BBC iPlayer improves availability, latency
August 11, 2023
The BBC has announced ‘under the hood’ updates to its iPlayer service. There are two key improvements:
- Rapid availability – The BBC has introduced a bit technology they’re calling pseudo VoD – which ensures programmes are now available to watch on demand on iPlayer much more quickly than they were before. Previously, if viewers missed the end of a show they would have had to wait quite a long time for the on demand version to become available. Now, those shows will be available much faster, within a matter of a few minutes of the show ending. That’ll be welcome news for fans of Match of the Day with the new season getting underway, and for this year’s Strictly now that the cast is fully confirmed, as those longer shows could previously take a while to get onto iPlayer.
- Reducing latency – The BBC has carried out some work that has reduced the latency of live video. This is the lag viewers experience between something being broadcast in real-time and the time it takes to get to the viewer – it happens to all streamers doing live content, and is particularly noticeable with live sport. If England manage to get through to the semi-final of the Women’s World Cup, viewers streaming the match live on iPlayer will be seeing it closer to real-time, with the BBC saying they’ve been able to cut latency by about 20 seconds. Typically, viewers will still be about 60 seconds behind the TV broadcast, but it’s progress, and the BBC says it is working on other things to bring it down even further in the future to get it closer to that of TV broadcast.