teeth with the Beeb cosying up to Microsoft with my licence money. The only computing they should be involved in is developing a BBC micro for the 21st century!

    1. david bates


      we have iPlayer! Give up watching programs as they are broadcast and there is no need to give the BBC a penny.

  17. TRT Silver badge

    Social programming?

    So, you can order pizza and beer via iPlayer too? Brill! Now I just need to get a sofa.

  18. Stephen Clifford

    Series linking

    Something that's been missed in pretty much all the right-ups about the changes is that, it would seem, the BBC have snuck in a sort of Series Link option for downloading future episodes.

    Unfortunately, I'm stuck at trying to install the updated iPlayer Desktop so I can't see how it works, but from the sound of the option on screen 'Download Future Episodes' it seems that you can set it automatically download episodes when they're released.

    That's sure to annoy Sky.

  19. Ian Ferguson

    Social networking

    "the Beeb wouldn’t create its own social networking sites"

    That's a bit of a shame - the BBC acquired many years ago (Douglas Adam's dotcom attempt at starting an online version of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), mainly for its excellent 'DNA' user content generation and social networking engine. This went on to power most of the BBC's excellent communities (around comedy and new music particularly).

    The BBC has such a great 'home-grown' image amongst Brits that the community built up around it is enthusiastic about supporting and encouraging BBC projects. This should be nurtured, not abandoned.

    And for the record, h2g2 still exists on the BBC website, but is somewhat hidden and forgotten about - I don't think it even has any staff assigned to it any more :( If Douglas hadn't died at such an inopportune time, I like to think he wouldn't have let this happen.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Can't help thinking

    That maybe ITV would get more mileage out of such drivel.

  21. Matt Piechota

    Re: Social Networking

    AC: "What is wrong with people actually going out and meeting people face to face and actually talking to them rather than posting: "AC is a nob", "I hate working with Rik Mylewski" or other such brilliant type of utterings from the great unwashed."

    Let me turn the question around: what is superior about going out, meeting people, and saying: "AC is a nob", or "I hate working with Rik Mylewski"? You know it's going to be the same twaddle just in a different format. At least on FB et al. I can block some of it. Whereas if I'm at a bar (pub), I have to listen to the American/Pop Idol prattle from nearby people.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Facebook hookup

    I can see this happening: Some friend posted a link to a show on iPlayer on facebook, and his friend can't access it because he's outside the UK.

    Just like how people post Hulu links to forums only for others to find that they can't access it because they're outside the US.

    Fail. What's the point of allowing people to link it to social sites if you don't want the world to see it? Heck, what's the point of putting something on the Internet if you don't want the world to see it?

  23. Andrew Ed

    @Lee Dowling

    get_iplayer still working fine here. It stopped about a week ago and then all it needed was a couple of lines changing in the scripts to work again.

    That is on my Mandriva install on the wifes Windows desktop I haven't looked at it yet. The other half gets to use the TV and DVB recorder whilst I get to use get_iplayer = everyone happy!

  24. Anonymous Coward


    Forget this iPlayer malarkey - Torrents FTW.

  25. Mark McC
    Thumb Up

    Don't like the feature? Don't use it

    I probably won't be Twitbooking any TV shows via iplayer, but I'm not going to start a moanfest about a piece of software having a feature other people will use that's of no use to me. I know everyone here hates social networking, but last time I checked it was rather popular with the internet as a whole. Internet users are a core demographic for the BBC's internet division.

    I do like the new favourites function, very handy for keeping track of Radio 4 shows I'm constantly forgetting about. Overall, it adds features I've been wanting for ages, plus some I don't care about but can safely ignore. People banging on about copy/paste should learn about an even simpler computer trick called not-clicking. Once you master the ability to not-click on the features you don't want, you'll never be bothered by them again - a real timesaver!

  26. Simon B

    BBC shiiiiitePlayer

    Shame BBC iplayer is so CRAP. Try watching, say Dr Who, 15 mins after it finishes. If you manage to get iplayer to the iplayer site to load - eventually (well done!!) you then have to get your chosen program to START (could be a problem). If you get over these 2 hurdles your final one is a program that doesn't keep stopping and rebuffering. They can't COPE, either the servers or bandwidth. I have little issue with sky player, or Channel 5's player, or anyone elses for that matter, but the BBC's is SHITE!

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