BBC offers stripped-down iPlayer for Macs and Linux
By Barry Collins
Posted on 16 Oct 2007 at 07:11
The BBC is to launch a streaming version of its iPlayer for Macs and Linux - but has refused to commit to a full download service for non-Windows platforms.
The Corporation has signed a deal with Adobe to bring Flash streaming to all of its video services, including the iPlayer. This will allow Mac and Linux users - who've previously been frozen out of the iPlayer service - to stream the catch-up service from the end of the year.
However, it falls a long way short of the full download service offered to Windows XP owners. This allows you to store programmes on your laptop's hard disk and watch them in places without an internet connection - on a train or plane journey, for example.
Ashley Highfield, the BBC's director of Future Media and Technology, claims the BBC had never committed to bringing the full download service to non-Windows platforms. "We need to get the streaming service up and look at the ratio of consumption between the services and then we need to look long and hard at whether we build a download service for Mac and Linux," he tells the BBC news website.
"It comes down to cost per person and reach at the end of the day. We are not ruling it out. But we are not committing to it at this stage."
However, Mr Highfield hasn't previously mentioned that Mac and Linux users would be getting a stripped-down version of the software. "We are committed to making it as easy as possible to use BBC iPlayer," he said at the time of the iPlayer's launch in the summer. "Developing a version for Apple Macs and Microsoft Vista is absolutely on our critical path."
The government may also take a dim view of the BBC's backtracking, after more than 16,000 people signed an e-petition on the Number 10 website demanding a non-Windows version of the iPlayer.
"The BBC Trust made it a condition of approval for the BBC's on-demand services that the iPlayer is available to users of a range of operating systems, and has given a commitment that it will ensure that the BBC meets this demand as soon as possible," the government stated, in response to the petition.
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