BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer

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BBC iPlayer, commonly shortened to iPlayer, is an internet television
Internet television
Internet television is the digital distribution of television content via the Internet...

 and radio
Internet radio
Internet radio is an audio service transmitted via the Internet...

 service, developed by the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 to extend its former RealPlayer
RealPlayer
RealPlayer is a cross-platform media player by RealNetworks that plays a number of multimedia formats including MP3, MPEG-4, QuickTime, Windows Media, and multiple versions of proprietary RealAudio and RealVideo formats.-History:...

-based and other streamed video clip
Video clip
Video clips are short clips of video, usually part of a longer recording. The term is also more loosely used to mean any short video less than the length of a traditional television program.- On the Internet :...

 content to include whole TV shows.

BBC iPlayer left Beta and went live on 25 December 2007.
On 25 June 2008, a new-look iPlayer was launched, originally as a beta-test version alongside the earlier version. The site tagline was "Catch up on the last 7 days of BBC TV & Radio", reflecting that programmes are unavailable on iPlayer after this time (with some exceptions), which was later changed to "Making the unmissable, unmissable". The BBC state on their website that this is due to copyright reasons. In May 2010 the site was updated again, to include a recommendations feature and a "social makeover".

In February 2011, the BBC iPlayer was once again modified to include links to programmes on other television channels. Since the launch it showcased programmes on ITV1
ITV1
ITV1 is a generic brand that is used by twelve franchises of the British ITV Network in the English regions, Wales, southern Scotland , the Isle of Man and the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey. The ITV1 brand was introduced by Carlton and Granada in 2001, alongside the regional identities of their...

, ITV2
ITV2
ITV2 is a 24 hour, free-to-air entertainment television channel in the United Kingdom owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc. It was launched on 7 December 1998, and is available on digital television via satellite, cable, IPTV and terrestrial platforms. The channel has the...

, ITV3
ITV3
ITV3 is an entertainment television channel in the United Kingdom that is owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc. The channel was launched on 1 November 2004. ITV3 is the second largest UK multi-channel, second only to ITV2.-History:...

, ITV4
ITV4
ITV4 is a British television station which was launched on 1 November 2005. It is owned by ITV Digital Channels Ltd, a division of ITV plc, and is part of the ITV network. The channel has a male-oriented line-up, including sport, cop shows and US comedies and dramas, as well as classic ITV action...

, Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

, E4, More 4, Film 4, Channel 5, 5*, 5USA and S4C
S4C
S4C , currently branded as S4/C, is a Welsh television channel broadcast from the capital, Cardiff. The first television channel to be aimed specifically at a Welsh-speaking audience, it is the fifth oldest British television channel .The channel - initially broadcast on...

. The feature was added to the search function and the channels function. When a user clicks on a programme by another broadcaster, they are redirected to the relevant broadcaster's catch up service (either the ITV Player
ITV Player
ITV Player is an online video on demand service accessible though the main ITV website. The service offers a variety of programmes from homegrown programming to imports across ITV1, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 and CITV. Some sports programming is available to watch again via the service, the 2010 FIFA World...

, 4OD
4oD
4oD is a video on demand service from Channel 4. Launched in November 2006, 4oD stands for "4 on Demand". The service offers a variety of programmes recently shown on Channel 4, E4, More4 or from their archives...

 or Demand 5).

Development


During its development, iPlayer was formerly known as Integrated Media Player (iMP), Interactive Media Player, and MyBBCPlayer.

The original iPlayer service was launched in October 2005, undergoing a five month long trial of five thousand broadband users until 28 February 2006. The iPlayer was heavily criticised for delay in its launch, rebranding, and cost to BBC licence-fee payers, because no finished product had been released after four years of development. A new, improved iPlayer service then had another very limited user trial which began on 15 November 2006.

The iPlayer received the approval of the BBC Trust
BBC Trust
The BBC Trust is the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation. It is operationally independent of BBC management and external bodies, and aims to act in the best interests of licence fee payers....

 on 30 April 2007, and an open beta for Windows XP
Windows XP
Windows XP is an operating system produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops and media centers. First released to computer manufacturers on August 24, 2001, it is the second most popular version of Windows, based on installed user base...

 and Windows Server 2003
Windows Server 2003
Windows Server 2003 is a server operating system produced by Microsoft, introduced on 24 April 2003. An updated version, Windows Server 2003 R2, was released to manufacturing on 6 December 2005...

 was launched at midnight on 27 July 2007, where it was announced that only a fixed number of people would be able to sign up for the service, with a controlled increase in users over the summer.

The BBC has also been criticised for saying that the iPlayer would 'launch' on the 27 July 2007, when what was on offer was simply an extension of the beta to an open beta, admitting more users in a controlled manner. This was done reportedly to allow British ISPs
Internet service provider
An Internet service provider is a company that provides access to the Internet. Access ISPs directly connect customers to the Internet using copper wires, wireless or fiber-optic connections. Hosting ISPs lease server space for smaller businesses and host other people servers...

 and the BBC to gauge the effect of the iPlayer traffic on the Internet within the UK.

The open beta incorporated a media player, an electronic programme guide (EPG) and specially designed download client
Client (computing)
A client is an application or system that accesses a service made available by a server. The server is often on another computer system, in which case the client accesses the service by way of a network....

, and allowed the download of TV
BBC Television
BBC Television is a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation. The corporation, which has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a Royal Charter since 1927, has produced television programmes from its own studios since 1932, although the start of its regular service of television...

 content by computers assigned to a United Kingdom-based IP address
IP address
An Internet Protocol address is a numerical label assigned to each device participating in a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. An IP address serves two principal functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing...

, for use up to thirty days after broadcast. However, it was available only to users of Windows XP
Windows XP
Windows XP is an operating system produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops and media centers. First released to computer manufacturers on August 24, 2001, it is the second most popular version of Windows, based on installed user base...

.

This was a controversial decision by the BBC, which led to a petition against the decision being posted on 10 Downing Street
10 Downing Street
10 Downing Street, colloquially known in the United Kingdom as "Number 10", is the headquarters of Her Majesty's Government and the official residence and office of the First Lord of the Treasury, who is now always the Prime Minister....

