Microsoft updates Xbox; launches BBC iPlayer (finally)

Summary:Doctor Who fans, get excited. The BBC announced this morning that the on-demand iPlayer app is finally heading to the Xbox. Microsoft says that updates are being rolled out today.

Xbox users have finally had the doors of BBC iPlayer opened to them, as the world's largest broadcaster's collection of on-demand television and radio --- and sometimes films, if they feel generous --- comes to the gaming console

After months of snarky Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3 fans laughing in the faces of Xbox users, who had been given the iPlayer application update months earlier, Microsoft opened the doors to its millions of users to hundreds of weekly television and radio programmes today.

All you have to do is pop on the Xbox, wait for the update to appear, make yourself a mug of tea, and it's done by the time you get back.

Lucky Kinect owners, the motion activated controller for the Xbox, can also use their hands to gormlessly wave at their television sets to explore the vast array of drama, comedy, and factual programming. Just be sure to shut the curtains to avoid the neighbours peering in and staring at you.

Xbox users can already enjoy a series of on-demand television applications, from Channel 4, Channel 5, Netflix, and LoveFilm. But it's not a true experience until the BBC made its move today, as any television owner in the UK can flick the switch on the magical moving box and receive BBC programming from the start.

According to the Beeb, iPlayer is on over 450 platforms and devices, including the Nintendo Wii, the PlayStation 3, obviously now the Xbox 360, but also iPads, iPhones, and cable services.

The iPlayer is also the most popular on-demand service in the UK, beating Netflix and others hands down. It probably helps with the fact that it's not only free, but has the most up-to-date content. The BBC had over 433 million requests on TV devices in 2011 alone.

The BBC predicts that by 2015, at the rate that the market is moving at, over 50 percent of requests will be via TV devices, which include cable, satellite, gaming consoles and set-top box services that offer on-demand services, also known as "smart-TVs".

Internet TV (also known as "IP-TV") may be a while off, with the hope that one day the tubes of the Web will push all kinds of on-demand content directly to your telly box without the need for extra gadgets, set-top boxes or special television sets. In the meantime, games consoles on the most part are connected to our living room televisions, making them an ideal route to take for pushing on-demand television.

Image source: BBC.

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Topics: Microsoft

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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