Technology used in BBC Iplayer

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As a user... and leaving aside the critical lack of a streaming capability for just a second, on a good quality LLU line, the service delivery is fast. The file(s) will download at close to line rate. If you can get 10Mbps, you will be able to download at just a small amount under that speed.

The Beta Test Blog shows a line trace sustained at around two thirds of the maximum speed on their 10M Be connection. Say 6-7Mbps of download speed in their results, which mean that even the largest show, DanceX, a 75 minute 756MB extravaganza (suggesting encoding at 1.3Mbps), would only take 15 minutes to download. Top Gear, which is a more moderate 60 minute show at 387MB (860kbps encoding) would be ready to go in just under 8 minutes.

Its current download and store model is suited to mobile TV because it removes the unreliable and costly cellular data network. Mobile phones now specialize as the jack of all trades and they have replaced the PC in that role because they are more portable than a laptop. The mobile is best suited to the iPlayer's brand of personal; download for later viewing application where people who are short of time can snatch a few minutes here and there whilst commuting.


Sharing the software behind BBC iPlayer with third parties may also bring additional revenues for the BBC. The mechanics have yet to be worked out, said Huggers, but could potentially involve a licensing arragement.

BBC IPlayer is not something like a DVD that can be installed and run. Its an end-to-end system that brings a lot of different systems together. The concept of opening up our investment and technology infrastructure, knowledge of metadata, back end systems, user experience, and design is front and centre for us in helping other broadcasters achieve their goal in continuing to have a direct relationship with users rather than being disintermediated by third party aggregators.

The most recent edition of BBC iPlayer features the BBC ID sign-in technology which allows users to personalize the interface, automate programme downloads and share content via Facebook and Twitter.

The BBC iPlayer application for BlackBerrys became available to download from Blackberry App World for free, and allows users to watch and listen to BBC radio and television shows live or from the previous seven days.


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