BBC 'committed' to iPlayer platform neutrality

BBC 'committed' to iPlayer platform neutrality

Summary: The Open Source Consortium has met with the BBC Trust to discuss concerns over the corporation's online on-demand television service

TOPICS: Tech Industry

The BBC and the Open Source Consortium have met to discuss concerns surrounding the development of the corporation's iPlayer.

iPlayer is the BBC's online on-demand television service, unveiled last month and available to Windows XP users for public download on 27 July.

The Open Source Consortium (OSC) wanted to meet with the BBC's independent governing body to clarify its commitment to making the iPlayer available for other platforms.

OSC president Mark Taylor said: "The meeting with the Trust was very positive. We're absolutely clear that the BBC Trust themselves are committed to platform neutrality.

"We asked [the Trust] to explain how platform neutrality was going to be achieved given that the existing iPlayer is completely locked into single provider's technology stack."

Taylor explained that the issue isn't just about desktops but also mobile phones and media players — many of which run on Linux or Apple software — which the BBC claims it wants to bring iPlayer to.

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The OSC isn't the only group concerned about the iPlayer, with more than 11,000 people now having signed a 10 Downing Street e-petition asking the prime minister to take action.

The BBC Trust also asked the OSC to assist in preparing for the next iPlayer review in October by providing guidance on questions to ask.

The BBC Trust statement said it is "fully committed to users of both the Linux and Mac operating systems having full use of the BBC iPlayer".

The Trust described the meeting with the OSC as "useful and constructive" and added: "The Trust welcomed the OSC's offer of help to establish an open-source, cross-platform solution."

It was agreed that the BBC Trust and OSC will meet again following the October review.

Topic: Tech Industry

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  • So *who* made it *completely* locked-in to Microsoft?

    What *is* the market for something like the iPlayer?

    Certainly *not* the plain old desktop Windows(TM) PC. If you are at home, where are you going to watch TV? On your Windows(TM) PC, or on your TV?

    No, by far the bigger market for something like the iPlayer is:

    Portable Media Players (Apple 70-80%, others 20-30%, Microsoft 0%)
    Mobile phones (Everyone else 94%, Microsoft 6%)
    Consumer electronics devices (eg Tivo-like - and here *Linux* has more market share than Microsoft).

    The 'market share' arguments sounds untirely hollow unless you have been brainwashed (or paid to appear that way) by the 'whole world is the PC' religion that Microsoft have been trying to inflict on everyone and appear to have succeeded with certain individuals within the BBC.

    No, it simply doesn't add up, and someone in the BBC needs to figure out a much more convincing story than they have so far because more and more of the world has *smelt a rat*...

    *What* is the real story?
    *Who* did the deal with Microsoft?
    *Why* have the traditions of the BBC been *betrayed*? and for how much?
  • PM petition growing by 1,000 a day now!

    The petition is here:

    It is now growing at the rate of 1,000 new signatures every day!

    You can help send the message to the BBC that single-platform lock-in is *not acceptable* by adding your name to the petition - it will take you less than a minute...
  • So if the BBC is committed to providing a Linux version of iPlayer...

    ... what does this mean for DRM? Personally, I think the BBC's arguments for DRM are dead in the water ever since the BBC decided to go ahead with the iPlayer launch despite the fact that the DRM has been cracked. After all, surely the BBC would have been *forced* to postpone it if DRM were truly as critical as they had previously been claiming?

    But regardless, yes, if I were using iPlayer then I would be watching TV on my PC monitor. In fact, I already do sometimes, thanks to a USB DVB-T adapter. Which works with Linux. And even lets me capture the MPEG stream to my hard disc. For private, indefinite DRM-free viewing...
  • Exactly right

    And more proof that the *real reason* for the iPlayer technology choices has not been admitted yet.

    One has to ask the question *who benefits* from the decision that has been made...

    Certainly not the consumer.
    Certainly not the BBC either.

    Maybe someone who wants to increase their market share in phones, portable media players, and embedded OSes for consumer devices?

    Would certainly circumvent any pesky anti-trust judgements too, wouldn't it?
  • Microsoft Technology on Linux?

    I'm not sure Microsoft has actually thought this through fully either. Given the BBC has to be platform neutral, doesn't this mean that key Microsoft "technology" will be ported to Linux and other free OSes?
  • It's all about the money

    Every decision the BBC makes has an underlying theme, Money. It is not a case of more profit, they just want to make what they've got go further, and that instruction comes from the Government.

    I've no idea if this is the case or not, but I wonder if the BBC has found themselves in this situation because it was the most cost effective solution at the time. Perhaps, and I'm guessing again here, Microsoft offered free support during the development.