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BBC Iplayer Picks

The BBC Iplayer is the UK’s main catch-up and program streaming service. Unlike the USA where almost every TV network have their own services, or perhaps use Hulu, here we really have only Iplayer, 4oD (Channel 4 on Demand), ITV and Joost.

But… Iplayer is excellent! I rarely watch TV these days – I’d rather just pick what I want to watch, when I want to watch it. Stuff the schedules 🙂

Of course, Iplayer is only available in the UK and is just part of the BBC’s gigantic web presence. In fact, I’d say that the BBC is my favourite website, from the News pages (especially the Magazine section) right through to their TV program support sites. Yeah – it does come at a premium, since we pay a TV licence here, but as the BBC is fond of reminding us it’s this unique funding method that allows it to make the programs that it does. The envy of the world? Just maybe, in some areas at least.

Anyway, to get back on track here’s my favourites on Iplayer at the moment. No point in providing links because they’ll fall out of date rather quickly, but you can search the program titles.

Stephen Fry In The USA – not up to his usual standards so far, but Fry is eminently watchable.

Little Britain USA – This feels a little like they’re flogging a dead horse, but there are good moments.

Merlin – I reviewed the start of this series below, perhaps only a “B” but still entertaining.

Heroes – only an episode or two behind the US but if you’re a major fan I guess you’ll be using, erm, other sources…

Friday Night With Jonathan Ross – you will love him or hate him, but when he’s good he does get the best out if his guests.

Never Mind The Buzzcocks – I don’t think Simon Anstell is as good as Mark Lamarr was, but he does bring something different to the show. And now that Bill Bailey’s left they’ve taken the Have I Got News For You approach… guest captains!

Mitchell and Webb – Both “Look” and “Situation” are up on Iplayer, and the Peep Show guys sketch show continue to mix gross, surreal and plain weird comedy. You can of course go over to 4oD for Peepshow 🙂

James May’s Big Ideas – Here the Top Gear guy looks at the future of transport, robotics and energy.

If your broadband has limited bandwidth beware that streaming video can eat it up, fast. I’m on Virgin Media and although they’ll cut your speed once you hit the limit iPlayer is still very usable here. Yay. And be careful with certain sites like 4oD since it uses Kontiki as it’s peer-to-peer to service, and it may continue to use bandwidth even when not in use. Disabling it will disable 4oD so your best course is to press ctrl+alt+del, start task manager, and kill the Kservice process when not in use.

I’ve just noticed ITV.Com has updated their site and have a new catch-up service. ITV are not the best network in my opinion, plagued with reality shows and very little quality drama and non-existent comedy, but there is one reason to visit… Wire In The Blood! Another hard hitting crime-series that I’ll review in another post sometime.