BBC iPlayer Shuffle is a new feature that creates a BBC TV channel tailored specifically for you.
The new service throws a random iPlayer stream at you. It could be anything from mainstream channels like BBC News and BBC One or from the arcane environs of BBC Four and BBC Parliament.
iPlayer Shuffle lets you watch what’s been served up or click through until you find something you like. It’ll keep an eye on how long you spend watching, whether you get bored and click next halfway through or if you watch the whole thing.
It’s exactly the same in principle as how Last.fm works to create a personalised radio station.
The idea is over time iPlayer Shuffle will build up a channel that’s moulded to your personal tastes, so if you don’t know what you want to watch on iPlayer, you can just load up Shuffle, hit play and it’ll do its thing.
Right now, you can only get iPlayer Shuffle working on desktop web browsers that support Flash. If Shuffle proves popular, the BBC may launch it as an update to all versions of iPlayer, so we could see this on phones, tablets and connected TV platforms like Sky, YouView, Freesat and Virgin Media. For the time being, it’s just an experimental player that’s been launched today on BBC Taster.
BBC Taster is an online test bed where you can play around with the fruits of BBC’s various R&D experiments.
New games, services and features will exist on BBC Taster for three months before they’re replaced by new things. The BBC will analyse data from those three month periods and work out how popular things like iPlayer Shuffle are with audiences.
Other teasers the BBC has eked out on Taster today include Your Story, which pulls in content from the BBC News archive and creates a personal Facebook timeline-style feed after you’ve entered your date of birth. Who Is In Today? lets you tap into additional photos, videos and extra backstage content taken from celebrity visits to BBC studios.
You can check out BBC iPlayer Shuffle, amongst other things, by heading over to the BBC Taster site now.