BBC to re-engineer ‘iPlayer’ to work with Apple Macs

Apple Store“The BBC is to open up its vast archive of video and audio in an on-demand trial involving more than 20,000 people in the UK,” BBC News reports.

“Full-length programmes, as well as scripts and notes, will be available for download from the BBC’s website. The pilot is part of the BBC’s plans to eventually offer more than a million hours of TV and radio from its archive. The BBC’s Future Media boss Ashley Highfield made the announcement at an industry conference in Cannes,” The Beeb reports.

At the Cannes event Mr Highfield announced:
• The BBC’s proposed iPlayer service, offering catch-up TV via the web and cable TV, would be re-engineered to work with Apple Macs and would eventually roll out to digital terrestrial TV (DTT) and set-top boxes.
• A trial of hybrid set-top boxes which are connected to the net and can record TV to access BBC archive material.
• The desire to “future-proof Freeview with additional advanced interactive and digital functionality” so it could offer catch-up TV and access archive material.

MacDailyNews Note: Freeview is the operator of free digital terrestrial television in the United Kingdom, using the DVB-T standard. The Freeview brand name, owned by DTV Service, is used to promote the free digital terrestrial television service as a whole and those services operated by companies who rent capacity from Freeview Consortium shareholders. The founding members of DTV Services were the BBC, National Grid Wireless and British Sky Broadcasting. On 11 October 2005, they were joined by ITV plc and Channel 4. The Freeview service broadcasts free-to-air television channels, radio stations and interactive services from the BBC, Sky and other broadcasters. More info here.

The Beeb reports, “The archive trial will make available 1,000 hours of content drawn from a mix of genres to a closed number of people. About 50 hours – of both TV and radio programmes – will be available in an open environment for general access.”

“The BBC iPlayer is expected to be launched later this year but is still subject to approval from the BBC Trust. If launched, it is designed to offer a seven-day catch-up service for viewers who can download content onto their computers,” The Beeb reports. “The BBC said it planned to offer the service first on computers running the Windows operating system and then on cable TV and other platforms such as Apple Macs, media centre PCs and smart handheld devices, such as mobiles or PDAs.”

“The BBC’s plans for the iPlayer were put on hold earlier this year after its regulators, the BBC Trust, asked the corporation to look at whether the iPlayer should be platform agnostic,” The Beeb reports. “Mr Highfield said Apple’s ‘proprietary and closed framework for digital rights management gives us headaches,’ but, ‘it is one of our top priorities to re-engineer our proposed BBC iPlayer service to work on Macs.'”

Full article here.
Excellent news! Good job to everyone who asked that BBC’s “iPlayer” be made compatible with the superior platform!

Related articles:
BBC plans to take on Apple’s iTunes with ‘iPlayer’ – March 07, 2007
British citizens: e-petition Prime Minister regarding Mac compatibility for BBC ‘iPlayer’ – February 22, 2007
Ask the BBC make upcoming iPlayer on-demand service Mac compatible – February 01, 2007


  1. “Mr Highfield said Apple’s ‘proprietary and closed framework for digital rights management gives us headaches,'”
    Hmm, if you’re using Windows Media Player and can’t get it to work on Macs or Linux, wouldn’t that mean that Microsoft’s DRM is the one that is proprietary and closed?

  2. Microsoft’s ‘proprietary and closed framework for digital rights management’ doesn’t give you headaches?

    Well, you are the only ones.

    Yes, Microsoft’s DRM framework is closed. If it wasn’t closed, it would work on Linux, Unix and Mac OS X.

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