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BBC launch Flash version of iPlayer
December 14, 2007 6:32 AM   Subscribe

BBC launch Flash version of iPlayer The BBC have developed iPlayer as a vehicle for online distribution of its programs. Originally this involved downloading a stand-alone application for windows users only. This application has had a troubled beta launch and has drawn criticism from Linux and Mac users who were unsupported. The Flash version is an attempt to placate these users (though I believe you have to be in the UK)
posted by rongorongo (33 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sweet.
posted by grouse at 6:48 AM on December 14, 2007


Dear BBC,

Quit dicking around and put your entire archive online for free for a global audience.

Thanks in advance,
The public at large.
posted by vbfg at 6:49 AM on December 14, 2007


Dear BBC,

Some of us would even pay to have access to your archive online available outside the UK.
posted by birdherder at 6:52 AM on December 14, 2007


Dear BBC,

What they said.
posted by normy at 6:57 AM on December 14, 2007


Some of us would even pay to have access to your archive online available outside the UK.

Agreed ! I'm a British Expat and would love to be able to see some old favourites again.
I used to pay my licence fee and I would consider an online overseas version.
posted by Webbster at 6:58 AM on December 14, 2007


I think all the UK shows I liked that were rebroadcast in the late 70's in Chicago were from something called The Thames Network (which for all I know was part of the BBC). To whom should I bitch about not having free global access to every episode of No Honestly and The Two Ronnies? Thank you for your prompt attention.
posted by ba at 7:00 AM on December 14, 2007


Considering the UK tv license fee is 135.50 GBP, or around $276, I probably would not pay that if given the choice.
posted by smackfu at 7:02 AM on December 14, 2007


*watches Earth: The Power of The Planet*

I forgot to Sky+ this show. Silly me. Thanks Beeb!
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:02 AM on December 14, 2007


Dear BBC

While people are asking for stupid things, I would like a puppy and a pony and a new bike. Also some more consultancy days. Thanks!
posted by Hogshead at 7:16 AM on December 14, 2007


For those that are able to use the player, try the volume control widget. It goes up to 11. The BBC - Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation. One louder.
posted by punilux at 7:17 AM on December 14, 2007


While people are asking for stupid things, I would like a puppy and a pony and a new bike. Also some more consultancy days. Thanks!

If you've paid for them, take them. We've already paid for the archive.
posted by vbfg at 7:20 AM on December 14, 2007


Dear BBC

I never thought this would happen to me, but then one day triplet stewardesses knocked on my door...
posted by DU at 7:26 AM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Man, I'm outside the UK.

If only there was some way I could watch these, even if only by proxy...
posted by JeremiahBritt at 7:31 AM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dear BBC,

Stop failing at the internet. I say this because I love you and I want us both to be happy.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:44 AM on December 14, 2007


I think all the UK shows I liked that were rebroadcast in the late 70's in Chicago were from something called The Thames Network (which for all I know was part of the BBC).

Thames TV wasn't BBC, it was an ITV regional channel. ITV being the BBC's commercial rival. It used to be split up into dozens of local franchises that produced interesting and informative programmes. Now the regions have been more or less abolished (apart from news) and ITV is a steaming pile of shit.

As for iPlayer, I tried it out once after downloading some kind of hack that allowed it to be installed on Vista. After that I found out it didn't work with Firefox. Then I waited about six hours to download a 30 minute show. Then I found out that I had to watch said show using the bloaty iPlayer software. After that I stuck to Bittorrent...
posted by afx237vi at 7:44 AM on December 14, 2007


The thing about the UK is that you're always outside it one way or another. Man.
posted by Abiezer at 8:40 AM on December 14, 2007


Tried the old one once... took my like forever to get one program, tried to another and just gave up. Meanwhile I noticed the background file sharing was just gobbling up all my bandwidth. So I got rid.

Don't think I'll bother again
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:47 AM on December 14, 2007


Yowza... a lot of negative nellies on this post! I tried the Windows-only iPlayer and it is indeed total rubbish. Like afx237vi said, it's slow, requires IE, and forces you into using the Beeb's inferior media player. I will say, however, that this new Flash version is a pretty drastic improvement. Downloading-to-watch-later was never a realistic approach for TV -- instant streaming is the only way to go. And Flash provides that at least.

