By: MarkJ - 16 April, 2009 (12:36 PM)
The BBC's popular Internet TV service, iPlayer, is being upgraded with a number of new features including high definition (HD) video content. Popular TV shows, such as Doctor Who, Kerwhizz and Dragons Den, are slated to be among the first HD streams available (also downloadable).

BBC iPlayer

Furthermore the iPlayer has a new diagnostic tool, which can examine your broadband connection and determine the best quality video stream based on your connection speed. Users will also gain the ability to resize the video window (variable quality):

The BBC's Head of Digital Media and Technology, Anthony Rose, said: "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."

There's also a new cross-platform manager that allows Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac and Linux users to download the BBC's programmes. Sadly it may be a little longer before HD streams reach devices such as Virgin’s Set Top Box and the Sony PlayStation 3 games console, although it is coming.

Typically broadband ISP users, especially those with a fragile Mobile Broadband link where overuse can be very costly, need to be mindful that the new high quality streams download in real-time at up to "1500kbps". This could easily eat into any usage restrictions that some ISPs impose and could impact your connection performance if over-used.
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