BBC iPlayer has launched

In August I wrote about the BBC iPlayer Beta, and about my disappointment in two main areas.  Firstly, the fact that it was for the Windows operating system only, the other being that the p2p software technology was not clearly advertised as such.

My concerns continued to grow, a friend exceeded his download limit on his broadband service shortly after he downloaded the iPlayer, unaware that leaving the machine on overnight to download the tv programme also allowed people to upload the file from his machine as well.

But on Christmas day, the live iPlayer was launched, and came with a pleasant surprise, a ‘simple’ streaming option through a flash player (not even Real Audio, which much of the BBC Radio and BBC News content uses).

The advantage being that this streaming service is not platform dependant.  I’ve been able to stream Doctor Who on my mac laptop at a decent enough quality and fullscreen, despite my average bandwidth being well below the 1Mbps recommended by the BBC.  OK, I can’t download programmes, so am limited to BBC programmes shown in the last seven days, but it’s a useful service, and not downloading programmes saves my bandwidth and hard disc space.

This innovation, plus the Archers podcast which has now become required listening almost justifies the BBC license fee for me (and the new series’ of Doctor Who and Torchwood could cinch it).  Now if in addition all DVD’s sold by BBC Worldwide had a .mp4 ‘FairPlay’ version of the programme on the DVD (see the BBC news article here) then I wouldn’t have to use Handbrake to transfer the DVD’s I have legally bought to play on the digital media platform which I choose.

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2 comments so far

  1. […] iPlayer – media catchup The flash-based iPlayer which I reported on earlier has started to be recognised by the IT media.  The Register, usually pretty sharp in it’s […]

  2. […] thread over at Digital Spy. A more balanced and positive review is over at Andy Hollyhead’s blog. I agree with his summary, a good catchup service in case you miss any programmes you watch on a […]


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