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BBC launches video download service

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 27 Jul 2007 6:03 User comments (7)

BBC launches video download service Today the BBC launched its much anticipated download service, using software called iPlayer. Users can download a selection of programs broadcast in the last seven days and watch them for up to 30 days.
Viewers interested in using iPlayer can register for the service on Friday and a Limited number will then be invited to join. The number of users invited will increase until the full scale launch this fall when the restriction will be lifted.

The iPlayer began life in 2003 as the iMP (Integrated Media Player). "At the time, it was remarkably innovative. For the BBC to use peer-to-peer technology was revolutionary," said Simon Perry, editor of online magazine Digital Lifestyles.

"If it had just launched it then it could have blown the whole broadcast world away. Who knows what the impact would have been if it had come out before the rise of YouTube," he said.

Regardless of the timing, this is still revolutionary compared to US networks which have streaming content, but no mechanism to allow downloads, let alone time shifting for up to 30 days.

Arash Amel, an analyst with research firm Screen Digest, said "technical glitches" were inevitable when iPlayer launched, partly because rival applications experienced them and partly through his own experience of the BBC's offering.

"I have supposedly been on the trial for the last two weeks but there has just been technical fault after technical fault," he said.

There have already been complaints from the open source community because it requires a PC with Windows XP to run. Critics argue that the BBC is required to serve everyone paying for licenses, including those who use a Mac, or even other operating systems like Linux.

The trust met with Mark Taylor, the head of the Open Source Consortium and one of the more vocal critics of the Microsoft-only launch, earlier this week.

"They reiterated their commitment to platform neutrality, specifically mentioning Linux, and welcomed our offer of help to establish a cross-platform approach," Mr Taylor said.

The OSC is due to meet BBC management to discuss the issue further.

Source: BBC News

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7 user comments

127.7.2007 8:16

Nice one; the Beeb has a wonderful library of content spanning decades.

......and us British TV licence payers have already paid for it all long ago.

227.7.2007 15:54

Whats a TV license. Is that like paying for cable, Or are you paying for OTA?

328.7.2007 2:06

Here in the UK you need to buy an annual lincence to own a TV,when you buy a TV it is registered with your name and address.In theory you should have 1 licence for each TV you own ! The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)sends round detector vans which can scan neighbourhoods to find people who have no licence,the fines are quite heavy :(

428.7.2007 3:28

Originally posted by ispy:
In theory you should have 1 licence for each TV you own !
- I don't think this is right.

I can recall in the 1970s/80s talk of up to 4 TVs being covered by the licence (which also always did include radio and now computer equipment).....'broadcast receiving equipment' was the original idea I think.

IIRC the situation now is that 1 TV licence covers all the TVs on an individual particular property, so that I can have 10, 20 or 30 TVs in my home if I want to.

Similarly businesses pay a single licence on the basis of the whole premises.

Originally posted by ispy:
The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)sends round detector vans which can scan neighbourhoods to find people who have no licence,the fines are quite heavy :(
- I know people that worked in this, the TV detector vans do indeed exist but are in a practical sense mostly a myth.

The big deal for catching people without the licence is simply that they use lists of addresses and look for those without a TV licence.
Addresses without a licence stands out and they then go looking (seeing as the vast majority comply with the law on this).

Also people dumb enough to buy a new TV and who don't have a licence but give their address are also easy pickings (although with a more cashless shopping becoming the norm I suppose keeping your dientity and address secret is becoming less easy).

Anyhoo, I'd far rather we kept the licence, commercial terrestrial here is bad enough but satellite TV (or anyone who has seen US TV) shows us the likely path we would end up on if we were daft enough to give up the publicly funded BBC.
It might not always be of the highest standard but compared to a lot of what is out there British TV has benefited enormously in qualitative terms by having the BBC funded the way it is.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 28 Jul 2007 @ 5:34

528.7.2007 13:38

It would be a sad day for Tv in the Uk if we ever ended up with US style commercial TV , programmes punctuated every 5 mins with advertisements!

628.7.2007 14:51

I felt dumber in reading this article. They went on in this article about nothing really and all this was was starting a new video site for the bbc. Well you could have said that in 2 paragraphs at the most.

729.7.2007 2:23

I have signed up for the Beta but you have to wait to be invited,how do they decide who joins? thats interesting!
Its only for previous 7 days programmes so there is no access to the BBC back catalogue...shame about that :(

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