BBC iPlayer arrives on Xbox with Kinect functionality

BBC iPlayer on Xbox
BBC iPlayer on Microsoft Xbox

Starting today, Xbox LIVE users in the United Kingdom can download and watch the BBC iPlayer video-on-demand service – and what’s more, it’s completely free.

BBC iPlayer on Xbox
BBC iPlayer on Xbox. Credit: The Next Web

As the BBC iPlayer launches on Xbox today, it means the service is now available on every major gaming platform in the UK – including the PS3, Nintendo Wii and Apple iOS devices. In fact, the BBC iPlayer is now available on more than 450 platforms in total, including gaming consoles, Virgin Media, BT Vision, FreeSat, Freeview, internet-connected TVs and hundreds of smartphones and tablets.

What’s really interesting about today’s announcement is that BBC iPlayer viewers on the Xbox can use Microsoft’s Kinect controllers to “discover and play programmes using hand gestures and voice recognition”. This means viewers can speak programme titles to begin viewing, or use hand gestures to swipe through the various programmes on offer.

Daniel Danker, charged with managing programmes and on-demand at the BBC, commented,

“As we continue our work to make BBC iPlayer as simple as possible, we’re also excited to experiment with natural user interfaces made possible with Kinect, including voice and gesture control. We believe it’s early days for these experiences, but see a great future working with partners such as Microsoft on innovations like these.”

The BBC also reports that in 2011, 433 million iPlayer content requests, 25% of overall requests, were made on TV devices. This means that BBC iPlayer content was requested over 1.7 billion times in 2011 across all devices.

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Darren McCarra
Darren McCarra is co-editor of The Sociable. He has a keen interest in photography, all things mobile, and writing about technology and social media. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.