BBC Trust gives ‘iPlayer’ go-ahead; must be Mac-compatible ‘within reasonable time frame’

Apple Store“BBC shows such as Doctor Who and EastEnders are to be made available on-demand after the BBC’s iPlayer service was given the green light,” BBC News reports.

“The service – which will launch later this year – allows viewers to watch programmes online for seven days after their first TV broadcast,” The Beeb reports. “Episodes can also be downloaded and stored for up to 30 days.”

“The BBC Trust gave the iPlayer the go-ahead after consultations with members of the public. About 10,500 individuals and organisations responded to the public value test after the trust gave its provisional approval in January,” The Beeb reports.

The Beeb reports, “The iPlayer computer application will only be initially available to those with Windows PCs in the UK. But the trust has asked the BBC to ensure that the iPlayer computer application can run on different systems – such as Apple Macs – within ‘a reasonable time frame.'”

The Beeb reports, “Earlier this month BBC Future Media boss Ashley Highfield said the corporation was committed to rolling out the iPlayer on Windows PCs first of all, and then cable TV services, Apple Macs, and eventually Freeview boxes. But the BBC said it could not commit to a two-year deadline to achieve this goal, saying it was up to the third parties concerned.”

“However, the BBC Trust said it would audit the BBC’s progress against this objective every six months to ensure that members of the public not using Windows PCs would not be disadvantaged,” The Beeb reports.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “twelveightyone” for the heads up.]
There’s nothing “reasonable” about not even being able to commit to a two-year time frame.

Related articles:
BBC to re-engineer ‘iPlayer’ to work with Apple Macs – April 18, 2007
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. I don’t consider 2 years for a Mac OS X compatible player to be “reasonable” in any dictionary of the English language, Queen’s or American. If Opera can release concurrent versions of its browser in multiple platforms, so can other companies.

    MDN MW: include
    ‘Nuff said.

  2. The BBC have been let off the hook. A vague commitment and random timeline. Nothing will happen within 2 years for sure.

    Why the hell couldn’t the BBC use iTunes? Did Apple block them access? Is the on-demand service free or doesn’t it require a subscription?

  3. More of my tax (aka licence fee) money down the drain.

    BBC’s mostly a pig-dog propaganda machine, just about let off the hook by the quality of Radio 4, Radio 3, World Services and BBC2.

    Oh all right… Doctor Who’s OK too.


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  4. This is ridiculous. Just copy ABC’s model for online play and license your stuff to iTunes if you want to sell copies. You save money on research and development and you have a proven model that’s cross platform capable. Morons.

  5. Biting my tongue…but here’s why no iTunes:

    “The service – which will launch later this year – allows viewers to watch programmes online for seven days after their first TV broadcast,” The Beeb reports. “Episodes can also be downloaded and stored for up to 30 days.”

    They want to maintain control of the content. Eh, fair enough. It is theirs…

  6. Fsck the beeb, ask any resident of the UK about their TV and they’ll say that Channel 4 (a non-profit free ad-based channel), is more important.

    Better drama, better comedy, better films.

    However, Channel 4’s on demand service (4oD), which shows all their content, free and online is Windows only, with Channel 4 blaming Apple for not offering good enough DRM.

    Steve Jobs needs to get his finger out, offer something to these guys that gives us feature comparity with Windows DRM (spit), instead of arrogantly pointing all potential contributors to iTunes.

    We’re being left behind guys, at least in the UK, where a sizable proportion of Apple’s sales are coming from.

  7. Then you need to know that the BBC is in cahoots with Microsoft. Apple is the enemy, as todays Finacial Times says:

    BBC plans an alternative to iTunes in bid to boost profits
    By Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, Media Editor
    Published: March 6 2007 02:00
    The BBC’s commercial arm yesterday invited other UK broadcasters to put their programmes on its new online media player, saying they could create an alternative to Apple’s iTunes site for video and audio downloads.

    John Smith, chief executive of BBC Worldwide, said its iPlayer software could be “like Freeview [the digital terrestrial television service] in creating a new digital platform for broadcasters, giving them a chance to control their own destiny, but like [British] Sky [Broadcasting] in its opportunities for monetisation”.”

  8. Beware England…

    Your government and the BCC has begin the process of dumbing down your sociality – so that M$$$ can maybe gain the upper hand…

    Bottom Line – this is a really dumb idea and should not be allowed to happen!

  9. And if you were in any doubt – the BBC is going the same route as the music co’s – ie greed…

    “Speaking at the FT digital media conference in London, BBC exec John Smith looked to raise awareness about the new initiative and recruit original content for a single, central service. The report notes that ITV, Channel 4 and BSkyB have all launched online platforms.

    Smith, however, warned that the industry could repeat the mistakes of music companies, which allowed Apple to dominate the legal digital download market with its simple, fixed-price model at the iTunes store.

    “We would be delighted if other major UK broadcasters wanted to join us and make it a pan-UK service,” Smith told attendees. “Imagine some third-party controlling the positions and pricing of all our content on the web so we might get, say, 50 per cent of £1.99 whether it’s Planet Earth that cost millions to produce or daytime cookery that cost a few thousands.”

    BBC Worldwide is planning an aggressive digital expansion to double profits to £200 million over the next five years, the report claims.” from MNN.

    Looks like I may not be using the iPlayer – even with its Applesque name – but rather getting from a torrent.

    BBC – Ballmer’s Broadcasting Corporation.

  10. At a lecture last week the iPlayer was demo’ed. The admission was of it being released in two months (PC only) but with the Mac version maybe just a few months later. The delay may be due to DRM being trickier to manage on the Mac?.

    The reference to two years may be over all the platform options, not just the iPlayer specifically.

    The speaker was at pains to portray the BBC as platform agnostic – he presented from a Mac himself. They are already moving onto mobile platforms, the fabulous Freeview is now more popular than Murdoch’s Sky nonsense and the iPlayer will be free-to-air and cable too, as they say. YouTube now, Joost soon – all in an effort to ensure that everyone in the UK can receive what they want where they want on whatever they choose.

    The iPlayer is not intended to be a revenue earner. It is a playback tool only, DRM limiting downloads to a to seven days lifespan. It is a logical extension to the radio service Listen Again tool.

    MDN Magic Word: Well, as in Well Done the Beeb.

  11. No iPlayer? Oh well, I guess I’ll just keep downloading Doctor Who off TorrentSpy. Such a shame too — I was really looking forward to seven-day limited viewing instead of the XviD files I get to keep forever.

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