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BBC iPlayer to no longer be Windows only

BBC iPlayer to no longer be Windows only

The BBC iPlayer - 16,000 of us think it needs more work

Since it's release, the BBC's iPlayer has required Windows XP, Windows Media Player 10+ and Internet Explorer exclusively for the on demand TV. But after a lot of griping and moaning, it seems an online petition signed by over 16,000 UK residents (or 16,000 email addresses with a "UK postcode") has changed the outcome of its future.

The Government statement reads:

"The Government set up the BBC Trust to represent the interests of licence fee payers, and to ensure good governance of the BBC. The BBC Trust has responsibility for ensuring that the correct degree of scrutiny is given to all proposals from the BBC Executive for new services (such as the iPlayer) and any significant changes to existing services. To fulfill this duty, the Trust conducted a Public Value Test on the BBC Executive's proposals to launch new on-demand services, including BBC iPlayer. This included a public consultation and a market impact assessment by Ofcom. In the case of the iPlayer, following the consultation, the Trust noted the strong public demand for the service to be available on a variety of operating systems. The BBC Trust made it a condition of approval for the BBC's on-demand services that the iPlayer is available to users of a range of operating systems, and has given a commitment that it will ensure that the BBC meets this demand as soon as possible. They will measure the BBC's progress on this every six months and publish the findings."

In actual English: more operating system support is due to become available in the future, but don't expect it next week.

Of course, why people were lobbying the government about the BBC, which are two separate entities, we're not too sure. Maybe they've been listening to the Russians, which think the two are a single entity?

The whole thing stems from the fact that the iPlayer uses Windows Media Player to DRM-encrust its media, which is only available on Windows XP. Vista is apparently too new (and no one wants that anyway) and anything previous is too old. Firefox? With IETab it's no problem, but both Opera and Safari users have no native support and Linux users are left out in the cold since they are assumed to be l33t hack0rs and p1rates, no doubt.

No word on whether the core p2p nature of the software and its hidden gremlins will be fixed either, although we certainly hope so (to save future embarrassment on my part).

So there is light at the end of the tunnel and the iPlayer is still a nice concept for us Brits, but ultimately fails for 16,000 of us in practice. Do you use on demand TV services? Are they Windows only? Let us know in the forums.

2 Comments

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DriftCarl 7th September 2007, 20:42 Quote
I got it working on vista eventually. it messed up a lot of things on uninstall and I had to use system recover (bloody excellent on vista to be honest).

I am still concerned about the p2p software of the iplayer though. I would hate to have a letter through the door saying I am being charged an extra 30 quid per month due to going over the fair usage "cap" from my ISP. If I was just a regular broadband non computer type person, I would have no idea why that would happen and probably would never suspect the BBC software.
The service needs to STOP completely when you close iplayer. as long as it stays the way it is. I am not going to touch it.
Phil Rhodes 7th September 2007, 21:18 Quote
Of course they could have avoided all of this just by putting the stuff up on bittorrent.

Hard to be sympathetic when they insist on reinventing the wheel.

P
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