Tuesday, October 16, 2007

BBC iPlayer - some progress

The BBC iPlayer is still a Microsoft Windows only service that uses a Microsoft protocol to transfer content. Fixing this was left to the BBC Trust who are to review the matter every six months.

But what will the BBC Trust review? What progress has been made towards making BBC content available via open protocols on any platform that supports those protocols? No concrete progress so far it seems, but the BBC are starting to talk about alternatives to the Microsoft only iPlayer program and the Microsoft protocols, all be it wrapped up with an announcement promoting the use of those very same Microsoft programs and protocols:

BBC NEWS | Technology | BBC online to go free over wi-fi

I think we need to see the BBC move from talk to action so that the BBC Trust has something concrete to review at it's first 6 monthly meeting following the launch of the Microsoft only iPlayer. Using the Adobe Flash player and the Adobe protocols is an improvement over the Microsoft-only approach as it does work on many platforms, but it is just locking BBC content into the products of yet another corporation, Adobe this time.

Adopting an open protocol would be an even better fit with the BBC charter and would open the content for use with software written by anyone, even Microsoft or Adobe if they chose to write such software. I hope this very point comes up at the next BBC Trust review.

I hope that the trust of the UK government in the BBC Trust was not misplaced.

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