BBC iPlayer = Hogware

August 16, 2007 | 16:10

Tags: #connection #downloads #internet #internets #iplayer #p2p #torrent #tubes #tv

Companies: #bbc

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?

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