BBC iPlayer

1 05 2007

Today the BBC trust approved the Beeb’s plans for the iPlayer. This fancy bit of software will let you catch up on any show for the next 7 days, and even download and store them for a reasonable period of time, you all know the rest by now. Really exciting developments that I believe will change TV for the better, with more people more willing to catch a show they missed because of their hectic life, or a scheduling conflict, or some such.

My only gripe is a personal one, as a mac user. One of the changes imposed on them by the trust was to make the iPlayer available to those not using a Microsoft operating system in “a reasonable time frame”, thought to be two years. Yesterday a BBC spokesman said they may not be able to do that, with their plans to roll the software out on cable boxes first, then other operating systems, but that depends more on the third parties involved.

I would love a bit of iplayer action, but I’ll be damned if I have to use Windows or join Virgin Media to get it before 2010.

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4 responses

1 05 2007
Hermes

Well, if Apple didn’t have such a proprietary way of doing DRM no doubt it would be much quicker.

The Beeb even said this themselves:

“During a speech to the MipTV conference in Cannes, Ashley Highfield, the corporation’s director of Future Media and Technology, said that he wants to make iPlayer ‘as widely available as possible’.

‘Although [Apple’s] proprietary and closed framework for digital rights management gives us headaches, it is one of our top priorities to re-engineer our proposed BBC iPlayer service to work on Macs,’ he said.”

Maybe the pressure should be applied on Mr Jobs et al?

1 05 2007
Calhoon

I’m sure if the BBC had licensed Quicktime or Windows media player instead of spending my license fee creating their own player then there wouldn’t be this issue.

I truly don’t think this a DRM issue, those three letters seem to be trotted out almost daily to apportion blame to one camp or another.

Yes I own a Mac (several in fact) and yes I’m pissed off that this technology won’t be available to me for several years. Not that pissed off though, I still have my torrents.

1 05 2007
Corrupted Mind

Okay, let me state which side I bat for up front so that my views can be listened to or ignored accordingly. (I’m a PC owner – with a Mac using girlfriend.)

I look at the iplayer issue in the same terms of the car manufacturer Porsche having authorised and unauthorised dealers. In a Porsche dealership, the manufacturer is in control of everything in an unauthorised dealership your valued (product) car could end up sitting next to a Ford Focus. I think building your own player if you’re the BBC is a no-brainer. Okay the infrastructure costs – but ultimately you’re in control.

What this musing has got to do with PC’s and Macs – is about the vast army of PC coders that Bill “Xerxes” Gates has at his disposal vs the 300 Mac Coders! – (You can see what films I’ve been watching recently)

1 05 2007
Calhoon

Excellent metaphor there Corrupted.

What i don’t get about the BBC’s strategy here is that Apple in the US is already selling DRM protected video content they have the infrastructure in place to do the same in the UK. Surely Auntie Beeb could have seen a fantastic marketing opportunity by being the first to sign up with Jobs & co for content in the UK. People shell out for BBC DVDs in their thousands, why couldn’t they distribute their shows to the masses this way?

Anyway, I’m off to watch this weeks Sopranos, before I do I guess I’d better type THIS IS SPARTA! in caps.

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