Mac iPlayer .. so the wait begins !

Today the BBC opened up its iPlayer service as a public beta, offering on-demand viewing of the BBC’s excellent programming to users of Microsoft Windows XP. If you don’t have XP, don’t want XP then you have to wait as this is all down to Digital Rights Management, protecting the content you have already paid for as television license payers.

Testcard

Imagine if you could only watch BBC 1 on Televisions made by Phillips, or only get TV listings from the Daily Mail.

Don’t think this is right.. then sign this Petition.

14 comments

  1. Phil Bridges

    In defense of the Beeb this must have cost licence payers’ dosh to deliver so short term at least they are going for ‘maximum’ bangs per buck’, Windows does have 90% or whatever market share after all. So what about Linux, what about Windows CE, lots of those out there too, where does the BBC draw the line?

  2. Ed

    Phil,

    Such Night owls we are… this would be much cheaper for the BBC and universal in the reithian tradition if there was no DRM in the first place… The BEEB don’t stop me using my v+ drive to record Dr Who and keep it for as long as I like !

    Indeed my VHS copies of the Young Ones are treasured in the Parsons household

  3. Julian Gall

    This is a beta. It seems unreasonable to expect a beta to be made available on Windows, OS X and Linux. Also, what about all the Windows 2000 and Windows 98 users who aren’t supported? Do you think iPlayer should be available for them also?

    The BBC could help their case if they published the percentage of their web site visitors coming from each platform. That could be very revealing.

  4. Nick Black

    DRM – three letters we love to hate.

    Phil: ‘In defense of the Beeb this must have cost licence payerÂ? dosh to deliver so short term at least they are going for Â?maximum bangs per buckÂ?’

    It would have cost less if the BBC weren’t insisting on using DRM to protect their programming – the developer time saved by not bothering with DRM could have been used to develop a Mac/Linux client. But then why bother with a client at all? Why not put their programming out through Joost or do the simplest possible thing, and let people download the shows they want from the site?

    Julian: ‘Do you think iPlayer should be available for them also?’

    Don’t believe that the BBC are doing this to help the poor children in Africa watch Eastenders. This is purely to do with the falacy that is DRM.

    I blogged about this earier this year and stand by the key point here, that DRM is a broken concept. It doesn’t stop people from copying and redistributing media, it just introduces another layer of expensive (financial and CPU) complexity. So why bother?

  5. Ed

    Julian,

    This is as much about browsers as operating systems, this site although not the BBC is representative of sites in general and if you look at the top three user agents in July, the top two are not compatible, only 14% of edparsons.com users could use the iplayer.

    Rank Hits Percent Agent

    1 91573 26.95% Mozilla/5.0
    2 58321 17.17% MSIE 6.0
    3 47506 13.98% MSIE 7.0

    Without DRM I’m sure the windows 2000 /98 community could be accommodated.

  6. Matthew

    IPlayer works fine with IE6 or IE7 on XP, so it’s at least 31%, not 14%. And those stats show your site is not representative; I’d imagine a more tech-savvy audience views this site. 🙂 Here’s some actual BBC stats from March this year: http://www.mail-archive.com/backstage@lists.bbc.co.uk/msg03899.html – IE6/7 is 73.4% of page impressions.

    This isn’t the point, though. I don’t think iPlayer is the thing the BBC should be doing, but it doesn’t stop you being able to record stuff off the air, as you say, so all it does is give some/most people an extra way of viewing some television programmes. “protecting the content you have already paid for as television license payers.” – the BBC have presumably paid for the rights to broadcast content a limited number/length of time. If you want the licence fee to pay for the BBC buying the rights to a programme lock, stock, and barrel, that would presumably cost the BBC an awful lot more and so reduce the amount the BBC could buy.

  7. Sara

    I have XP and I’m still waiting – you have to sign up and then wait for them to invite you to the beta…

    Of course, for my license fees, what I would really like to see is an integrated player that will let me download any of the free-to-air channels. I really don’t want different programs for 4onDemand and ITV, etc.

  8. Simon Bartlett

    Fair comment Ed. Only 14% of the Ed Blog community could use the Beta. But doesn’t that say more about the GI Blog community than it does about the BBC’s move into streamed programing? I’m with Phil and Julian on this one, and lets face it, as a Mac user, you choose to put yourself into a minority user group, and accept the consequences. You don’t move next door to a church, and then complain about the bells, and you don’t buy a Mac and complain that you are a low priority in the development cycle.

  9. Andrew Larcombe

    It should hardly comes as a great surprise to anyone that this is (and, lets face it, will only ever be) available to Windows users. Not because of ‘market’ share, but because the chap at the BBC responsible for iPlayer, Erik Huggers, was previously Senior Director of the Digital Media Division of errr Microsoft…

    …anyhow given the track record of almost all DRM’d content it should be available on the usual P2P networks this time next month. The next challenge will be to find something actually worth watching 🙂

  10. Nick Black

    Simon says: ‘you choose to put yourself into a minority user group, and accept the consequences. You don’t move next door to a church, and then complain about the bells, and you don’t buy a Mac and complain that you are a low priority in the development cycle’

    But why bother with DRM in the first place. Honestly, when has DRM worked, where ‘worked’ is defined as preventing the unauthorised redistribution of the media?

    ‘anyhow given the track record of almost all DRM’d content it should be available on the usual P2P networks this time next month’

    Priecisely, so why bother anyway? Probably because by the time someone at the BBC who actually ‘got it’ had drained the life spirit from their souls in an effort to convice an Executive somewhere that they could possibly release their programmes online they just didn’t have the will left within them to convice them not to bother with DRM.

  11. Greg

    Interesting it only got 300 signatures by 3rd July (perhaps nobody knew what it was about) but then it answers Julian’s comment about it being a beta, if there’s a deal then it’s not going to be made available for other platforms in the future.

    Simon’s right about putting yourself in a minority community if you choose to be a mac user, but then why should that be the case? It’s precisely these kind of deals that keep feeding the Microsoft machine, and putting Mac (and other) users further into the minority. Trouble is, the general public don’t rebel against it by all going out and buying Macs instead, which only encourages the feeding. And the cycle continues…

  12. Simon Bartlett

    Another thought from my 12 yr old. Don’t worry about the iPlayer, it’s all on U Tube anyway.

    Out of the mouths of babes – or future customers as we like to call them.

    PS. I don’t support a differential approach to development. I am just realistic about the cost of these things. It would be nice to deal with everyone – but to quote Jerry Maguire – “show me the money”.

  13. Sara

    Well, having tried it – I would say that you’re not missing much! Besides the difficulty I had in downloading and installing the program, a few other issues I’ve learned:

    – if you have another Kontiki service installed like 4oD, it won’t work, as they conflict with each other

    – even worse, even when the program is completely closed, it continues to download/upload – slowing your internet and will cause you to go over your ISP’s limits

    It’ll be coming off my machine pronto.

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