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BBC iPlayer = Hogware

BBC iPlayer = Hogware

BBC iPlayer: Hogware suckling away at your resources.

The BBC iPlayer may still be in beta but it's design is inherently a crafty one. You can shut down the software completely, but the iPlayer "forgets" to shut down a separate service called "KService.exe" that is hogging up 10-20MB of your memory. This service continues to download and upload despite your wishes.

This morning I queued four downloads, then carefully paused them with the intent of downloading later. I closed the iPlayer completely from the system tray and thought that was the end of that. Apparently not.

Instead, some hours later I caught the KService merrily uploading in the background using most of our office bandwidth. On opening the iPlayer again my entire download selection was there ready to be watched.

A bit of investigation yields the answer. It seems that, despite pausing downloads, as soon as you kill iPlayer and leave the KService running, there's nothing to tell it that your downloads are paused. So, it promptly hogs your entire connection and downloads/uploads as much as it can grab.

To kill the KService completely you have to open Task Manager and manually end the process - hardly a fitting option and something resonant of more sinister software that can invade humble Windows machines.

So, old Aunty may be greeting you with a smile and the premise of free video to your face, but it's merrily taking from behind your back. Couple this in with the fact there's still quite a lot of noise about the BBC selling out to Microsoft, as former director of Microsoft's Windows Digital Media division, Erik Huggers, was given the job of controlling the future media and technology group at the BBC in May. Mr. Huggers took over from Ashley Highfield who initially spearheaded the project as the 21st most influential person in UK media industry in UK, according to the Guardian.

The BBC iPlayer is still Windows XP, Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player 10+ only, although after a 15,800 vote online petition criticising it back in April, the BBC has stated that it is committed to expanding into other platforms.

Do you think the BBC should scrap the iPlayer and start again? Be more up front with what it's doing? Or couldn't care less about background processes? There's still time to sign the petition if you're a UK citizen and still interested in making some noise as it closes on August the 20th. Oh, and tell us your thoughts in our forums while you're at it.


The iPlayer application paused but left open shows very little downloading, but yet the service is still uploading. Note the green arrow for outbound traffic.



Once iPlayer is killed, KService goes nuts. Zombies, anyone?

28 Comments

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The_Pope 16th August 2007, 17:19 Quote
Media Player > Real Player at least
iwog 16th August 2007, 17:20 Quote
that Kservice thing is the same one thats used by 4od. I'm sure that this has already been said in the other thread though. Tried that service too, also annoyed the hell out of me. And its probably somewhere in the EULA saying "to use this service we will rape you PC any way possible"
BioSniper 16th August 2007, 17:25 Quote
Sky, 4od, and iPlayer ALL use Kontiki, horrible bandwidth theft tbh.
I luckily knew it had Kontiki in it and make a note to close the services after every session of using the iPlayer but it's almost as bad as spyware, I can understand WHY they've done it but then really need to make it use no more than say, 5k/s upstream.
Jamie 16th August 2007, 17:40 Quote
Nikumba 16th August 2007, 18:25 Quote
Whats the software in the screenshots as that looks like a handy tool

Kimbie
-EVRE- 16th August 2007, 18:38 Quote
^^Agreed.

What is it! :D
Hugo.B 16th August 2007, 18:49 Quote
Task manager or firewall, don't know because I don't use Vista.
Der.
DeX 16th August 2007, 19:08 Quote
The sad thing is that I would be happy to share my bandwidth to get access to on demand tv if I could at the very least control when it was allowed to upload or download. Maybe it would become a bit like bit-torrent however where nobody shares enough to get decent speeds for streaming - but there are ways around this. Private torrent trackers work like a dream because your download quota is directly related to how much you upload. If only the BBC could use this model, the iPlayer may actually be successful.
mclean007 16th August 2007, 19:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugo.B
Task manager or firewall, don't know because I don't use Vista.
Der.

Neither does iPlayer :D
FvD 16th August 2007, 19:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikumba
Whats the software in the screenshots as that looks like a handy tool

Kimbie
That's Netlimiter.

FvD
mclean007 16th August 2007, 19:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeX
The sad thing is that I would be happy to share my bandwidth to get access to on demand tv if I could at the very least control when it was allowed to upload or download. Maybe it would become a bit like bit-torrent however where nobody shares enough to get decent speeds for streaming - but there are ways around this. Private torrent trackers work like a dream because your download quota is directly related to how much you upload. If only the BBC could use this model, the iPlayer may actually be successful.

Also though, a lot of the reason people restrict their upload bandwidth on torrents is that the stuff they are torrenting is often of dubious legality, and the authorities will always go after the big uploaders first, so the perception is that by minimising your uploads you 'fly under the radar' and minimise the risk of a hefty fine.

With iPlayer, which is completely legal to use, this is not an issue. I have uncapped broadband and would happily allow iPlayer to utilise it freely (subject to me having control over it), but if I were the sort of person to download things illegally, I would be disinclined to allow bit-torrent free reign over my upstream bandwidth, even using PeerGuardian, for fear of attracting unwanted official attention.
Da Dego 16th August 2007, 19:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugo.B
Task manager or firewall, don't know because I don't use Vista.
Der.

