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BBC launches live, interactive player in time for London Olympics

The BBC announced June 29 that it was launching a live, interactive video player in time for the Olympic Games in London that will give online viewers an enhanced experience.

A blog posting from Alex Perry, who is the BBC's product manager for the player, revealed the new player will give users access to 24 live streams of Olympics content. A major factor driving the launch was BBC's "incredible video rights package" for the Olympics, Perry said in the post.

The player will make HD coverage of the games available with added interactive functions, such as pause and rewind of live video and the ability to jump to key moments, alerts for events that are important to viewers and presentation of additional information and facts about individual athletes as they are competing.

According to Perry, various types of supplemental information will be available via the new player. Olympics Live will tell viewers that interesting Olympic action is occurring across each of the 24 simultaneous streams. The player also will make available statistics about the performance of individual athletes while they are in action. Guides to specific sports will keep viewers informed by presenting five key facts about each.

In the posting, Perry says "we wanted to take this opportunity to build a video player that would offer the best possible desktop video viewing experience to do justice to that incredible breadth of live content and would also provide a lasting legacy to BBC Online and our audiences in the years to come."

The new live, interactive video player is available for desktop computers and media tablets that support Adobe Flash. Viewers also can watch Olympic action on their mobile devices and iPad tablets. However, the additional interactive features are not available on those platforms, Perry said.

The launch of the live, interactive video player comes after a beta testing period that gave BBC Online the chance to collect feedback and make adjusts.