8. Watch with friends
And now something that for some will be the killer feature of the new site: the ability to watch programmes with friends. If you already have a Windows Live Messenger account you can see which of your Windows Live Messenger friends (and other instant messenger services to be added in due course) are in iPlayer right now and what they’re watching, and even how far into the programme they are. You can then sync your iPlayer with theirs and chat with them in real time, all within the iPlayer site.
Here’s how it works:
On all TV playback pages in iPlayer you’ll see a button to add the IM chat widget to your iPlayer pages. If you’re a Messenger user and this is of interest to you, click the Get Started button.
After signing in to Windows Live Messenger with your Messenger credentials, you’ll now see an extra panel that shows which of your Messenger contacts are online and in iPlayer right now:
Separately, while you’re watching a programme, anytime you’re feeling excited about that programme or even just a particular moment in the programme, you can shout about it to your Messenger friends – simply type whatever comes to mind into the text box and hit the Shout button – all your Messenger friends who are in iPlayer right now will get the message, and may then choose to sync their iPlayer to yours and join you to watch and chat together.
By the way, your shouts only go to your Messenger friends who are in iPlayer right now – they won’t go to contacts who are not in iPlayer – so you don’t need to worry about spamming contacts who don’t live in the UK or who aren’t interested in your shouts of “It’s the Stig!” or whatever.
Watch with Friends is being added to the site in the next few weeks – stay tuned!
And this is just one of the improvements they made, other new features are Favourites, Roaming, Personalized iPlayer home page, Recommend to friends (social networks) and more…just don’t ask me why they call it iPlayer (it’s not Apple, it’s the BBC…I Play..hmm).
Anyways this player sure sounds good to me, especially the Messenger integration! Watch and discuss a show with your friends, how awesome is that? If I was in the UK, I would definitely give it a go.
Are you in the UK? You can try it at http://beta.bbc.co.uk/iplayer