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(Pocket-lint) - BBC iPlayer has been updated and a new user interface has been introduced allowing you to take advantage of the multiple devices you use, as well as keep up with the shifting changes in viewing behaviour.

But what's new and what's going to be the cool stuff to look out for? We look at the features of the new BBC iPlayer and how they differ from the older version you're probably familiar with. 

READ: New BBC iPlayer pictures and hands-on

Responsive Design

The new iPlayer has been designed in HTML5 to respond to the screen that it is being viewed on, allowing you to access the same experience on multiple devices with different screen sizes. Pocket-lint has been running a responsive design since April 2013 and to see what we mean by that grab the right-hand side of your browser and pull it to the left.

As the browser window gets smaller the design of our site changes according to the space available. For the previous, now older, version of the iPlayer this wouldn't happen, with the new iPlayer site it does. 

Home Screen

Like the iPad experience, the new iPlayer homepage is now a lot more visually led, highlighting the great TV shows and films available on the service. To make it easier to get to the BBC's channels, a consistent navigation bar now spans the top of the page letting you jump straight into BBC One or CBBC for example.

If you can't find what you are looking for straight away the search bar, a programme list and new recently watched feature should help.

Compared to the older, now 7-year-old website, it is a lot more tablet and phone friendly.


Previously channels got a standard text heavy listing page that showed you what was available and what was coming. Now each channel becomes more of a destination in its own right and like the PS4 when you load a game in the menu system, highlights what the channel is about more clearly.

Like the homepage, the experience is a lot more image-led and should highlight the best of what the channel is offering rather than just a schedule of programmes. A TV guide will still be available to those who just want the facts.

Channels also get background themes that reflect their TV-style designs.


Although the iPlayer has always had categories they were labelled in TV industry speak, like Factual, they now have friendlier category names such as Documentaries, Food, Arts, History, and Science & Nature. These categories showcase the range of catch-up, archive, exclusives and premieres to match viewing behaviour and the way we talk about TV shows. Hopefully, it will mean you have a better understanding of what is where. After all should we really class Top Gear as Factual as it previously was?


Understanding that a lot of what the BBC produces is around themes or certain subjects, the new iPlayer will highlight this content in a new area on the iPlayer site. It's something that wasn't previously available here, and probably borne out of the efforts and programming that the BBC has done for the Great War.

For viewers, it means a greater chance to view content around a subject that isn't necessarily on the same channel or by the same makers.

Watching shows

The new iPlayer uses the new BBC Standard Media Player that lets you effectively series link programmes to make sure you don't miss others in the series and fire up the next episode when you are done just like in Neflix.

You are also now offered other relevant content too. Expect to want to watch more once you're done, rather than the one show and out mentality many have previously had.


Search has been enhanced and made clearer, but the BBC hasn't gone as far as Sky and tell you start searching by actors and actresses, for example. You do get a recently watched feature though, which is new compared to what was available previously. Now you get to see what the rest of the family is watching too.


The new iPlayer should deliver a far better, more inclusive experience that encourages and enables you to watch even more shows from the BBC, setting the corporation up for bigger and better things in the future. 

Writing by Stuart Miles.