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BBC iPlayer to offer High Definition content
BBC iPlayer

The BBC's successful video on demand catch-up service, iPlayer is to offer High Definition content for download or streaming.

In conjunction with the launch of new High Definition services the BBC has released an updated version of iPlayer desktop software (mac, linux and windows) optimized for HD content. The updated iPlayer application will now allow users to resize the iPlayer's viewing window and provide access to a speed diagnostics page.

Anthony Rose, the BBC's head of digital media technology, commenting on the updated iPlayer software stated: "The new adaptive bitrate technology and speed diagnostics page help optimise the viewing experience, while the resizable window gives users flexibility to switch between different quality streams, hopefully leading to a more satisfying experience overall."

Among the first programmes offered in HD will be the new season of Dragons' Den and the upcoming Dr Who specials.

The HD service will be available initially only through the web. Although there has been no confirmation from the BBC, it is likely that platforms such as Virgin Media, or games consoles will be included later.

Since its launch on Christmas Day 2007, users of iPlayer have watched some or all of the BBC's programmes 250 million times. With HD content becoming available, iPlayer usage is likely to accelerate further, a move that is likely to further ruffle ISP (Internet Service Providers) feathers who have already complained about the pressure of iPlayer downloads on internet bandwidth.