It's here. It's happened. Xbox LIVE's great white elephant, the addition of BBC iPlayer to the service, has emerged, and it's absolutely free.
"Today’s launch builds on a core BBC value, to reach all audiences on a universal basis at no extra charge," said iPlayer head, Dave Price, proudly. "So we are delighted that BBC iPlayer content will be available to all Xbox 360 users, for free. Indeed the BBC is the only UK content partner to make their service available free to all Xbox Live Gold members and Xbox Live Free (previously known as Silver) members."
This means that iPlayer is now available across all three major home consoles, having been on PS3 and the Wii for ages.
“We are delighted that BBC iPlayer is now available on Xbox LIVE," added Stephen McGill, Director of Xbox and Entertainment for Microsoft. "Xbox 360 was the best-selling console in the UK and globally last year, while Xbox LIVE is one of the UK’s leading comprehensive VOD entertainment services on TVs. The addition of BBC iPlayer takes the service to the next level. We offer a formidable line-up of the best TV and entertainment – both live and on-demand - from providers such as Sky, Channel 4, Channel 5, Netflix, LOVEFiLM, Blinkbox, MSN, YouTube and many others.
“The way people interact with entertainment content is changing. Xbox LIVE is the only service in the world where you can search, discover and control TV, movies, video and music using voice and gesture via the power and magic of Kinect.”
It's important to note, though, that the list of media services above are only available via Xbox LIVE Gold Membership, with BBC iPlayer the first UK content partner for Microsoft to demand to be freely available.
“Xbox is hugely successful in the UK," said Daniel Danker, BBC General Manager, Programmes & On-Demand. "Given the BBC’s goal to reach its entire audience, I’m particularly excited that the BBC will be bringing iPlayer to all Xbox users at no extra cost as part of Xbox LIVE’s free membership.”
“As we continue our work to make BBC iPlayer as simple as possible, we’re also excited to experiment with natural user interfaces made possible with Kinect, including voice and gesture control. We believe it’s early days for these experiences, but see a great future working with partners such as Microsoft on innovations like these.”