's e-petition
Petition
A petition is a request to do something, most commonly addressed to a government official or public entity. Petitions to a deity are a form of prayer....

 website. The petition reached 16,082 signature
Signature
A signature is a handwritten depiction of someone's name, nickname, or even a simple "X" that a person writes on documents as a proof of identity and intent. The writer of a signature is a signatory. Similar to a handwritten signature, a signature work describes the work as readily identifying...

s on 20 August 2007. The response from the Government was:
... the Trust noted the strong public demand for the service to be available on a variety of operating systems. 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. They will measure the BBC's progress on this every six months and publish the findings.


On 16 October 2007, the BBC announced a strategic relationship with Adobe
Adobe Systems
Adobe Systems Incorporated is an American computer software company founded in 1982 and headquartered in San Jose, California, United States...

, that would bring a limited, streaming-only version of the iPlayer to Mac and Linux users, and Windows users who cannot or do not wish to use the iPlayer download service, such as Windows 9x users. The streaming service was launched on 13 December 2007. Most programmes can be viewed for up to seven days after broadcast, unlike the thirty days provided by the download service.

Since January 2008, iPlayer has supported Mozilla Firefox under the Microsoft Windows platform for downloading content.

Before the iPlayer had even launched, it was announced that the BBC, alongside ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 and Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

, were intending to launch a new video on demand platform, provisionally named Kangaroo
Kangaroo (video on demand)
Kangaroo was the working title for a proposed video on demand platform offering content from BBC Worldwide , ITV.com and Channel 4's 4oD , initially expected to launch in 2008, but blocked by the Competition Commission in 2009. Following the Commission's rejection of the bid, the technology...

. It was intended that Kangaroo would complement the video on demand services that these channels were already offering, including the iPlayer, by making programmes available once their "catch up" period expires. The Kangaroo project was eventually abandoned after being blocked by the Competition Commission early in 2009.

Following a deal between the BBC and cable television provider Virgin Media
Virgin Media
Virgin Media Inc. is a company which provides fixed and mobile telephone, television and broadband internet services to businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom...

, the iPlayer service was made available through the provider's on-demand service. The cable service launched on 30 April 2008, and keeps the look and feel of the BBC iPlayer program.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act
Freedom of Information Act 2000
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 is an Act of Parliament of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that creates a public "right of access" to information held by public authorities. It is the implementation of freedom of information legislation in the United Kingdom on a national level...

 request, the BBC revealed that as of 8 April 2008 the iPlayer had so far cost £6 million to develop.

On 23 August 2008, a new feature, Series Stacking, was announced. This feature started being rolled out on 13 September 2008, and allowed viewers to watch previous programmes from selected series until the series has ended, with a limit of up to thirteen weeks after first broadcast. Not all programmes will form part of the stack, however. The BBC Trust
BBC Trust
The BBC Trust is the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation. It is operationally independent of BBC management and external bodies, and aims to act in the best interests of licence fee payers....

 has permitted 15% of content to be offered as part of the stacking service; soaps, news bulletins and review-based programmes will not be stacked, nor programmes containing material of a legal nature, such as Crimewatch
Crimewatch
Crimewatch is a long-running and high-profile British television programme produced by the BBC, that reconstructs major unsolved crimes with a view to gaining information from the members of the public. The programme is usually broadcast once a month on BBC One...

.

On 19 December 2008, the BBC released, as part of the iPlayer Labs feature, iPlayer Desktop for Mac OS X
Mac OS X
Mac OS X is a series of Unix-based operating systems and graphical user interfaces developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Inc. Since 2002, has been included with all new Macintosh computer systems...

 and Linux
Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

 operating systems. This moved the download service away from the previous P2P based distribution model and onto an HTTP download model.

On 20 April 2009, the BBC incorporated high-definition streams and downloads of some content on the iPlayer. There are plans to roll out the HD streams to devices such as the Virgin Set Top Box, but no date has yet been set. A BBC iPlayer application for the PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
The is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and the successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

 was announced by Sony in August 2009 and was released on the 1 September 2009 along with the Firmware 3.0 update to coincide with the launch of the slimline PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
The is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and the successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

 .

Another version of iPlayer was released in late 2009 as a 'channel' for the Nintendo Wii
Wii
The Wii is a home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006. As a seventh-generation console, the Wii primarily competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. Nintendo states that its console targets a broader demographic than that of the two others...

. This shows only low definition videos of BBC shows up to seven days after their release on television.

On 28 July 2011, BBC Worldwide
BBC Worldwide
BBC Worldwide Limited is the wholly owned commercial subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation, formed out of a restructuring of its predecessor BBC Enterprises in 1995. In the year to 31 March 2010 it made a profit of £145m on a turnover of £1.074bn. The company had made a profit of £106m...

 released an international version of the iPlayer.

Download service


One of the key features of the original iPlayer download service was the use of peer-to-peer
Peer-to-peer
Peer-to-peer computing or networking is a distributed application architecture that partitions tasks or workloads among peers. Peers are equally privileged, equipotent participants in the application...

 technology to enable the distribution of large video files (i.e. TV programmes) to scale effectively. Once downloaded, the content was only playable within the iPlayer itself or Windows Media Player
Windows Media Player
Windows Media Player is a media player and media library application developed by Microsoft that is used for playing audio, video and viewing images on personal computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system, as well as on Pocket PC and Windows Mobile-based devices...

 10 or 11, and subject to digital rights management
Digital rights management
Digital rights management is a class of access control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals with the intent to limit the use of digital content and devices after sale. DRM is any technology that inhibits uses of digital content that...

. In December 2008 the BBC moved to an Adobe AIR based client that downloaded content via HTTP rather than P2P. The new system replaced the Windows DRM system with Adobe's own. DRM software prevents it being directly copied to another medium (e.g. another computer or CD-ROM), and allows the BBC to control how long the programmes remain watchable. Programmes are available for download for seven days following broadcast. Once a programme is downloaded a user has only thirty days to start watching it. Once a user starts to watch a programme, it will continue to be available for the next seven days. These limitations do not apply to viewers using the online streaming service, where most programmes become unavailable from the website after 7 days.

