For anyone outside the UK, news about the BBC iPlayer is hardly going to be earth shattering I agree. Indeed, for most people inside the UK and who are not part of the Beta trial there is no access to the BBC TV content via streaming video across an IP connection either. But there will be at Christmas when Auntie Beeb go public and launch their big new Internet TV scheme. Unfortunately, until today it looked like only Windows users were going to be able to play, but the BBC has now announced a deal with Adobe which will add Flash video streaming to the iPlayer service and let Linux users get in on the act.
The iPlayer service lets viewers download and view 400 hours of TV from the previous week, which can be stored for a month.
OK, agreed, it is something of a Heath-Robinson quick-fix approach, but if it works then it works. It also ties the BBC into a single technology vendor which isn't ideal, although I guess it could have done worse than jump into bed with Adobe and its fairly universally supported Flash technology. Certainly it is an improvement on the ironically more restrictive combination of Windows Media, QuickTime and Real technology that is used currently. Or at least it is for getting TV programming on-demand from the BBC website at the moment. This fix will still not enable Mac OS and Linux users access to the iPlayer download service until the official launch, until that time it remains a Windows DRM controlled technology.
Erik Huggers, BBC Future Media and Technology Group Controller said: "I'm delighted to announce this strategic relationship with Adobe. It is important to ensure that BBC iPlayer is available on as many platforms as possible. It will offer our audiences increased flexibility as to how and when they consume our content, both live and on-demand, on bbc.co.uk. With a complete end-to-end workflow, Adobe's video solutions will revolutionize how we create and deliver content to audiences in the digital age."