The BBC’s web-based video players (the ones you see when you use a browser on your desktop or phone to watch videos), are getting a refreshed user interface along with some new features.
For now, the new video player is only live on some BBC sections – such as Food, Weather and Motorsports – but it will eventually replace all of the BBC’s media players, including the one used on BBC iPlayer.
While BBC iPlayer is the best-known video service the BBC provides, with both catch-up programmes and full box-sets, other sections of the BBC’s websites also have video players, usually with short clips.
So the BBC Food category has short video clips of recipes and tips, the BBC Weather website has filmed weather forecasts, and so on.
Whenever you go to one of these sections on your computer or mobile phone (via your web browser – Chrome / Safari / etc.), you watch those videos on a video player that’s embedded in the page.
Last week, the BBC announced they’re launching a brand new version of this video player (Codenamed “Project Toucan”) – with a new look and some new features.
The existing BBC media player has been in use since 2012, across the entire BBC range – from iPlayer to BBC Sounds.
But despite being constantly updated over the years, it was time for a brand new player, that can incorporate features that only modern browsers can support.
One of the most visible features of this new media player, are the new 20-second skip forward/back buttons.
The new player will also let you control variable playback speed and includes “slicker animations and a cleaner design with mobile use in mind.”
The new player now also supports keyboard commands: the Space key for playing and pausing, arrow keys to seek forward and back, and F to go full screen.
Furthermore, the new User Interface is now loaded separately from the main player, so it can be easily changed according to the content you’re watching.
As an example, the BBC could place larger, kid-friendly buttons on the video player on categories that are aimed at children.
Since the new player requires a modern web browser, the old media player will still be in use as a backup for those who still use an older browser, perhaps on a very old device.
For now, you can experience the new player on BBC Weather, BBC Food and BBC Motorsport – but it will eventually replace the BBC’s media player across the whole platform – including on the web version of BBC iPlayer.
For iPlayer, you can already see the new player if you use a Google Chromecast streaming device to “cast” iPlayer from the web to your TV.