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back to article Open sourcers rattle EU sabre at BBC on demand player

The BBC is being threatened with an anti-trust challenge in Europe over its use of the Windows Media format in its on demand service, iPlayer, which is in the final stages of testing. Advocacy group the Open Source Consortium (OSC) will raise a formal complaint with UK broadcast and telecoms watchdog Ofcom next week, and has …

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Anonymous Coward

comparison with MS anti-trust?

This is hardly the same as the situation with Microsoft. It's not like the BBC are gaining an unfair competitive advantage just by using Windows Media format. Plus the only things on their player are BBC shows so again there's no competition involved.

It's no different to Apple choosing to lock people into iTunes and iPods. No one complains about that because of course Apple are gods (apparently).

But anyway, isn't this a non-story as I thought the BBC had promised to do a Mac version? Or is the real issue that these guys don't actually want to be able to play on a Mac, but to be able to rip and distribute for free shows that are available commercially on DVD ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

DVD sales

"On balance, we consider that access to iPlayer would be only one of many factors influencing the decision to purchase a new computer operating system, and is therefore this is likely to be a relatively minor concern."

why would would iPlayer drive PC choice? Surely iPlayer should cater to all systems that access the BBC, perhaps there is some MS - BBC content deal going on?

iPlayer would be better off being and using open standards.

"In order to maximise public value, the BBC must balance extending access to content with the need to maintain the interests of rights holders and the value of secondary rights in BBC programming. ..."

I guess that is "code" for BBC DVD sales?

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Rob
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Flippin open source and anti competitive rubbish again

Firstly, does anyone in Europe pay the licensing fee to the BBC? If so they wouldn't be complaining, as developing the iPlayer for say multiple formats will be costly, costly as in our money (the license payers) which in turn will have an impact on another service offered by the BBC.

Secondly if they turn to realplayer for their iPlayer I will begin to agree with majority about not joining Europe. I like Windows Media Player, I'm not so keen on Real Player as it is, in my opinion, a mess with lots of advertising and annoying system components that do just that, annoy me. If given a choice between Real and Windows Media I will choose Windows Media Player as it works better than Real. I was over the moon when the Beeb finally made their radio streams available through Windows Media Player.

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Should be a no-brainer

As all the open formats are playable on Windows, yet few if any of the Windows DRM'ed formats are playable on other operating systems surely the correct thing to do is go for an open format.

If the deciding factor is not availability, usability etc but DRM, then the BBC is foolishly running down a blind alley.

Is there any evidence that tape or PVRs are resulting in a significant problem for the BBC? Are people who criminally keep their old VHS tapes of programs that are not available by any other means taking any money at all out of the copyright owners pockets?

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WMP vs RP.

Here we go again.

To be quite honest I would use WMP absolutely EVERY time when given the choice between it and the memory hogging, resource eating, so-slow-its-practically-unusable Real Player.

Oh noesss some open-platform fundamentalists want us to have a choice. I couldn’t care less about a choice in this regard, WMP works well, RP doesn’t.

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Anonymous Coward

Slightly related : RealPlayer

What really hacks me off is that theres some BBC content that's realplayer-only. Having had several installs of RealPlayer (because unless I'm mistaken, it's the only thing that'll play .rm files) where it's come with loads of stuff I didn't want (and people grumble about M$ bloat), which have been forced on me ...

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BBC response

Hi, I wrote to the Beeb in March about this - here's the reply:

Thank you for your e-mail.

Please accept our apologies for the delay in replying. We know our correspondents appreciate a quick response and we are sorry you have had to wait on this occasion.

I understand that you have concerns regarding the BBC's new On-Demand service as it will only be available to Microsoft users.

The BBC Trust recently published provisional conclusions regarding the BBC's proposals for these services. Please see the following pdf:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/review_report_research/pvt_iplayer/iplayer_pvt_provisional_conclusions.pdf

Regarding the proposal to provide seven day TV catch-up over the internet, the Trust suggested the BBC Executive adopts a 'platform agnostic' approach to rights management within a reasonable timeframe. To this end they recommend an alternative Digital Rights Management (DRM) framework to a Microsoft Windows solution be offered (one that will allow Apple and Linux users to access the Seven day TV catch-up over the internet proposal) and advise that this should be made available within 24 months of launch.