There was criticism levelled at the iPlayer's use of KService from Kontiki
Kontiki
Kontiki is a peer-assisted content delivery technology company, founded in November 2000. It was acquired by VeriSign in March 2006. VeriSign, as part of a major divestiture, sold Kontiki to MK Capital in May 2008....

, the peer-to-peer
Peer-to-peer
Peer-to-peer computing or networking is a distributed application architecture that partitions tasks or workloads among peers. Peers are equally privileged, equipotent participants in the application...

 application which continues to use users' bandwidth even after the iPlayer has been shut down, though this can be controlled using options available within the software. Because of this, users may have been charged by their Internet service provider for exceeding their download limit or breaching the so-called "fair use" policy. However, the Kontiki P2P system has not been used since the new client was introduced in December 2008.

The client also offers an electronic programme guide (EPG) with listings for both the previous seven and next seven days' programmes; selecting a programme which has already been broadcast will begin downloading it immediately, while those not yet shown will be downloaded as soon as they have been. It is currently not possible to schedule a series to be automatically downloaded when the next episode becomes available, but the BBC hopes to make this available in a later version.

Online streaming service


The BBC's streaming version of iPlayer, which uses Adobe Flash software, was launched on 13 December 2007. The BBC made use of the Christmas period to trumpet the new service with the tagline 'Making the unmissable... unmissable', and the service came out of beta on the 25 December 2007. Also, seasonal specials were followed routinely throughout the Christmas week with plugs for iPlayer.
The streaming version of iPlayer offers replays of programmes broadcast on all BBC TV channels during the last seven days. Programmes are available from all national BBC television channels, and Welsh
BBC Wales
BBC Cymru Wales is a division of the British Broadcasting Corporation for Wales. Based at Broadcasting House in the Llandaff area of Cardiff, it directly employs over 1200 people, and produces a broad range of television, radio and online services in both the Welsh and English languages.Outside...

 programmes shown on S4C
S4C
S4C , currently branded as S4/C, is a Welsh television channel broadcast from the capital, Cardiff. The first television channel to be aimed specifically at a Welsh-speaking audience, it is the fifth oldest British television channel .The channel - initially broadcast on...

. Due to licensing agreements, all international - and some privately produced - TV shows and movies are not available on iPlayer.

'iPlayer 2.0'


On the 25 June 2008, the BBC announced that they had been developing a new version of the iPlayer based on user feedback - it was then called "BBC iPlayer 2.0". New features included combining the normal television iPlayer with the radio iPlayer, schedules of programmes due to be on the iPlayer, automatic resumption of the last programme watched, an increase in the size of the screen by 25% to 640 pixels wide, RSS feeds of iPlayer data, and a "Yesterday's TV" function. The beta ran alongside the existing site until 3 July 2008, when a new version replaced it. Later versions have implemented an option of streaming videos in high quality in H.264.

BBC iPlayer Desktop Manager


At the end of 2008, a newer platform was launched which facilitated use of the new BBC iPlayer Desktop (replacement for Download Manager) and other "BBC iPlayer Labs" features such as adjustable video windows and user feedback options. In March 2009, the BBC launched a streaming version of the player which needs a 1500 kbps minimum connection.

On 1 April 2010, this Desktop Manager was updated to version 1.5.15695.18135. The update claimed, amongst other things, optimisation of CPU usage in full screen: 20% to 40% improvement; videos that start to download in the UK should be able to complete downloading abroad; and update to use Adobe Integrated Runtime
Adobe Integrated Runtime
Adobe Integrated Runtime, also known as Adobe AIR, is a cross-platform runtime environment developed by Adobe Systems for building Rich Internet Applications using Adobe Flash, Adobe Flex, HTML, and Ajax, that can be run as desktop applications or on mobile devices...

 AIR 1.5.3 which has improved reliability, compatibility and security.

'iPlayer 3.0'


The iPlayer team released the next-generation of the iPlayer, calling it the iPlayer 3.0 release, on 6 September 2010. It brings integration with various social networking sites to the TV on-demand service. Deals with Facebook
Facebook
Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. , Facebook has more than 800 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as...

, Twitter
Twitter
Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, informally known as "tweets".Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched that July...

, and Bebo
Bebo
Bebo is a social networking website launched in July 2005. It is currently owned and operated by Criterion Capital Partners after taking over from AOL in June 2010....

 are already in place, with more likely to follow.

iPlayer users will be asked to integrate their accounts with the BBC Online site. Then every time they sign in and use the iPlayer, they will also be connected to the social networks they use. This will enable the BBC to see what they and their friends are watching or listening to.

The only other feature of the new-look iPlayer discussed was a new embeddable video player, being rolled out across the whole of the BBC’s online presence.

3view


In the second half of 2010, 3view enabled HD iPlayer on its connected Digital Terrestrial TV boxes allowing owners to access iPlayer content in HD via the box.

Virgin Media


On 30 April 2008 the iPlayer service was fed directly to Virgin Media
Virgin Media
Virgin Media Inc. is a company which provides fixed and mobile telephone, television and broadband internet services to businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom...

's 3.4m digital cable TV customers as part of the company's video-on-demand service. Pressing the 'red button' while watching a BBC channel on TV will bring up the iPlayer service without the user having to access the web.

On 29 May 2008 Virgin Media successfully integrated iPlayer with the Virgin Media electronic programme guide. Most BBC shows are now listed alongside other VOD content in Virgin's Catch Up TV section, and through the red button while viewing a BBC channel. There is no charge for watching BBC shows through the iPlayer on Virgin Media.

As of 21 July 2008, iPlayer on Virgin Media had received 10.5 million views since its official launch on 1 June 2008. On 26 September 2008 it was revealed that one third of all iPlayer programme views were accessed through Virgin Media
Virgin Media
Virgin Media Inc. is a company which provides fixed and mobile telephone, television and broadband internet services to businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom...

