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Live restart for BBC iPlayer

The BBC has added live restart to the PC version of its BBC iPlayer catch up service, in response to demand from its users. The facility will be extended to mobile handsets, tablets and connected TVs later in 2012, following significant growth in demand for live content on the iPlayer. Live requests now make up almost 23 percent of overall requests for content from PC users.

The BBC is only closing the gap here with U.S. cable and IPTV services, where live catch-up is already well established. Until now, it has rarely been available in Europe, one exception being the Danish cable TV service Yousee, which has 1.2 million customers, or half of all households in the country.

Until now, UK iPlayer users have only been able to watch shows in catch-up after the scheduled linear transmission has finished. Live restart allows users to wind the clock back up to two hours to start viewing from the beginning during the scheduled broadcast.

The live restart facility does not apply to the global version of iPlayer used outside the UK on a paid for basis, which already provides some live as well as on-demand content, such as the BBC World Service radio. Launched in September 2011 as part of a pilot, the global iPlayer is now available on iPad, iPod and iPhone in 16 countries, 14 in Western Europe plus Canada and Australia.