Provisional conclusions by the Trust are subject to public consultation through the 'Public Value Test' framework (a mechanism for weighing public value against market impact).

We work hard to provide internet services on a 'platform agnostic' basis and We are committed to using open standards where possible. It has always been planned to evolve the technical systems continuously from launch, and with this in mind we aim to broaden the availability of the service as quickly as is reasonably possible.

In offering these services, we have to balance objectives against:

(i) Demands of our rights holders

(ii) Viability of alternative technical solutions

(iii) Value for money to the licence-fee payer

The proposed technical approach described in the application represents the initial solution for delivering the proposals as widely as possible.

At launch we expect to deliver the seven day catch-up over the internet proposal using a combination of streaming and Microsoft DRM protected download. Where programming is streamed it will be available to users of Apple and Linux systems, though the amount of programming delivered via streaming will be limited.

Nevertheless, please be assured that your comments have been fully registered on a daily audience log which is made available throughout the BBC including senior management. Feedback of this nature helps us when making decisions about future BBC services and your comment will play a part in this process.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact the BBC.

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Silver badge

Beginning of the end of the BBC?

The BBC once stood for decent values; truth and fairness in reporting and access for all.

There would have been an outcry if, say, the BBC had ever transmitted programmes that could only be viewed using one particular make of receiver. There probably would have been an even greater outcry if the parts necessary for a sufficiently skilled hobbyist to build their own receiver at home were denied, at the BBC's request, to members of the general public.

Yet this is exactly what is happening now, unless the BBC make the Source Code for their iPlayer generally available.

It seems, with the worsening quality of science reporting, kowtowing to the government's agenda and now this, that the BBC may be going downhill. I sincerely hope not.

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White Kangaroo?

The BBC's iPlayer trial seems to be a bit of a disaster at present, so the fact that the files it delivers (or not) have a proprietary DRM mechanism is likely to be the least of its problems.

What the BBC Trust (and Ofcom) seems to have forgotten is that anyone can put a DVB tuner card in their PC and get an unencumbered recording in broadcast quality of any TV programme they like. In the face of this, iPlayer only has a purpose if it either delivers stuff that hasn't been broadcast or is *better* than broadcast resolution (HDTV?).

Given that most of us have bandwidth caps on our Internet connections, we're not going to waste it on stuff we can get off-air . And at a time Freeview Playback is being launched, it really isn't clear why the BBC is trying to undermine it with a crippled, low-resolution Internet version.

It all smacks off politics in the broadcasting industry and the BBC Trust being even more afraid than the old governors were of standing up for those of us who pay to make the programmes in the first place.

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Anonymous Coward

Ummmm didn't we pay for it anyway?

Didn't license payers already fund the program creation anyway, so why should there be a timebomb at all. (Remember the West EU mainland watch BBC for free where they can receive it so the international argument is pointless)

I know the creators probably get further payment for broadcasts of repeats, heaven knows the BBC punts out enough dupe broadcasts but that's not in the viewers' interests, just the creator's, surely. Viewers that care enough about a program probably buy the DVD anyway so repeats mean nothing to them.

Sounds like yet another case of we'll lend you what you already paid for while being locked into viewing platform for which I'd hate to suggest the beeb had received some concession elsewhere from the platform's manufacturer. So I won't. "oops"

I thought the BBC had some mandate to provide equal access or something, anyway?

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Anonymous Coward

It's no different to Apple ... ?

> It's no different to Apple choosing to lock people into iTunes and iPods.

> No one complains about that because of course Apple are gods (apparently).

The difference is very simple.

With the BBC we have to pay a TV tax. The implication of this is that all payers of that tax should receive the same benefits.

With Apple/iTunes/iPod you know about the DRM issues before you buy an iPod or use iTunes (well actually with iPods you could use Linux).

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Anonymous Coward

As someone on the iPlayer beta...

I'm currently meant to be beta testing the iPlayer, and I can't say its been a massive success. First I had to spend about 3 hours fixing Windows Media Player - deleting hidden, system files and changing the registry and visiting sites that mysteriously don't work half the time and certainly won't work in Firefox (or even tell you that's why). Then you have to visit the BBC iPlayer website to choose what you want to watch - the choosing doesn't seem to be built into the iPlayer client. Once you've chosen, the iPlayer website seems is meant to launch the iPlayer client (but generally doesn't for some reason).