.

On 1 May 2009, the BBC and Virgin Media announced the launch of HD content via BBC iPlayer on Virgin Media's TV platform, including Robin Hood, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross
Friday Night with Jonathan Ross
Friday Night with Jonathan Ross was a British comedy chat show presented by Jonathan Ross. It was first broadcast on BBC One on 2 November 2001. The programme featured Ross's take on current topics of conversation, guest interviews and live music from both a guest music group and the house band...

and Later... with Jools Holland.

On 2 March 2011, Virgin released an iPlayer application for their TiVo
TiVo
TiVo is a digital video recorder developed and marketed by TiVo, Inc. and introduced in 1999. TiVo provides an on-screen guide of scheduled broadcast programming television programs, whose features include "Season Pass" schedules which record every new episode of a series, and "WishList"...

 digital video recorder
Digital video recorder
A digital video recorder , sometimes referred to by the merchandising term personal video recorder , is a consumer electronics device or application software that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, USB flash drive, SD memory card or other local or networked mass storage device...

. Unlike the previous implementation, the application streams over the internet rather than utilizing Virgin's video-on-demand service, in order to comply with the BBC's proposed syndication policy. Virgin Media was also forced to remove direct access to BBC content on TiVo, meaning that instead of being able to access BBC content through its backwards EPG, Virgin TiVo users must instead go through the Apps and Games area or press the Red Button from a BBC channel. The change also allows an increase in the amount of programmes available, from around 300 to 700 hours on average, bringing Virgin into line with the iPlayer on connected TV devices.

FetchTV


On 23 July 2009 the first subscription-free digital terrestrial device to include iPlayer went on sale in UK retailers. The FetchTV Smartbox connects to any broadband connection and gives access to the BBC iPlayer and is a Freeview+ PVR.

FetchTV created its own version of the iPlayer, believing it was adhering to BBC guidelines, but support was refused by BBC Future Media and Technology. IP Vision made a formal complaint to the BBC in March 2009: the matter then passed to the BBC Executive’s Fair Trading Complaints Panel, which rejected the complaint, and IP Vision then appealed to the BBC Trust. On 22 December 2009 the BBC Trust rejected FetchTV's request to release the product. The Trust’s Finance and Compliance Committee (FCC) found that the BBC had given reasonable arguments as to why IP Vision should not be allowed to go ahead with its self-build product.

The Trust FCC also rescinded new guidelines introduced by the BBC in October 2009 formalising a ban on third parties building their own commercial iPlayer products . The Trust concluded that the clarification amounted to a significant change to the syndication guidelines which should have been referred to the Trust for approval before publication.

BT Vision


On 27 May 2008, BT began to charge BT Vision
BT Vision
BT Vision is a hybrid IPTV-digital terrestrial television service provided by BT Group in the United Kingdom which was launched in December 2006...

 customers £3 per month for watching BBC Replay, a cut down version of iPlayer offering a more limited 30 hours of BBC programming per week. A spokesman for BT said that its customers had previously been able to view only BBC on-demand content because of "technical issues". A BBC spokesman said: "In line with other TV platforms where BBC programmes are made available on demand, the BBC requires that all public service content should be accessible via the lowest cost subscription tier. In this case, it is BT Replay."

From 1 April 2009, the Replay package was included in all of BT Vision's Value Packs but remained available as a separate, £2.93 per month, package to non-subscribers.

On 11 November 2010, the BBC and BT announced plans to bring the full BBC iPlayer package to BT Vision, replacing the BBC content on BT Vision's 50-hour "TV Replay" package. BT introduced BBC iPlayer in a phased release, starting in early December 2010, with all BT Vision customers able to access the service on channel 990 by 22 June 2011.

Freesat



On 2 November 2009, it was announced that a beta release of BBC iPlayer for Freesat
Freesat
Freesat is a free-to-air digital satellite television joint venture between the BBC and ITV plc, serving the United Kingdom. The service was formed as a memorandum in 2007 and has been marketed since 6 May 2008...

 would be released on 7 December 2009 to a limited number of Freesat viewers. On 21 December 2009, iPlayer was made available on a soft launch to Freesat viewers with Humax
Humax
Humax is an electronics company. Founded in South Korea in 1989, it manufactures set-top boxes, digital video recorders and other consumer electronics. It is publicly traded on KOSDAQ....

 Foxsat HD receivers only, with an official release on 11 January 2010. It is the final beta version of iPlayer, available via the red button on interactive page 7001. On 20 January 2010, Sony
Sony
, commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan and the world's fifth largest media conglomerate measured by revenues....

 released software update 1.630SA to enable BBC iPlayer on all of their Freesat integrated televisions. On 25 March 2010, iPlayer was added to TechniSat
TechniSat
TechniSat is a German manufacturer and market leader of direct broadcast satellite receivers as well. They also produce televisions, car navigation and entertainment systems...

 receivers, with an update for Harvard International receivers released on 31 March. However, the Harvard upgrade will not be available on early model standard definition Freesat receivers sold under the Bush, Goodmans and Grundig
Grundig
Grundig AG is a German manufacturer of consumer electronics for home entertainment which transferred to Turkish control in 2004-2007. Established in 1945 in Nuremberg by Max Grundig, the company changed hands several times before becoming part of the Turkish Koç Holding group...

 brands. Harvard International is therefore offering a replacement high definition receiver to anyone affected. Panasonic had aimed to add iPlayer to all of its devices by October 2010, but support was only extended to the 2008 range in September 2011. LG have been unable to update their Freesat integrated LF7700 television and were offering a free Freesat set-top box, however this promotional goodwill gesture ended after a 6-month period. On 16 December 2010, BBC iPlayer was assigned to Freesat channel 901, in addition to access via the BBC Red Button.

Freeview


On 4 May 2009, the managing director of Freeview, Ilse Howling, announced expectations that iPlayer-enabled Freeview boxes would be available in 2009. From 1 April 2011, all new Freeview HD receiver products must include MHEG Interaction Channel (MHEG-IC) as part of D-Book 6.2.1
D-book
The D-Book is the UK technical specification for Digital terrestrial television .The Digital TV Group has published and maintained the D-Book for over a decade and the specification is updated annually to keep up with the pace of development in UK DTT...

