As a result of the deal a soft launched version of the service was launched this morning by Virgin Media. Currently the service is only available through the red button when viewing BBC1, however there are plans to add it to Virgin’s programme guide for direct access.
Customers of Virgin Media will be able to use the service to catch up on the past weeks programmes without the need to download any content or playing software.
The deal is expected to be available for 3.5 million Virgin Media customers who can each view up to 350 hours of free TV programmes that have been aired over the previous seven days.
Virgin Media’s content chief Malcolm Wall said of the deal
“The enormous success of iPlayer online has demonstrated the desire TV viewers have for viewing quality programmes at a time that suits them, and now it’s available from the comfort of the living room. Virgin Media is proud to be working with the BBC to continue to lead this revolution in TV viewing.”
The BBC’s director of future media and technology echoed statements made when the player struck a deal with games manufacturer Nintendo to enable the service to be played on the Wii, in a step to bring the service from PC’s into users living rooms.
“We have always envisaged [the] BBC iPlayer on a TV platform and in the living room. By working with Virgin Media, this ambition has been realised. This partnership takes us a step closer to transforming the way our audiences watch TV.”
Other deals over the past year have seen the iPlayer become accessible on the iPhone and iPod Touch, and the PS3 is also widely tipped to jump on board, with a download for the Apple Mac also planned.
“Where technically feasible our ambition is to bring iPlayer to as many platforms as possible” said another BBC spokes person