The iPlayer client is essentially an Internet Explorer control inside this program called 'Kontiki' (considered by quite a lot of people to be Malware, do a google search). In fact, its even installed on your computer at C:\Program Files\Kontiki rather than iPlayer (which makes it hard to find).

The client is pretty bad in my tests - unresponsive sometimes, completely unpredictable other times. And being Internet Explorer, every time you click a link it makes the "click" sound!

Before you even start you have to specify some hard disk space for it to store stuff. But it doesn't tell you this - I only found out after clicking through the preferences trying to find out why it didn't work! Even once you allocate some space, its not even clear how much it needs - it tells you odd things like "This is enough for -1 hours of video" or something.

I finally gave it a few gigabytes of hard disk (on my primary hard disk, there doesn't seem to be a way to use another one) and it started downloading. That was quite fast (The player uses p2p, so you're uploading stuff too!).

I downloaded Doctor Who as a test - and I was quite disappointed. The video came at pretty low resolution (lower than the stuff I can download illegally) and had clearly been encoded from wide-screen to 4:3 and then put back in wide-screen with black bars up the side.

Here's an comparison:

http://misc.opencoding.net/doctor_who_illegal.png

http://misc.opencoding.net/doctor_who_iplayer.png

I'm generally supportive of the BBC, I think they give us good value, most of the time, I just think with the iPlayer they need to make a stand and say "No DRM" because its making the iPlayer a seriously inferior product. Whats the point in the DRM when the same content being protected is available at better quality online illegally anyway?

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Anonymous Coward

BBC breaks Charter and Agreement

In the BBC Charter and Agreement (the contract between the BBC and the public that allows the BBC to exist) it says that it is the BBCs duty to:

'12. Making the UK Public Services widely available

(1) The BBC must do all that is reasonably practicable to ensure that viewers, listeners and other users (as the case may be) are able to access the UK Public Services that are intended for them, or elements of their content, in a range of convenient and cost effective ways which are available or might become available in the future. These could include (for example) broadcasting, streaming or making content available on-demand, whether by terrestrial, satellite, cable or broadband networks (fixed or wireless) or via the internet.'

Now, I pay my TV licence because I know that as long as I have a TV with a Digital decoder box (of any make) I will be able to watch the main BBC TV channels. If I do not have this equipment, I do not need to pay the TV licence. However, if I want to watch BBC TV programmes that I can’t watch on these channels I have the choice of paying extra to either buy them on DVD or watch them through a subscription channel (e.g. Virgin TV On Demand). In other words, the licence fee means I pay for what I have the ability to watch.

Not any more!

By effectively discriminating against certain BBC licence fee payers, the BBC breaks the contract that allows it to collect the licence fee. Internet provision of BBC content is intended for all users of the internet – not just all owners of Windows based PCs. By discriminating against the owners of Mac and Linux PCs the BBC fails to ‘ensure listeners and other users… are able to access Services that are intended for them’.

To charge a person with a Mac for the provision of web content through the licence fee but then deny them access on account of the make of their computer runs contrary to the BBC ethos. It would be like making it so that only owners of Sony TVs could watch BBC3. If the BBC wants to provide material over the internet that’s fine, but if they are going to limit access they should be forced to charge for this content.

If the BBC can't provide access to all internet users AND 'maintain the interets of rights holders', then it should suspend the provision of this content until it has got its act together. If I were a Mac owner I would be considering taking the BBC to the small claims court to recoup the part of the licence fee that is going towards the provision of Windows only content.

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Who pays ? Who gains

Who pays for the BBC, content + tech. devel ?

UK licence fee payers.

Who gets any commercial adavantage from BBC using Windows only format for iPlayer ?

Microsoft. Only Microsoft.

What overwhelming technical reason is there for this ?

None.

Thus the BBC has become a conduit to channel money from (almost) every

UK household to the richest company in the world ever.

I find it hard to believe that even at her most insane Maggie would have proposed

such a thing, and this under a labour (A LABOUR !) government.

Roll on the revolution !

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Sam

What about Linux

I use Linux on my machine at home, if the BBC follows this path then i will no longer be able to use their site.

I can understand using WMP and Realplayer as they do currently for the streams but cutting off those of us who choose not to pay the M$ tax is anti competitive.

