Users of the BBC iPlayer will be able to watch content in High Definition in an upcoming update to the iPlayer platform. Doctor Who, Kerwhizz and Dragons' Den are all due to be released in high definition which will allow users to stream or download these high quality versions for the first time. The update also includes a diagnostics tool that examines the users Internet connection and automatically switches streaming to the best option to provide the highest quality possible. A resizable window that allows users to adjust the viewing size to some suitable for their monitor also features in the update.
The announcement by the BBC doesn't, however, include a date of when the new features will be available, but they are expected soon.
"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."Anthony Rose, Head of Digital Media Technology (BBC)
The long awaited cross-platform download version of iPlayer, known as BBC iPlayer Desktop, will also be fully released which will allow users of Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems to download programmes to their computer, including the HD versions. Plans are also included to roll out HD streams to other devices such as the Virgin set top box and the PlayStation 3, although no date for this has been confirmed as yet.
Users should of course be aware that viewing video on iPlayer will eat in to their monthly download allowance from their broadband provider, and the new high definition versions will use more than previous versions. To help keep track of your usage, download our free broadband meter.