. The move allowed the standard MHEG-5
MHEG-5
MHEG-5, or ISO/IEC 13522-5, is part of a set of international standards relating to the presentation of multimedia information, standardised by the Multimedia and Hypermedia Experts Group...

 reliant iPlayer application to be offered from 7 April via the red button
Red Button (Digital Television)
Red Button is a button on the remote control for certain digital television set top boxes in the UK, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and By Directv in the USA. It is for interactive television services such as BBC Red Button and Astro...

 on all BBC channels to Freeview HD certified devices.

Televisions


In December 2009, Cello Electronics released the Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer
Marks and Spencer plc is a British retailer headquartered in the City of Westminster, London, with over 700 stores in the United Kingdom and over 300 stores spread across more than 40 countries. It specialises in the selling of clothing and luxury food products...

 branded iViewer TV. The television is internet enabled, allowing for the viewing of online content including the BBC iPlayer, which has its own physical button on the remote, although BBC iPlayer HD wasn't available until 2010.

On 11 January 2010, the BBC announced that BBC iPlayer would be built directly into TVs that would be widely available in the UK within months. Samsung Electronics
Samsung Electronics
Samsung Electronics is a South Korean multinational electronics and information technology company headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul...

 became the first major manufacturer to officially announce that its televisions would be updated to include full access to the iPlayer through their Internet@TV service.

Sony added BBC iPlayer to its BRAVIA
BRAVIA
BRAVIA is a Sony brand used to market its high-definition LCD televisions, projection TVs and front projectors and for the PlayStation 3 , along with its home cinema range under the sub-brand BRAVIA Theatre. The BRAVIA name is an acronym of "Best Resolution Audio Visual Integrated Architecture"...

 Internet Video service, included in its 2010 range of televisions and Blu-ray players. On 9 September 2010, iPlayer was added to Sony's BRAVIA televisions, having previously only been available on Blu-ray players. Televisions needed a firmware update which could be upgraded over the internet or downloaded onto a USB flash drive
USB flash drive
A flash drive is a data storage device that consists of flash memory with an integrated Universal Serial Bus interface. flash drives are typically removable and rewritable, and physically much smaller than a floppy disk. Most weigh less than 30 g...

 for loading directly to the TV. At the time of launch BBC HD
BBC HD
BBC HD is a high-definition television network provided by the BBC. The service was initially run as a trial from 15 May 2006 until becoming a full service on 1 December 2007...

 content is not available, though high and standard video quality are available on all programmes.

Digital media receivers


BBC iPlayer downloaded TV programmes can be streamed to televisions via the NetGear EVA8000 and Linksys DMA2200 digital media receiver
Digital media receiver
A digital media receiver , also commonly referred to as a media extender, media streamer, digital media hub, or digital media adapter , is a home entertainment device that can connect to a home network to retrieve digital media files from a personal computer or other networked media server and...

s, through PCs running Windows XP
Windows XP
Windows XP is an operating system produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops and media centers. First released to computer manufacturers on August 24, 2001, it is the second most popular version of Windows, based on installed user base...

 or Vista
Windows Vista
Windows Vista is an operating system released in several variations developed by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs, and media center PCs...

, with Windows Media Center
Windows Media Center
Windows Media Center is a digital video recorder and media player developed by Microsoft. It is an application that allows users to view and record live television, as well as organize and play music and videos...

 installed.

Wii



On 9 April 2008, the BBC iPlayer was made available to stream video content on the Wii
Wii
The Wii is a home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006. As a seventh-generation console, the Wii primarily competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. Nintendo states that its console targets a broader demographic than that of the two others...

 video game console via the Internet Channel. This was enabled by a recoding of the iPlayer to use Flash 7 rather than Flash 9. However, the Autumn 2009 update to the Wii's Internet Channel resulted in the iPlayer no longer working on updated consoles. A BBC iPlayer in the form of a dedicated Wii channel was launched on 18 November 2009. The BBC iPlayer Channel is free to download from the Wii Shop Channel
Wii Shop Channel
The Wii Shop Channel is an online shop for the Wii video game console that allows users to download Virtual Console and WiiWare games, and new channels. Downloading may require redeeming Wii Points. The channel launched with Wii on November 19, 2006...

; the service is available to UK residents only.

PlayStation 3


Soon after the Wii release, several unofficial PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
The is the third home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment and the successor to the PlayStation 2 as part of the PlayStation series. The PlayStation 3 competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

 iPlayer proxy sites arose that used JavaScript to replace the UA string, However on 2 December 2008, an official iPlayer application widget was provided by the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 for the PS3. Shortly after release, the PS3 accounted for 6% of all iPlayer traffic, making it the third most popular platform used to access the service behind personal computers (85%) and mobile phones and iPods (7%). By January 2010, PS3 usage had risen to 8%, and by November 2010, over 6 million people accessed the iPlayer through the PlayStation 3.

In September 2009, the PS3 iPlayer was also upgraded by the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 to provide H.264 playback and full screen content. Future plans for the PS3 iPlayer include features from iPlayer V3 scheduled for late 2010 on 8 August 2011, the application was updated and now includes access to BBC HD however most content remains unavailable to PS3 users due to DRM restrictions.

Xbox 360


The BBC and Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

 had been unable to reach a deal to add the iPlayer to the Xbox 360
Xbox 360
The Xbox 360 is the second video game console produced by Microsoft and the successor to the Xbox. The Xbox 360 competes with Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

 for a number of years, because Microsoft’s strategy of charging for all content on its Xbox Live
Xbox Live
Xbox Live is an online multiplayer gaming and digital media delivery service created and operated by Microsoft Corporation. It is currently the only online gaming service on consoles that charges users a fee to play multiplayer gaming. It was first made available to the Xbox system in 2002...

 platform is incompatible with the BBC’s public service remit. Microsoft wanted to ensure that only those paying for Xbox Live Gold accounts could access its added content services. The BBC is not legally allowed to charge the UK public for access to the iPlayer, as the access charges for it are included in the BBC licence fee already.

