Tag Archive: iPlayer

I just came across this Radio Times blog post about Spooks and Downton Abbey, which both start again a week on Sunday.  Near the bottom it reads: “most people still like their TV on a plate…”, in reference to the fact that Downton will almost certainly get higher ratings due to its post X Factor slot.  My first thought was, ‘if only I could somehow link that one phrase to this blog!’  My second was that actually, as I wrote in my first How I Watch TV post, iPlayer and other on demand services do give us our TV on a plate, as and when we want it.  Yes, sometimes we’ll end up watching something because we couldn’t summon the energy to change channel, but (and I apologise if this is extending the metaphor painfully) this is the equivalent of having a meal served that you may not like, but end up eating anyway.  Sure, you may end up sampling a tasty dish that you’ll subsequently order every week, but with iPlayer et al. you can pick your favourites and consume them at your convenience.

<end metaphor>

In short, I don’t believe that being part of an ‘inherited audience’ is the only way in which viewers get telly on a plate.  I will certainly be tuning in to Downton Abbey on the 18th, but this is due to Maggie Smith rather than Gary Barlow.

BBC iPlayer: Lifeline to TV!

At a recent interview I was asked “how do you watch television?”  It’s a question that’s hovered in my mind ever since, particularly since these past few years both the ways I watch and think about TV have changed considerably.  For starters, the television we had in second and third year of Uni would only tune fuzzily to BBC1, meaning 4oD and iPlayer were essential tools for keeping up with Glee and Strictly: It Takes Two (my somewhat predictable TV guilty pleasures).  Being slow to grasp technology, it was only at the end of my degree that I realised you could stream some programmes live, but by then it didn’t matter, because I was moving into my current house with, finally, a fully functioning TV.

However, as I’ve mentioned before and as anyone who has lived in a shared house will know, merely owning a working television is no guarantee of controlling what goes on it.  In any case, I occasionally forget something’s on, so I’m still a faithful user of iPlayer and 4oD, often over my breakfast toast.  When the box is free though, it’s always satisfying if you find something great to watch by fluke.  On Friday evening I caught episode two of Paul Merton’s Birth of Hollywood, and enjoyed it so much that I iPlayered the first episode this morning.  Has the word iPlayer been legitimately converted to a verb yet?  If not then maybe it should be.  So many of us watch programmes on demand that it seems sensible to just say “I iPlayered it” instead of “I watched it on iPlayer”.  Grammatical wonderings aside, my point is that it’s brilliant being able to catch up on things you missed, forgot about, or heard about from someone else, as and when you feel like it.  (Internet connection permitting, of course).

4oD: Home of Glee

Some people might argue that it’s antisocial to coop yourself up in front of a laptop instead of congregating around the box in the living room, but I disagree.  Generally I catch up on TV at breakfast time, when let’s face it, I’m not in the mood for scintillating conversation.  Plus, not everybody likes the same shows, so I’m really doing my housemates a favour by not subjecting them to Glee every Monday evening.  My final point is that I often watch TV on demand with somebody else anyway.  The boyfriend isn’t a football fanatic so he and I regularly escape the curses and chants of his housemates to stream How I Met Your Mother.

All in all, it’s been a pretty good deal this year, what with having a working TV in the house and getting to grips with iPlayer Desktop.  In a few weeks though, all is set to change: I’m moving in to a house that already has a Virgin Multimedia subscription which, from what I can gather, involves catch up services for pretty much everything.  Are my days of watching 4oD numbered or, given that three of my housemates-to-be are those same football-loving boys, are they just beginning?