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BBC launches TV-optimised iPlayer

The BBC has launched a new version of its iPlayer service designed especially for living room televisions.

Recognising that web-enabled devices are making their way out of the bedroom or home office, the broadcaster says that, for the first time, iPlayer on TV has been specifically designed to take the BBC back to its rightful place in front of the sofa.

The new version has a simplified, TV-friendly design allowing couch potatoes to flick through channels just like the would on their normal telly box.

The broadcaster also says it has made the service easier to use with a 'vastly improved' search and personalised recommendations based on previous viewing habits and the ability to continue watching a programme where you left off.

The new version will get its fist airing on Sony's PlayStation 3 console starting today but will be pushed out to many more TV-connected devices in the coming months.

BBC spokesman Daniel Danker said: "iPlayer has been tremendously successful. With today's announcement, we’re transforming iPlayer in its most natural home: right on the living room TV. By creating a product that’s as simple and intuitive as flicking through TV channels, the BBC is bringing on demand television to mainstream audiences across the UK.

"Last week, Ofcom reported that 10 per cent of TV sets sold in the UK are internet ready. But BBC iPlayer is already available on over 300 connected TVs and blu-ray disc players, which has resulted in a five fold growth of iPlayer on TV over the last six months alone. At this rate of growth, in the next few years we could well see over half of iPlayer use directly on the living room TV."

Some 36 million Internet-connected TVs are expected to invade UK living rooms by 2016.