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BBC: iPlayer download version coming to Macs

Director general Mark Thompson has said the download version of the iPlayer will be available for Mac users by the end of the year
Written by Tim Ferguson, Contributor

The download version of the BBC's iPlayer will be available for Mac users by the end of the year, according to director general Mark Thompson.

Thompson made the commitment in a blog posting responding to questions about the BBC's approach to platform neutrality with iPlayer.

In his posting, Thompson said: "I am happy to be able to confirm here that we are aiming to launch a download version of BBC iPlayer for Mac this year."

Thompson added that users of Firefox for PCs can now also use the download version.

Thompson admitted he had taken "quite a grilling" from MPs at a recent Public Accounts Committee over concerns that iPlayer focused on a Windows-based approach.

iPlayer was initially launched in beta form last summer for Microsoft's Windows XP and Internet Explorer and attracted criticism as a result.

There was even an e-petition made to the government which was signed by 16,000 people.

The service has been available in streaming form for Macs and Linux — in addition to Windows XP and Vista — since December last year.

Thompson said that when iPlayer was originally launched, the BBC had the option of launching it for a single platform (Windows XP) or to wait until it had been developed for all other platforms, and it chose the former.

BBC statistics suggest around 90 percent of people using the streaming version of iPlayer are running Windows, with around nine percent on Macs and just under one percent on Linux.

Thompson said the issue of making the download version available for platforms other than Windows was complicated by technical and rights issues.

Thompson explained that the availability of "robust, compatible" DRM software for PCs meant a Windows-based service was the first to emerge.

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