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Linux users pay a license too

I don't own a windows machine, neither do I own a Mac, so neither windows media player -or- realplayer are acceptable formats for me. I use Linux exclusively for everything I do and I own several Linux machines.

I DO pay a TV license the same as everyone else in the UK, therefore I have the right to access any service the BBC provides, just the same as you Microsoft Windows users do. Using a format which excludes 10s of thousands of license payers is totally unacceptable.

Linux is gaining market share rapidly. Currently Ubuntu Linux is outselling Windows Vista on Amazon, and yes I did say outselling. It seems people are more willing to pay for a free operating system than they are to buy Microsoft's Vista, and the version of Ubuntu being sold was only released in April, several months -after- Windows Vista, yet it is outselling Vista despite Vista's head start in the market. Microsoft's market share is shrinking every day.

The BBC have a commitment to ALL their license payers, since we are the reason they exist in the first place. Therefore the BBC should be forced to provide services which are accessible to everyone, irrespective of their choice of operating system.

To all the people who previously responded with their bigoted opinions and short sighted experience of the OS market, shut the hell up. Just because you use Windows it does not give you more rights than me or any other non windows users in the UK.

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Real alternative

Just a little note, pointing out that windows users who loathe the realplayer bloatware, that there is a real alternative player that doesn't come with all the extras and just quietly does the job,

Just google for "real alternative player" and it shall be yours

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Anonymous Coward

Unbelievably stupid

Erm, I'm barely interested in multimedia yet even I know that the OSS VideoLan does pretty much everything the BBC ought to be trying to do with iPlayer.

www.videolan.org

What have they been doing for 4 years? Why didn't they just join in and fund the developments needed in VideoLan :doh:

The BBC were never going to lose out - when people are on the bus, they watch DRM-free stuff on their iPlayer - at home people watch their telly having >>>PAID<<< their license fee.

Never underestimate the stupidity of large organisations!

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Anonymous Coward

Give the BBC a break!

Never heard this much fuss when the Channel4 player would not install on XP-64 citing an 'old, unsupported operating system'.

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Anonymous Coward

Schools

"On balance, we consider that access to iPlayer would be only one of many factors influencing the decision to purchase a new computer operating system"

Actually Gareth, this may be quite valuable for schools who use BBC content.

If education and government is locked into buying expensive proprietary software from US suppliers, then it shouldn't be the BBC doing it!

Across the world there are initiatives to provide cheap computing for education based on open-source software. One laptop per child doesn't have to be restricted to the developing world - it could be used to improve education in Britain and save schools money.

This, in its own little way, is the BBC failing on its education remit.

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Anonymous Coward

You WILL be getting iPlayer (or whatever it ends up being called) on Apple & Linux

Read again...

(posted above from the BBC...)

"Regarding the proposal to provide seven day TV catch-up over the internet, the Trust suggested the BBC Executive adopts a 'platform agnostic' approach to rights management within a reasonable timeframe. To this end they recommend an alternative Digital Rights Management (DRM) framework to a Microsoft Windows solution be offered (one that will allow Apple and Linux users to access the Seven day TV catch-up over the internet proposal) and advise that this should be made available within 24 months of launch."

i.e. fuss about nothing.

24 months from launch you should all have access, be it on Windows, Apple or Linux.

Open source isn't necessarily the answer though. That could just delay development even further as "development by committee" kicks in ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Drm problems, again....

Once again a potentially good service is hamstrung by drm, much like sky's on demand service.

just about anything broadcast is already available by nefarious means, why annoy your customers with weird software and 'timebomb' rules, vhs, dvd, hdrive recorders dont have those requirements and i've yet to see an mpeg stored on my pvr self delete or refuse to play on any device i've wanted it to

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Bronze badge

Title

No - it should be open-source - or, actually, simply use an OPEN-FORMAT.

I hate to break it to you, but I use what I consider the best operating system out, and it's not Windows, Mac, or Linux.

As a license payer etc. I, too, should not be forced into one of these other systems.

It doesn't matter how many OS versions they cater for - the format has to be open (and I disagree with the futility of the DRM, but even so, open-format doesn't have to mean DRM-less) -- for example, openssl and openssh are opensource, and open-format, yet they are secure systems!

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Anonymous Coward

Ok, so if it's Windows only..

Why is it being funded via the general licence fee (or if it's not.. who is paying?)

