Both the BBC and Sky have this week announced updates to their on-demand services. The public broadcaster has added a number of features to its iPlayer, while Sky customers can now benefit from new additions that bring its Sky Movies platform more in line with rival services.
BBC iPlayer’s new Live Restart feature lets users jump back to the beginning of the programme without having to wait for it to end, while cross-device resume lets users watch a programme on one device and continue watching on another. Also new to iPlayer is My Programmes, where users can find the shows they’ve favourited, programmes they’ve started watching but not finished, and the next episodes of that series, in one place. In future, My Programmes will also display personal programmes recommendations.
Audio Description (AD) functionality is now available on iPlayer on TV platforms as well as computers, mobiles and tablets, making BBC iPlayer the largest and most widely available audio description service from any video on-demand provider in the UK.
Dan Taylor-Watt, head of BBC iPlayer, commented: “This raft of new features promises to give users even greater control over their iPlayer experience, ensuring they’re never late for a BBC TV broadcast again and providing easy access to the programmes they’re enjoying on BBC iPlayer whether at home or on the move”.
A number of updates have been rolled out to Sky+HD boxes from today, with new features similar to those already available from other streaming services including Amazon and Netflix. These include film recommendation service More Like This, and a personalised film library, Watchlist. Watch from Start, already offered to Sky customers in Italy, is designed to ensure users do not miss the start of a movie, allowing them to download the film to watch from the beginning. Later this year Sky will introduce Rotten Tomatoes Audience Scores as star ratings.
“If there’s one place the family can count on for the latest Hollywood blockbusters or classic films, either live or on demand, it’s Sky Movies,” said Ian Lewis, director of Sky Movies. “And we’re now introducing some clever new features that will make it even easier to find and enjoy a fantastic movie when you settle down on the sofa – including brand new Watch from Start which makes missing the start of a film a thing of the past.”