The BBC has launched a version of its iPlayer video-on-demand service for Microsoft’s Xbox Live gaming platform.
iPlayer gives users free access to BBC programmes for a seven day period after they have been broadcast.
Users will require a free Xbox live account to access the service, and Xbox 360 owners with Kinect will also be able to play programmes using hand gestures and voice recognition. Other video-on-demand services such as 4oD are already available on Xbox Live.
The iPlayer service is seen by many as one of the UK’s most successful tech developments of recent years, giving viewers free on-demand access to the BBC’s content across 450 platforms and devices including PCs, internet-connected TVs, iPad and iPhone, Android devices, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii and cable TV services.
Sales of tablets and internet-connected televisions helped push the number of radio and TV shows streamed using BBC’s iPlayer close to two billion during 2011. And while computers still accounted for two-thirds of the 1.94 billion streams sent during the year, the BBC has said the fastest growing platforms for iPlayer were tablets and internet-connected TVs.
While iPlayer began as a PC based service, the BBC has seen 433 million requests – one in four on the TV, with this expected to grow to over 50 per cent of requests.
The BBC is working on a pilot of a global iPlayer product, which has to date been made available on iPad, iPod and iPhone in 16 markets in Western Europe, Canada and Australia.
Last month the BBC revealed that the number of Australian subscribers to global iPlayer is now larger than the second and third countries combined (Germany and Holland), accounting for 20 per cent of its global revenue.
In Australia the most popular shows on iPlayer – which has a monthly subscription fee of AU$9.49 or AU$89.99 a year – are Doctor Who and Charlie and Lola, as well as cult comedy Gavin and Stacey.
The BBC is also working on ‘Project Barcelona’ which will allow users to download and keep – for a fee – its programmes.