In October 2011, it was announced that the BBC content will be made available to all Xbox Live members.

Android devices


On 23 June 2010, after many months of complaints from Android users, BBC iPlayer officially announced support for the Android platform. Users can navigate to the usual BBC iPlayer website, and a mobile website is displayed. As a result of the BBC's decision to use Adobe Flash Player to handle video playback for Android devices on this website, users must be using Android 2.2 or later (the earliest Android version supported by Flash Player).

There was also an unofficial but functional application for the Google Android platform called myPlayer but all BBC content was removed in November 2010 as the service was alleged to be in breach of the BBC terms of use. Another such application — beebPlayer — was removed from the market in May 2010 at the BBC's request.

On 8 February 2011 the BBC announced that Android, alongside the iPad
IPad
The iPad is a line of tablet computers designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc., primarily as a platform for audio-visual media including books, periodicals, movies, music, games, and web content. The iPad was introduced on January 27, 2010 by Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs. Its size and...

, would be amongst the first two platforms to receive a native iPlayer application. The application was made available via the Android Market
Android Market
Android Market is an online software store developed by Google for Android OS devices. Its gateway is an application program called "Market", preinstalled on most Android devices, allows users to browse and download mobile apps published by third-party developers...

 to UK users, but as with the earlier mobile website, the application uses Adobe's Flash Player for video playback and as a result is only available for devices running Android versions between 2.2 and 3.2.

iOS devices


On 7 March 2008, a beta version for Apple's iOS devices (iPhone
IPhone
The iPhone is a line of Internet and multimedia-enabled smartphones marketed by Apple Inc. The first iPhone was unveiled by Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple, on January 9, 2007, and released on June 29, 2007...

, iPod Touch
IPod Touch
The iPod Touch is a portable media player, personal digital assistant, handheld game console, and Wi-Fi mobile device designed and marketed by Apple Inc. The iPod Touch adds the multi-touch graphical user interface to the iPod line...

 and later iPad
IPad
The iPad is a line of tablet computers designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc., primarily as a platform for audio-visual media including books, periodicals, movies, music, games, and web content. The iPad was introduced on January 27, 2010 by Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs. Its size and...

) was released, allowing streaming over a Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi or Wifi, is a mechanism for wirelessly connecting electronic devices. A device enabled with Wi-Fi, such as a personal computer, video game console, smartphone, or digital audio player, can connect to the Internet via a wireless network access point. An access point has a range of about 20...

 connection. The EDGE
Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution
Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution is a digital mobile phone technology that allows improved data transmission rates as a backward-compatible extension of GSM...

/3G
3G
3G or 3rd generation mobile telecommunications is a generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunication services fulfilling the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 specifications by the International Telecommunication Union...

 connectivity on the iPhone, however, is not supported, as it is too slow for streaming video.

Non-iPhone users were found to be watching and downloading streams intended for iPhone users allowing them to play them on alternative devices. The BBC modified the iPlayer service on 13 March 2008 to prevent this.

Through the month of June 2008 further methods were discovered by iPlayer users to watch and download streams intended for iPhones. A Ruby
Ruby (programming language)
Ruby is a dynamic, reflective, general-purpose object-oriented programming language that combines syntax inspired by Perl with Smalltalk-like features. Ruby originated in Japan during the mid-1990s and was first developed and designed by Yukihiro "Matz" Matsumoto...


hole was followed by the BBC introducing XOR encryption on parts of the downloaded files if a genuine iPhone was not detected. The BBC introduced specially crafted web bugs, referrer checks and download chunk limits, such that only devices exhibiting this behaviour, i.e. a genuine iPhone handset, would be able to stream the video content. A cycle of updates and reverse engineering has followed such that all the various streams, both for the iPhone and flash
Adobe Flash
Adobe Flash is a multimedia platform used to add animation, video, and interactivity to web pages. Flash is frequently used for advertisements, games and flash animations for broadcast...

 streaming service, are now able to be downloaded without the need for decryption or DRM circumvention. This has been made possible by various software which can effectively simulate a RTMP
Real Time Messaging Protocol
Real Time Messaging Protocol was initially a proprietary protocol developed by Macromedia for streaming audio, video and data over the Internet, between a Flash player and a server...

 flash client or an iPhone. As of early December 2010 the iPhone mp3 access has been changed to use https. The server checks the client's certificate and only accepts connections for those issued to Apple. This change to the protocol not only prevents access to non Apple devices but also disables use by a number of early generation iPod Touch devices.

On 28 July 2011, BBC Worldwide
BBC Worldwide
BBC Worldwide Limited is the wholly owned commercial subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation, formed out of a restructuring of its predecessor BBC Enterprises in 1995. In the year to 31 March 2010 it made a profit of £145m on a turnover of £1.074bn. The company had made a profit of £106m...

 released an international version of the iPlayer for the iPad.

Nokia N96 phone


On 18 September 2008, the BBC announced that a version will become available to the Nokia N96
Nokia N96
Nokia N96 is a Nokia smartphone in the Nseries range of products. It is the official successor to Nokia N95.The handset was publicly announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, February 2008, and started shipping in September 2008. Europe, Middle East and Asia-Pacific are the first locations...

 mobile phone as a download service to allow viewers to watch programmes even when they are out of reach of Wi-Fi or 3G networks. The launch date was set of 1 October 2008.

Shortly after on 9 September 2008, even before the BBC Nokia N96 download service had gone live, a method was published to independently download and play the iPlayer N96 3GP
3GP
3GP is a multimedia container format defined by the Third Generation Partnership Project for 3G UMTS multimedia services. It is used on 3G mobile phones but can also be played on some 2G and 4G phones....

 stream on other mobiles, Linux and Mac OS.

BlackBerry devices


On 5 November 2010, an official BBC iPlayer app that allows users to stream live television and radio, and catch-up on previously aired content became available for download on BlackBerry OS
BlackBerry OS
BlackBerry OS is a proprietary mobile operating system, developed by Research In Motion for its BlackBerry line of smartphone handheld devices...

