BBC told iPlayer must be multi-platform
By Matthew Sparkes
Posted on 17 Oct 2007 at 08:10
The BBC has been told that it must offer a version of its iPlayer for all operating systems, not just Windows.
The surprise news comes after the BBC said yesterday that it would offer a stripped down Flash streaming service, which would be available on all computers and even embeddable in many websites, but refused to commit to a full iPlayer version for Mac OS or Linux.
The BBC asked the Trust if the Flash streaming service would fulfil its commitment to "platform neutrality", but was told that a multi-platform service across downloads, streaming and cable was needed.
When the BBC initially asked the BBC Trust for approval to create the iPlayer, it was told that "catch-up television over the internet should become platform neutral within a reasonable time frame". The corporation is now being reminded that these services must be made available on alternative operating systems.
No announcement has been made as to the expected timeline for other versions of the iPlayer, but the BBC is claiming that finding an appropriate DRM solution will be difficult, as the Microsoft software currently used is not available on Linux and not yet licensed on Mac OS.
"We do understand that the BBC is not in a position to offer downloads without DRM, but we think that this position is likely to eventually change," says Becky Hogge of the Open Rights Group (ORG).
"Although they will now be given online access to content their licence fee has helped pay for, there are still fundamental inequities between users on different platforms, and this still leaves the BBC deforming the market in favour of Microsoft DRM and Windows," says the ORG website.
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