BBC iPlayer for Xbox 360 pictures and hands-on
BBC iPlayer has landed on the Xbox 360. The service is now available free on every major games console, PCs, Macs and mobile phones. It is the latest video-based application to be added to the Xbox's library alongside the likes of Netflix and Lovefilm.
Until now, only PS3 owners and Wii users have been able to enjoy streaming from BBC iPlayer on their games console. It is the only UK content partner that you will be able to watch on the Xbox without Xbox Live Gold status. Meaning no fees whatsoever if you want to watch iPlayer content.
Pocket-lint was shown a demo of the service running with Kinect. The app can be controlled entirely by using the Kinect's voice-recognition and motion-sensing capabilities - much like the standard Xbox home screen.
Content is exactly the same as any other platform and implements the speedy Xbox search that you see in programs like Netflix. The app will also remember what you have searched for previously, let you identify favourite programmes and, importantly, run programmes in HD if they have been filmed in that format.
Unfortunately the iPlayer app only stores favourites and searches locally on the Xbox, not using the BBC ID from the desktop version. This means you can't share viewing habits between different versions of the service.
Kinect functionality worked very well, the app's homepage being pretty much identical to that of the normal Xbox, except with an iPlayer twist. Programmes would switch quickly between HD and SD, stream smoothly and searches run quickly.
Programmes are divided into categories, most watched and featured, in the same ways as the iPlayer on the desktop. The BBC has been very careful to make the whole experience as similar as possible to the computer. This is a good thing for parents who plan on using the kid's Xbox to stream a bit of telly, as it's extremely straightforward to use.
The Xbox is now a fairly formidable media player, the addition of BBC services completing the console's on-demand setup. In fact watching video using the 360 has become so popular, that 42 per cent of Xbox Live Gold members watch an average of one hour of video per day.
For those who want to give it a go, BBC iPlayer should be available from the app marketplace as you're reading this.
Excited about the new iPlayer app? Let us know in the comments below ...