 5.0 (and higher) devices. A Wi-Fi connection is needed for an "optimal viewing experience" but 3
Hutchison 3G
3 is a brand name under which several UMTS-based mobile phone networks and Broadband Internet Providers are operated in Australia, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom...

 and Vodafone are allowing it run on their 3G networks.

Additional mobile devices


In early December 2008, iPlayer was updated to include streaming radio and television, and extended to a variety of handsets including the Samsung Omnia
Samsung Omnia
The Samsung SGH-i900, also known as Omnia I or WiTu , is a mobile phone released by Samsung Mobile. Announced in June 2008, the Omnia was launched in Singapore in mid-June, available in stores on the 20th of June, and in the rest of Asia in July. For some parts of Europe, it was launched in August...

, Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1
Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1
The Xperia X1 is a high-end smartphone from Sony Ericsson, and is the first in the manufacturer's Xperia series. The X1 was first presented at the 2008 Mobile World Congress.- Basics :...

, Sony Ericsson C905
Sony Ericsson C905
The Sony Ericsson C905 is a high-end mobile phone in Sony's 'C' range, which, with the low-end 'S' range, supplants the earlier 'K' range of camera phones. It is the flagship model in Sony Ericsson's range for 2008 and it was released on 22 October 2008...

, Sony Ericsson W995
Sony Ericsson W995
The Sony Ericsson W995 is a candybar slider model music phone designed by Sony Ericsson as the new Walkman flagship phone, previously known as Hikaru. The W995 was released on 4 June 2009 and uses the 4th version of the 'Walkman Player'. It is also the first Walkman phone to feature a 3.5mm headset...

, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and the Nokia N8
Nokia N8
The Nokia N8 is a Symbian^3 smartphone of the Nokia Nseries and Nokia's flagship device of 2010. It was released on 23 September 2010 at the Nokia Online Store before being released in markets around the world on 1 October 2010. The N8 features a 12 megapixel camera, a pentaband 3.5G radio and...

.

Reception and adoption


Before the launch in December 2007, the BBC had hoped the service would reach half a million users in its first six months.
This turned out to be a gross underestimate, as 3.5 million programmes were streamed or downloaded in the first three weeks alone. The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

described these figures as "remarkably promising".

In its first year, 2008, growth continued at an impressive rate. By April, the iPlayer accounted for around five percent of all UK traffic, and had approximately five million page views per day by June. In December, it was announced that more than 180 million programmes have been watched on iPlayer since its release. During the BAFTAs in May, the iPlayer won the "Interactive Innovation Service/Platform" Award, beating Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

's 'Big Art Mob' and the Bebo
Bebo
Bebo is a social networking website launched in July 2005. It is currently owned and operated by Criterion Capital Partners after taking over from AOL in June 2010....

 'Open Media Platform'. The streaming of programmes forms the lion's share of the success, outnumbering downloads eight to one in January 2008, and 97:3 in October 2009.

In the month of October 2009, it was revealed that the site experienced 70 million requests and transferred seven petabyte
Petabyte
A petabyte is a unit of information equal to one quadrillion bytes, or 1000 terabytes. The unit symbol for the petabyte is PB...

s of data. Television formed about two thirds of all requests, with radio making up the rest. Most TV was streamed from pre-recorded footage, whereas live streaming was preferred of radio. Eighty-five percent of requests were from computers, with much of the rest coming from iPods, iPhones and PS3s (from a total of 15 platforms). The most popular TV programme of 2009 was Top Gear, and the most popular radio was that reporting The Ashes
The Ashes
The Ashes is a Test cricket series played between England and Australia. It is one of the most celebrated rivalries in international cricket and dates back to 1882. It is currently played biennially, alternately in the United Kingdom and Australia. Cricket being a summer sport, and the venues...

.

The success of iPlayer may be down to a "long tail
The Long Tail
The Long Tail or long tail refers to the statistical property that a larger share of population rests within the tail of a probability distribution than observed under a 'normal' or Gaussian distribution...

" effect, with users seeking out niche
Niche market
A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focusing; therefore the market niche defines the specific product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production quality and the demographics that is intended to impact...

 programmes; programmes broadcast on digital channels are doing remarkably well. However, this is expected to change with the introduction of booking programmes to download in advance, and automatic downloading of the next episode.

The demands of the iPlayer have met with some concern and criticism from UK ISPs due to the added bandwidth the service will need. Several ISPs, notably Tiscali, have called on the BBC to partially fund network upgrades to cope with iPlayer traffic. The BBC responded by saying that the iPlayer was driving demand for broadband subscriptions.

By May 2010, the site was getting 123 million monthly play requests.

DRM criticism


During the 2005 and 2006 iPlayer trials, the DRM system used was based on Microsoft's Windows Media DRM
Windows Media DRM
Windows Media DRM is a Digital Rights Management service for the Windows Media platform. It is designed to provide delivery of audio and/or video content over an IP network to a PC or other playback device in such a way that the distributor can control how that content is used.WMDRM includes the...

, which led to concerns about cross-platform
Cross-platform
In computing, cross-platform, or multi-platform, is an attribute conferred to computer software or computing methods and concepts that are implemented and inter-operate on multiple computer platforms...

 availability, as this technology is available only for Windows XP
Windows XP
Windows XP is an operating system produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops and media centers. First released to computer manufacturers on August 24, 2001, it is the second most popular version of Windows, based on installed user base...

. However, some users have managed to get it working using compatibility options in Vista. The BBC emphasises that it "has a commitment to platform neutrality and a remit to make its content as widely available as possible", and that while the initial trial used a Microsoft-based technology, they are constantly looking for new technologies which would enable them to relax the restriction: Ashley Highfield
Ashley Highfield
Ashley Highfield is currently CEO of Johnston Press, having worked in high levels in companies including Microsoft, and the BBC.Formerly, he was UK Managing Director of Microsoft , responsible for Windows Mobile, MSN, Hotmail, Windows Live/Instant Messenger, and the newly announced Google rival, Bing...

