Well I was originally planning on doing a video on this, maybe I will in the future but I thought it would be good to finally have time to write about it and update this blog.
The BBC iPlayer is everything I was expecting and then some, but still it has me wanting for more from the beeb in services. While the iPlayer channel does everything that the website does in a much smoother and a higher quality than the website was able to provide to the Wii through it’s Opera (internet) Channel, there were a couple of features run by the iPlayer tech that were external to the official website that I was hoping for implementation.

First off, the video quality that I receive through the iPlayer is equal and sometimes greater to that of regional standard definition broadcasting, I have only encountered a couple of times the channel pausing to buffer the video feed but I think it was, and I am certain of it being, due to a high level of household broadband usage. I have found myself using this channel a lot more in this form than the old website compatibility that the BBC offered. To cut this all short, if anyone owns a Wii, no matter if you use the BBC iPlayer at all, it is the BEST way to use it, plain and simple. Get it, it’s free!

The navigation is simple, the search function is easy to use, parental functions are here so it has everything that makes it friendly and usable. The only way I personally believe I can beef this impressions entry is with talking about what I would do to improve it, as talking about how good it is doesn’t suffice.

First off in menu navigations I would have hoped for + and – button usage to navigate the most popular programmes in the same vein as the Wii does in its menu navigation, when I first used the channel it was one of the first things I tried to do as I thought it was the way to navigate it. I had to figure out that I had to manually point at the arrows and click. To me it was the natural way to navigate this feature due to the default system controls, and I would think I wouldn’t be alone in this. Another navigation feature I would have expected was to use the D-pad to control the scrolling lists, when searching or scrolling through programme names. Again it was an issue of point on screen clicking and holding on the scroll bar to navigate the scrolling lists, but to press up or down on the D-pad to me felt the most natural function.

Onto playing tv shows, on the iPlayer website you usually see the channels, of which the programme was broadcast originally, banner screen known as ident’s. I think it’s short for identities, but here below is an example of a BBC One, one.

These ident’s played for their respective channels before the broadcast of the programme on the iPlayer, I somewhat miss them and would hope that they are returned to the Wii’s iPlayer channel.

Playing radio programmes there is occasionally a voice message if there were phone in competitions etc during its recording, I think that this would be best replaced with an image warning and could allow for the immediate loading of the radio programme to listen to again. Another thing is that the graphics are very nice backgrounds to when you are listening to a radio show, but if the Wii was capable of doing this I would love it if this screen could be minimised and it allowed you to browse other content on the iPlayer. Its not a must have but it would be nice.

An overall missing feature, is one which I mentioned earlier that was a feature that is run using the iPlayer tech, through the BBC website you can listen live to radio shows and watch the BBC News24 broadcast live over the internet stream. I don’t see why these features are held out of this iPlayer channel, my main usage of the iPlayer before was to watch the news live broadcast and listen to live radio, so it’s inclusion in the iPlayer channel would have been very welcome.

The final product from the beeb is very impressive, it has been implemented very well into the Wii system. I hope this does a lot to show Nintendo that these “extra value” services are very much wanted by the public and they work closer with many other companies capable of providing such services. This kind of company interactivity with what I will call 4th party companies, in the games industry as they don’t produce games but extra value applications for use on games consoles, needs to be happening now for the current set of consoles but also preparing to have fully fledged feature sets for future hardware.
Just imagine in the UK having a media section on the wii (or future hardware) with links to a BBC iPlayer channel, 4 on Demand channel and a Film4 movie rental section. Or for the USA having a media channel with links to a NBC on demand channel, Showtime on demand channel along with Netflix movie rentals!

Keep wishing as it may happen, and be sure, any developments will be talked about here on my blog.