Basically, if it can only be seen by people with a) a PC, and b) Windows and c) Broadband. Then surely there should be a separate licence fee to fund it, and this fee has to be paid by all people with a Windows based PC and a broadband connection.

Harks back to the days of colour/B&W TV's having different licences, which never worked properly, so maybe it could be added as a one-off fee to all new UK XP/Vista licence sales.

Seems only fair to me. After all, I've only got Linux and FreeBSD based systems behind my connection, so I won't be able to watch. Why should I pay?

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Anonymous Coward

The sabre rattlers risk looking silly...

... the reason the initial iPlayer product will be restricted to Windows is simply down to the availability of suitable DRM controls; the BBC can't just fire off content across the internet without considering the artists, producers, musicians, presenters, technicians etc etc who have some creative interest in the stuff.

Once these legal considerations can be managed by other forms of software, the iPlayer service will be extended to allow their use. It is a LAUNCH for goodness sake, it has to start somewhere.

The quality of the currently available content (to trialists only) is also due to be hugely improved before iPlayer goes fully live; its still a BETA right now!

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Anonymous Coward

RE: You will be getting iPlayer...

Not so: The original publicity regarding iPlayer was as you wrote. However, the decision after the consultation replaced the 24 month deadline with "a review every six months" and was silent about all other options except Apple. So no, it's not at all obvious that everyone will be able to use iPlayer, Separately, the route to achieving this availability isn't obvious, if, as is stated above, it's based on Internet Explorer technology.

As for "development by committee" you were fine until then. Why include a flame in an otherwise reasonable post?

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Tom
Silver badge

Why bother with the DRM

The DRM will only make it a pain for the 'lawabiding' and ignorant.

I can now buy a hard drive and a tv card for my pc for less than the price of a M$ install that will allow me to record everything I might like to watch on the BBC for a year - that way I will be able to watch things I've paid for when I want - and in higher quality than the MeMeMePlayer will offer.

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waste of licence fees

I pay my TV licence for TV. The BBC should not be providing any internet services to anyone.

Hope this helps put the problem into perspective.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: You will be getting iPlayer...

Not so: The original publicity regarding iPlayer was as you wrote. However, the decision after the consultation replaced the 24 month deadline with "a review every six months" and was silent about all other options except Apple. So no, it's not at all obvious that everyone will be able to use iPlayer, Separately, the route to achieving this availability isn't obvious, if, as is stated above, it's based on Internet Explorer technology.

As for "development by committee" you were fine until then. Why include a flame in an otherwise reasonable post?

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Joe

But...

...will it work on my ZX81?

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Nev
Bronze badge

Kontiki

I'd be more worried about the use of Kontiki, which is a Torrent client that really screws with your Windows install. Very messy.

Sky were using it and it's a real pain to uninstall.

The whole idea is not very well thought out.

iTunes (apart from it's low def video) works quite nicely and is the future of programming. Buy what you want, watch when you want, NO ADVERTS Joy!

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The cat already left the bag

"... the reason the initial iPlayer product will be restricted to Windows is simply down to the availability of suitable DRM controls; the BBC can't just fire off content across the internet without considering the artists, producers, musicians, presenters, technicians etc etc who have some creative interest in the stuff."

Sure, in the same way they can't just fire off content across the ether to be picked up by anyone in the area I suppose.

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Marketing Scam

This is getting tiresome. People who market a product as "open source" seem to feel they should get automatic preferential treatment over other types of products.

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Uh, Rob...

There are more media players than simply WMP and RP.

If the BBC settled on, say, H.264 compression, there are many open-source cross-platform players available. VideoLAN comes instantly to mind, but the players (pun intended) are legion.

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The real problem

The real problem is what the hell is a taxpayer funded government bureaucracy doing forcing people to purchase and use an expensive (you can't just get Windows Media Player, you have to get Vista and the computer to run it) foreign product from a convicted monopolist? Just to access content created at taxpayer expense in the first place?

Perhaps it is time for the BBC to stop getting its TV licence tax, seeing as it seems to have simply become a pusher for expensive commercial proprietary technology.

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Ground floor economics

I too use linux at home and can view open format media on it. If as predicted, one day we will all get all our tv/video via data networks; Licence payers should worry, this could constitute a ground floor assertion that a state run publically paid service is locked into a proprietary OS/application non-choice.