BBC deserves its knocks for the way they've mismanaged the whole project, but give them credit for the fact that they've acknowledged critics at least and are working to improve it.

As for watching outside the UK -- well, that's hardly just a British problem. No network in any country is yet ready to deal with the realities of international broadcasting. The only seriously promising venture I've seen so far is Joost but even that has geographical restrictions on some programming.
posted by attaboy at 9:01 AM on December 14, 2007


Yowza... a lot of negative nellies on this post!

This post is like posting a link to a members-only forum.
posted by smackfu at 9:13 AM on December 14, 2007


Dear BBC,

Stop making me feel guilty every time I download one of your awesome shows through bit torrent. Give me a way to watch your stuff in a timely manner and unedited for US TV (curse you BBC America) and I will gladly use it, even if I have to pay for it.
posted by quin at 9:14 AM on December 14, 2007


"Rights agreements mean that BBC iPlayer is only available to users in the UK. However, BBC Worldwide is working on an international version, which we will make available as soon as possible."

Hurry, please.
posted by ericb at 9:41 AM on December 14, 2007


Well, I'm on FreeBSD, so it shuts me out. What's wrong with MPEG?
posted by krinklyfig at 10:27 AM on December 14, 2007


"Rights agreements mean that BBC iPlayer is only available to users in the UK. However, BBC Worldwide is working on an international version, which we will make available as soon as possible."


Dear BBC, why are you using this excuse? You MAKE THE SHOWS YOU BROADCAST. Stop arguing with yourself, and make it so!
posted by blue_beetle at 10:52 AM on December 14, 2007


I presume they're worried about undermining BBC America.
posted by smackfu at 10:58 AM on December 14, 2007


I think a lot of people would pay to view the BBC catalog in flash internationally. BBC America wouldn't suffer, in fact over time they would probably get more viewers, as their programming is exposed to a wider audience.
posted by parallax7d at 11:14 AM on December 14, 2007


The online player maybe cross-OS now, but if you want to download programmes, it's still Windows only. Damn.
posted by TheDonF at 11:22 AM on December 14, 2007


While I agree that the BBC is being fairly close-minded, I think part of the problem might be the blanket rights agreement they have with the music industry (according to Screen Wipe 201, I think it was). They can use any song on the air in the UK, but then when the shows get broadcast overseas or sold on DVD there might be problems, or it seems like there might be to me. Hopefully someone else here will have the full story on that....
posted by JHarris at 11:44 AM on December 14, 2007


I was trying to be subtle before. If you want to test it and don't live in the UK, use a proxy server based in the UK.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 12:22 PM on December 14, 2007


The online player maybe cross-OS now, but if you want to download programmes, it's still Windows only. Damn.

For this problem, various extensions and plugins let you spoof a different user agent.

Really, there's no reason that everybody couldn't check this out on almost any OS in almost any country.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 12:25 PM on December 14, 2007


ITV is a steaming pile of shit.
Amen to that. I can honestly say that I've not watched an entire programme on that channel for at least five years. I check out TV listings to see if there's anything remotely worth watching, but no. It's sub-Daily Mail-level fodder for the drooling, vacuous TV-obsessed, cretinous fuckwads who have nothing better to do with their dead-end existence than watch game shows, atrocious dramas and worse.

"They were only concerned with “heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbours, films, football, beer and, above all, gambling". George Orwell, 1984.

The BBC is slowly getting worse. More and more or their "news" programmes are becoming trails for their other programmes, which is really grating. I want to hear about news, not who might get voted off Celebrity Come Dancing or whatever it's called. But I still love the fact that they don't have commercials; sure, I have to pay over £100 a year for the privilege, but if that keeps the BBC from descending to the levels of ITV, then I'll pay it. Having said that, they do need to sort out some of their digital detritus.
posted by TheDonF at 12:25 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think part of the problem might be the blanket rights agreement they have with the music industry

Ah, good point. A car show could never afford that much great music in the US.
posted by smackfu at 4:07 PM on December 14, 2007


2007. We don't have warp drives, and we don't have web designers that can make cross platform stuff work like it should.

I wonder if the overwhelming desire to DRM the shit out of everything was behind this.
posted by drstein at 5:11 AM on December 15, 2007


Upon actually trying it, I have to say:

This is amazing. OMG, BBC, I'll never stealinfringe TV again!
posted by grouse at 1:52 AM on December 16, 2007


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