BBC looking at bringing iPlayer to Apple TV

“The announcement from Macworld about the effective relaunch of the AppleTV… is encouraging,” Ashley Highfield, The BBC’s Director of Future Media and Technology writes on the BBC Internet Blog.

Highfield writes, “This, coupled with Apple’s (long anticipated) move to a rental model, means that we can look to getting BBC iPlayer onto this platform too, as we should be able to use the rental functionality to allow our programmes to be downloaded, free, but retained for a time window, and then erased, as our rightsholders currently insist.”

Full article here.

[Attribution. Electronista. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Stoo” for the heads up.]


  1. WHAT? The BBC, actually doing something that makes sense?

    BWAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Yeh right, and look over there – it’s a pig doing triple somersaults in the sky!!

    Oh wait, is that actually Steve Ballmer?

    The day the BBC actually do something innovative is the day I will eat my own hat. And it’s a big cowboy hat as well.

  2. When the BBC says it can look to doing something like that, what it actually means is that it can say nice things and do nothing for a year or two in the hope that their favoured solution with Microsoft can get some traction while there is no competition.

    Of course there is much to be said in favour of the BBC working with Apple to make Apple TV a stand-alone player for it’s iPlayer service, but there’s also much to be said for having iPlayer for OS X too. The BBC have repeatedly stalled that development and have now even distanced themselves from their previous two year commitment to bring it to OS X.

    Recently they have allowed UK Mac users to access the streaming video service. They are trying to make people think that it’s the iPlayer, but streaming feeds can’t be viewed later, the iPlayer service allows programmes to be stored for later viewing.

    We keep getting fine words from the BBC, it would be nice to get some action. The bizarre thing is that Apple TV would probably be a much better solution for the BBC than what it’s currently proposing, but they’re too locked in to getting Microsoft to provide a solution and users often complain about how that solution doesn’t work reliably.

  3. @drhufufur

    Yeah, technically … but they’ll also need a management system around delivery; as well as all the legal mumbo-jumbo in place.

    If this goes ahead I’ll be buying AppleTV for all sorts of people, older family members mostly who wouldn’t otherwise consider an IPTV solution. BBC iPlayer could actually be very good (apart from being Windows locked for downloads) and even the streaming isn’t too bad (for OS X, Linux, and Windows).

  4. It’s a difficult question though, as iPlayer downloads are free … but use a P2P mechanism to reduce the download bandwidth cost to the BBC.

    They might have to introduce similar P2P tech to the AppleTV, or introduce a small fee. Although I don’t see the fee working as BBC has to be free to UK citizens.

    How to pay for, or provide, download bandwidth is one of the problems that will need solving to make this happen.

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