BBC iPlayer
BBC iPlayer

Watching the BBC iPlayer on smart, internet connected TVs increased by more than 1000 percent through 2011, signalling a dramatic shift away from watching live television.

It was a record-breaking year for the iPlayer, which provided viewers and listeners with 1.94 billion programmes over the last 12 months, while tablet viewing increased 569 percent, according to figures released by the BBC.

"While 2011 was a remarkable year for BBC iPlayer across the board, the real story was growth of iPlayer on TVs, mobile phones, and tablets, outpacing PC growth many times over," said Daniel Danker, general manager for programmes and on demand at the BBC.

Seven million iPlayer programmes were watched on smart TVs in December 2011, a number which will no doubt rise massively through 2012 after the next generation of cutting-edge smart TVs were unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CE) in Las Vegas in mid-January.

Connected to a range of on-demand television services such as iPlayer and Netflix, smart television from the likes of LG and Samsung give viewers the flexibility to watch their favourite programmes whenever they want, moving the emphasis away from conventional live broadcasting.

The rapid growth of smart TV, tablet and smartphone use resulted in a 10 percent drop in computer iPlayer viewing, falling to 62 percent during the 12 months to December.

Virgin Media customers made up 12 percent of iPlayer traffic, and "mobile devices" earned seven percent, while tablets and games consoles took five percent each.

The most popular day over the Christmas period was January 2, "which saw a record 5.4 million TV programme requests on one day, with Sherlock the most-watched programme with 623k - the most requests seen for any one programme in one 24-hour period."

Watching TV on the iPlayer proved to be most popular between 10pm and 11pm, while radio use peaked around lunchtime.

The next general of smart TVs debuted at CES will be available to buy in the coming months, and towards the end of the year Apple is widely expected to be introducing its own take on the smart TV revolution.