If you are acknowledging you don't know (and guessed completely wrong), then why did you post? :? Idle, short, random and completely unhelpful posts are already covered well enough...
completemadness 16th August 2007, 20:24 Quote
i prefer not to allow my downloads/uploads to use my whole connection because everything else dies when you do
If you cant upload/download anymore then your Internet slows to a crawl, games practically stop, and everything starts timing out

I don't even think that having the service run after the program closes is the end of the world, what we do need though is the service to continue to follow your bandwidth allocations
Just because you closed the program doesn't mean you want to give it all your Internet connection, in fact your likely to close it to try and save your Internet connection

Edit:
Shame that petition is outvoted by the one
"Make Jeremy Clarkson Prime Minister"
Quote:
Make Jeremy Clarkson Prime Minister - 15937
prevent the BBC from making its iPlayer on-demand television service available to Windows users only, and instruct the corporation to provide its service for other operating systems also. - 15917
squeck 16th August 2007, 20:39 Quote
I use Netlimiter on my machines to limit p2p apps & downloads as i live in a student house (bittorrent kills warcraft for my housemates lol), you can use scheduling and control it remotely. i couldn't download 4oD last time i checked, as i have vista and the flash downloader thingy wouldn't let me and i couldn't be arsed to use a different pc
g3n3tiX 16th August 2007, 21:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BBC
I'm in ur Computah, Stealin' yer bandwidth !!

what they are doing is theft...

But see what happens when a lot of people start really using the tubes (harnessing the powa of P2P)...the infrastructure suffers. Time to upgrade, as I can see a cataclysmic system crash comin' up.
Nikumba 16th August 2007, 21:41 Quote
Ok thanks, will look at it
proxess 16th August 2007, 22:28 Quote
Real Player for Linux (or any other media player for linux) > Win Media Player. A crash would me nice tho, I might see some sunlight and they might actually upgrade their systems. My TSP has a *cough*backup*cough* system which caught fire some months ago (don't know how). They upgraded the tapes from 300gb to 1.3tb which is rather nice. Anyone up for a burning TSP?

TSP => Tubes Service Provider.
cyrilthefish 16th August 2007, 23:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
Also though, a lot of the reason people restrict their upload bandwidth on torrents is that the stuff they are torrenting is often of dubious legality, and the authorities will always go after the big uploaders first, so the perception is that by minimising your uploads you 'fly under the radar' and minimise the risk of a hefty fine.
nope, 100% of your upload used = no download bandwidth available and 1.5+ seconds ping times.

Doesn't matter if said torrent is 100% legal or 100% illegal, if it maxes your upload, your connection will die a painfull death, that is why people want to limit upload.

I've never even heard of people restricting upload to 'seem more legal' at all in my experience
mclean007 16th August 2007, 23:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrilthefish
nope, 100% of your upload used = no download bandwidth available and 1.5+ seconds ping times.

Doesn't matter if said torrent is 100% legal or 100% illegal, if it maxes your upload, your connection will die a painfull death, that is why people want to limit upload.
All true (hence why I said subject to me having control!), and the software has to play nice with letting other software have a slice of the bandwidth as required. p2p clients really should make their traffic lowest priority and soak up the line only when you're not actively using it for other things, a bit like F@H etc. do with your CPU cycles.

However, a lot of PCs are left on a lot of the time not doing much, and I wager that if iPlayer was good with allowing other apps priority access to bandwidth, users with uncapped connections would be quite happy to let it have pretty free reign over their surplus bandwidth.
Quote:
I've never even heard of people restricting upload to 'seem more legal' at all in my experience
Definitely happens - look at the headlines and the people who get busted are often sharing hundreds of gigs of music / movies / software, because it is they who are targeted by the authorities. It's bound to scare people who would otherwise be uploading loads to keep it down a bit.
DriftCarl 17th August 2007, 06:55 Quote
I use to use 4od, used the program hack to play it on vista and thats when i discovered kservice. I use to end it every time i finished watching 4od. Then i tried BBC's iplayer(in virtual pc 2007) to my dissapointment, it also had kservice and after a few minutes of watching little britain, I uninstalled it.

I am not prepared to keep ending the kservice process every time I want to stop watching tv. I much prefer watching sports matches on sopcast. Although it is peer to peer program, atleast it closes when you close the program.
jezmck 17th August 2007, 10:33 Quote
I'm at work so I can't check now, but if I've stopped it loading at windows-start-up will that have stopped the uploads?
Bindibadgi 17th August 2007, 11:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzle
I'm at work so I can't check now, but if I've stopped it loading at windows-start-up will that have stopped the uploads?

Just hit ctrl+shift+escape and check if Kservice is running.
[USRF]Obiwan 17th August 2007, 11:13 Quote
I dont get it. Why dont they just use windows media player or better yet a flash player. Its a proven concept: See youtube, video.google, gametrailers.com and others.
mclean007 17th August 2007, 11:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF]Obiwan
I dont get it. Why dont they just use windows media player or better yet a flash player. Its a proven concept: See youtube, video.google, gametrailers.com and others.
The answer is simple - they simply don't have, and couldn't afford, the bandwidth required to offer TV length shows at anything approaching acceptable quality, so they have to resort to p2p. Look at YouTooob - its picture quality is appalling and most of the vids are pretty short, but it still racks up a very hefty bandwidth bill.
[USRF]Obiwan 17th August 2007, 12:19 Quote
Well streaming should work without bottleneck. You can only watch the preview because your not with this isp. But i am, and can watch tv all day in highstream format. Most providers are linked to the internal ring of the interner exchange. So there are no cost in bandwidth. It only cost if they go from the exchange ring to other countries.

1000kbps stream preview
jezmck 18th August 2007, 09:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Just hit ctrl+shift+escape and check if Kservice is running.
I knew that! Just wasn't at the PC in question.
Turns out it was running. Cheeky bums at BBC/4OD.

I don't think it would have bothered me so much if they had clearly explained how it worked from the outset.
vaderag 18th August 2007, 20:52 Quote
It gets even better! See my opinions on the iPlayer Here!
Rebourne 19th August 2007, 06:30 Quote
That's very strange I'm going to assume it's a bug since it's in beta.

I prefer to use Foobar2000 for my music listening pleasure.
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