, then BBC's director of Future Media and Technology, explained that "we have always started with the platform that reaches the most number of people and then rolled it out from there". They also point out that not all of the content delivered through the iPlayer will be subject to DRM - live streaming content, for instance, may not need the same level of control, presumably implying that players for Mac OS X
Mac OS X
Mac OS X is a series of Unix-based operating systems and graphical user interfaces developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Inc. Since 2002, has been included with all new Macintosh computer systems...

 and Linux
Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

 systems could be developed with a restricted range of content. However, a project was started to enable the iPlayer to work with other platforms via the Wine
Wine (software)
Wine is a free software application that aims to allow computer programs written for Microsoft Windows to run on Unix-like operating systems. Wine also provides a software library, known as Winelib, against which developers can compile Windows applications to help port them to Unix-like...

 project. Streaming via the BBC iPlayer website is now available in all browsers supporting Adobe Flash. Also, iPlayer Desktop, which allows downloading programmes for later offline viewing, is available for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux.

On 14 August 2007, the Free Software Foundation
Free Software Foundation
The Free Software Foundation is a non-profit corporation founded by Richard Stallman on 4 October 1985 to support the free software movement, a copyleft-based movement which aims to promote the universal freedom to create, distribute and modify computer software...

 staged a demonstration outside BBC Television Centre
BBC Television Centre
BBC Television Centre at White City in West London is the headquarters of BBC Television. Officially opened on 29 June 1960, it remains one of the largest to this day; having featured over the years as backdrop to many BBC programmes, it is one of the most readily recognisable such facilities...

. The FSF's Peter T. Brown
Peter T. Brown
Peter T. Brown was the Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation from 2001 until early 2011. He began working for the organization as a controller, and was promoted to Executive Director in 2005 after the departure of Bradley Kuhn. He was replaced by William John Sullivan. He has since...

 criticised the BBC for what he claimed was a break from previous tradition: the insistence that, for the first time, BBC viewers would be forced to use proprietary technology to watch BBC programmes.

On 18 February 2010, the BBC updated iPlayer with an SWF verification layer which attempts to close the door on open source implementations of Real Time Messaging Protocol
Real Time Messaging Protocol
Real Time Messaging Protocol was initially a proprietary protocol developed by Macromedia for streaming audio, video and data over the Internet, between a Flash player and a server...

 streaming. The attempt was unsuccessful, with most existing open source applications remaining capable of playing or downloading rtmp content from the iPlayer.

Overseas availability


BBC TV productions are paid for by the UK television licence fee
Television licensing in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies, any household watching or recording live television transmissions is required to purchase a television licence every year. As of 2010, this costs £145.50 for colour and £49.00 for black and white. The licence is required to receive any live...

 and rights agreements with third parties. Thus, all BBC iPlayer TV programmes are accessible from IP addresses allocated to the UK only, . It has been reported that many people outside the UK circumvent that rule by buying a virtual private network
Virtual private network
A virtual private network is a network that uses primarily public telecommunication infrastructure, such as the Internet, to provide remote offices or traveling users access to a central organizational network....

 account with an IP address located in the UK.

However, most radio programmes can be accessed globally, with the exception of a few programmes, mainly sports broadcasts, that are affected by rights issues. One quirk is that mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPod Touch cannot access radio overseas via BBC iPlayer whereas computers can.

An international version of the iPlayer was launched on 28 July 2011 in eleven western European countries, after receiving the approval of the BBC Trust in November 2010. The international iPlayer takes the form of an iPad
IPad
The iPad is a line of tablet computers designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc., primarily as a platform for audio-visual media including books, periodicals, movies, music, games, and web content. The iPad was introduced on January 27, 2010 by Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs. Its size and...

 application which offers a limited amount of content for free, supported by pre-roll ads and sponsorship, but its core business model is subscription. The global iPlayer app includes some features that are not in the UK version, including the ability to stream shows over 3G as well as Wi-Fi, and a downloading feature to store programmes on the iPad for offline viewing. At launch 1,500 hours of content was made available, of which 60% had been produced and commissioned by the BBC, while 30% had been commissioned by the BBC but produced by independents. The other 10% was entirely non-BBC content, including ITV's Primeval
Primeval
Primeval or primæval may refer to:* Primeval, a British science fiction television series.* Primeval , a 2007 film* Primeval , a score of music from the BBC TV series Doctor Who...

, and Channel 4's The Naked Chef and Misfits
Misfits (TV series)
Misfits is a British science fiction comedy-drama television series about a group of young offenders forced to work in a community service programme, where they obtain supernatural powers after a strange electrical storm. The first series started broadcasting on 12 November 2009 on E4, and was...

. Launches in Australia, Canada and the US will follow later 2011, as part of what is intended to be a one-year pilot.

TV licence


A television licence
Television licensing in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies, any household watching or recording live television transmissions is required to purchase a television licence every year. As of 2010, this costs £145.50 for colour and £49.00 for black and white. The licence is required to receive any live...

 is not needed to view programmes on the iPlayer after they have been broadcast. The exception lies with the 'Watch Live' simulcast
Simulcast
Simulcast, shorthand for "simultaneous broadcast", refers to programs or events broadcast across more than one medium, or more than one service on the same medium, at the same time. For example, Absolute Radio is simulcast on both AM and on satellite radio, and the BBC's Prom concerts are often...

 option, which is accessible through and played on the iPlayer site, where eight of the BBC's channels are broadcast at virtually the same time as on television and hence a valid TV licence is needed.

Humour


In 2009, the BBC's April Fools'
April Fools' Day
April Fools' Day is celebrated in different countries around the world on April 1 every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools' Day, April 1 is not a national holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day when many people play all kinds of jokes and foolishness...

 joke was a press release announcing the availability of the iPlayer on a specialised toaster, supposedly for users to watch breakfast television.

The volume control of the iPlayer goes up to 11, potentially a nod to the 1984 American rock mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap
This Is Spinal Tap
This Is Spinal Tap is an American 1984 rock musical mockumentary directed by Rob Reiner about the fictional heavy metal band Spinal Tap...

.

External links