Currently you can see bbc services with a 50 quid television, maybe in10 years it will be 1000 for the computer 300 for the operating system plus countless other hidden costs such as network connectivity.

All this from an organisation that sends harassing letters to ANY adress for which no licence fee has been paid, perhaps this right should be taken away from them ? PS Sky are playing a similar game by the look of it.

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When will the open source madness end?

OK, I have no beef with open source. It is a very noble and wonderful idea, however, it is not the centre of the universe. Every bit of software does not have to hail from the great open source movement. Sometimes Microsoft may be the only ones delivering the goods (ie DRM in this instance).

What happens when everything is open source? We'll be stuck with an open source monopoly - no company will be allowed to produce anything because that will be against the open source movement man!

The BBC produce lots of content that may not be viewable by everyone:

1) Any streamed media (such as TV) is only really of use to broadband users - not every home in the UK has broadband (or if they do, perhaps not good enough broadband, ie 512 pipes). What's the BBC to do? Provide broadband links to all?

2) TV reception is poor in some areas. You may need an aerial upgrade, boosters, etc or you may just be in the bottom of a valley and there's nothing anyone can do. What's the BBC to do? Setup additional transmitters and relays just for you?

3) The BBC provide WAP content. What if my phone doesn't support WAP? Can the BBC provide me with a new phone or perhaps text any information to me that I might want?

4) My Amstrad CPC and 9,600 baud modem is all hooked up and raring to go. When will iPlayer be ready for me?

Windows (like it or not) has the market share. You want to reach as many people as easily as possible? Then you start with Windows. This is what the BBC has done, and they haven't ruled out other OS' or media players completely.

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What the hell are you moaning about?!

Tell you what, if the BBC is going to do this I demand, as a licence fee payer, that the Beeb pay for my ADSL. I'm only using ISDN at my present location and as such the BBC are not being fair by not providing me access.

Get a grip guys. Between Apple and Microsoft it must be 95% of the home use PC's covered. 5% will have to do without till OSS can get a grip and keep with with the closed sourced competitors in terms of DRM. I hate DRM, and I'd love to see a DRM-less version, but if we have to have it then so be it - stop moaning that you can't get access because you CHOOSE to use a minority platform when it comes to your home PC.

Either way, once there is a viable alternative to WMP that can do what the BBC needs to do (DRM) then i'm sure it will be an option. In the mean time I shouldn't have to wait another 2 years just to keep the 5% happy - which consists almost entirely of IT geeks. (including me)

2 years without iPlayer or having it now for 95% - I know which one is more logical from a business point of view.

Finally, don't forget that neither 4OD or the ITV version supports anything other than Windows.

Called a majority vote guys. Once the geeks and hacks get a commerical hat and take a look outside of servers and nerds bedrooms then maybe 3rd parties will be interested in developing against it.

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Anonymous Coward

It's no different to Apple...

quote:

It's no different to Apple choosing to lock people into iTunes and iPods. No one complains about that because of course Apple are gods (apparently).

Um, yes no one is complaining about Apple. Well except the EU (http://www.theregister.com/2007/01/25/dutch_out_of_tune_with_apple/) and the record companies (http://www.theregister.com/2007/02/08/riaa_apple/) and Apple's tried to address it as well (http://www.theregister.com/2007/02/06/apple_jobs_drm-free_call/).

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Best OS

"I hate to break it to you, but I use what I consider the best operating system out, and it's not Windows, Mac, or Linux."

RSX-11M? VMS? OS360? Multics?

Beastie or Puffie?

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driving innovation

The iPlayer should be an open initiative as -

- it's not just about Macs & PCs - how about PVRs, PS3, Wii, etc?

- the license fee should not be funnelled straight to Microsoft

- the BBC should not dictate the brand of receiver

More importantly, by creating its own open platform and licensing it -

- the platform would drive innovation in the UK

- it would create a revenue stream for the BBC

- it would have put the BBC at the forefront

Sadly, since selling its technical arm to Siemens, the BBC no longer has the brains to do this kind of work. The iPlayer is just one more example of this kind of short-term thinking.

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Bronze badge

Re: But...

Heehee Joe - However, the point is, we are talking about systems more than capable of being able to run such software.

