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PS5 update fixes major app absence – a year after Xbox Series X

TechRadar logo TechRadar 12/1/2021 Henry St Leger
Girl playing PlayStation 5 gaming console © Provided by TechRadar Girl playing PlayStation 5 gaming console

BBC iPlayer has finally come to PS5, bringing the popular UK streaming service to the latest PlayStation console.

While the PS5 is mainly for gaming, there's no denying that the vision of a multimedia center console in the living room has come to pass, and it's increasingly important for gaming machines to support a wide variety of streaming apps – especially for smart TVs that fall behind in that area.

A blog post from the BBC states that "We’re always working to make iPlayer available across as many platforms as we can, and we’re delighted to add the PS5 to the 15,000+ devices where BBC iPlayer is already available.

"From today, PS5 owners can add the BBC iPlayer app by going to the Media tab on the PS5 home screen and selecting BBC iPlayer from the All Apps section. This will add BBC iPlayer to the apps library and make it available to use direct from the PlayStation home screen."

We're pleased to note that the iPlayer app on PS5 supports 4K resolution from the off, and anyone hoping to use their console for TV watching over the holidays will have plenty of options, whether it's the Doctor Who Christmas special or the latest David Attenborough documentary.


Video: Nintendo Switch and Xbox Series Outsold PS5 in November (The Independent)

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As ever, though, it's odd to see Sony take its time with this kind of app support, given that the Xbox Series X and Series S have had the iPlayer app since December 2020.

Analysis: Slow and steady wins the race?

It's hard to deny that the Xbox platform is a little more aggressive about pushing out specific app and format support. We've heard directly from Microsoft that the Dolby Vision HDR gaming capability on the latest Xbox consoles isn't part of any exclusivity agreement – so it seems like conversations with PlayStation to do the same are simply taking a little longer. 

While there are features exclusive to PlayStation – such as the console's Activity Cards – there's definitely a sense that Xbox is outmanoeuvring its competitor when it comes to the general usability of the console. Just think of the hassle of installing a larger PS5 SSD, compared to the ease of using an Xbox expansion card?

Ultimately, PlayStation doesn't need to move at the same pace as Xbox, as the market leader. But that complacency can cause resentment among gamers – it was absurd, after all, that Bluetooth audio support was technically possible on the Nintendo Switch years ago, but that the software fix only got implemented this year.

Anyway, you can't watch iPlayer (or much else) on the Switch, so we guess PlayStation is still ahead on that front.

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