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BBC iPlayer

June 29th, 2007 by Multimedia Mike

This article in IMDb’s Studio Briefing was the first exposure I have had to the British Broadcasting Corporation’s initiative called iPlayer: BBC Chief Says New Software Moves TV Into a New Age. This is the official page (iPlayer is formerly known as IMP), and here’s Wikipedia’s treatment.

BBC’s player client allows users to download recent BBC shows and view them locally for a limited period of time. Any multimedia hacker who hears ‘BBC’ likely thinks of the Dirac video codec. There is no sign of the codec in any of the literature. Indeed, the container, codec, transport, and DRM capabilities all appear to be based on Windows Media technologies. Further, the client distributes content via a P2P protocol. I suppose this is a natural outgrowth of such a community-owned entity as the BBC.

The official iPlayer homepage links to a message board for the program beta. The board is closed now but the latest activity was from… February… May… even July? Oh wait, these messages are from 2006. The BBC is not known to be the most efficient or competitive enterprise in the broadcast market. So it is not a big surprise to see how gradually this project has progressed.

Presumably, subjects under the BBC’s jurisdiction will express the most interest in this media client. I wonder if foreigners will be able to use it as well? There was much consternation on the message board regarding the limitations of the service, e.g., not being able to sync the downloaded content to such portable devices as the Apple iPod and Sony PSP.

Does the BBC publish any content that would even make any hacking endeavors worthwhile? (Not in my viewing experience…)

Posted in Multimedia PressWatch | Comments Off on BBC iPlayer

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