You could rightly be asked to upgrade your ZX81 to get the feeds (to a ZX Spectrum maybe??) - however, if I had to 'upgrade' to windows, it would actually be a downgrade.

Mind you, clovis has a good point in that really, none of this should be done under the TV license!

And DRM... Why try to restrict what can already be done with video recorders, pvr's (and as Tom points out, a simple video card.), and if it comes down to it, a "computer screen grabber", or even a blooming point-the-video-camera at the screen.

Stopping people 'record' video that is 'played' on their computer is as fruitless as it is with audio. If the content is there, is being decoded, it can be recorded, however good the drm

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Title

I use debian 64 and AmigaOs4

Their video/music works on neither.

:-(

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This post has been deleted by its author

remember... the content has value

okay, leaving aside the fact that a few dozen Linux users and several hundred Mac users won't be able to access the content for "up to 24 months" after the roll out starts (so they get to avoid all the teething troubles and pain) the reason that the BBC needs to include DRM is to protect YOUR assets.

You're a tax payer right? (Now Open Source government is something I could support, but I digress) So your taxes pay for the content that you want to be "free". Fair enough.

But would you prefer that the BBC made a few quid selling copies of Allo Allo to the Germans or Doctor Who to the Yanks... money that they can put back into continuing to produce quality programming, or would you prefer that in order to support a tiny minority from day 1 they just give the crown jewels away?

Okay, so I know folks will still just record off the telly and stick the content on BitTorrent but the quality will always be questionable and access not guaranteed (I know... I'm still trying to get Torchwood and the current season of Dr Who here in the US coz no blooming network has picked it up yet!) and they probably don't loose too much revenue (I torrented the first two season of the "new" Doctor Who and then bought them when they were finally released here)

In an ideal world you'd have unlimited, unfettered, un-expiring content across any platform you wanted (what about the Amiga 512 users I hear.... nobody.... cry) in glorious Hi Def with surround sound and extra gravy all magically protected so only people paying the license fee can access it. Until then the BBC have to obtain the maximum value for the license fee they can in order to keep operating it (much as I hate that now I'm US based!) and having to defend frivolous "after the fact" campaigns such as this (how long was the consultation process? how much support did these "oh it must be open source" muppets actually manage to gather while it was going on?) is just a waste of license fee money.

Cry babies the lot of them. Running to the EU because they didn't get their way.

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Broken DRM

If the BBC really *must* use DRM (which is itself a daft idea), then it would be in their interests to use a DRM scheme which can trivially be cracked(*). That would provide maximum value to the license-player.

In my view, I've already paid for all the BBC's content, and I have a reasonable expectation of permanent access to it. Furthermore, I'm particularly annoyed that they decided to exclude Classical music from the service (based on the argument that it would harm commercial CD sales - so what?)

(*)any open source DRM is technically impossible: you have the ciphertext, the plaintext, the key, and the algorithm.

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Anonymous Coward

Silverlight?

I'm not overly bothered whether the BBC use open source or Microsoft software. They should use the technologies which are cheapest and easiest for them to develop for and support considering that the iPlayer is not a core service. If they must use Microsoft technology surely the iPlayer is an ideal candidate for a Microsoft Silverlight application. Silverlight supports 720p video, includes DRM, works on Macs and PC's (with a possibility of Linux and mobile devices in the not too distant future) and seems incredibly easy to develop for from the demos that I have seen.

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How DRM works

Mr Smith, here is a brand new BBC video file... and here A8B57A is the key that will unlock it. now don't go unlocking it when we don't want you to ok.

Duh!

It's the most pathetic way to prevent legitimate users from accessing content that has ever been contrived. business people need to get their heads out of their arses and into the server room for once.

And as for open source, if it's open source then it'll be an open standard more than likely. we're not arguing for a specific platform. we're worried because the BBC is calling for a specific platform from a convicted monopolist who will attempt to use this as yet another reason why using a computer without windows is impossible. We must never allow the USA government failure to curb Microsoft to kill of the IT industry in our own country.

For all those who think that Microsoft Windows is just another choice... it isn't. it's the ignorant or immoral choice. choose which you are because it certainly isn't good.

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Linux can play WMP

"Some DRM vendors, such as microsoft create liscences which are deliberately incompatible with minority operating systems. It's litterally impossible for WMP to play under Linux."

Er. MPlayer, probably Totem and Noatun, and no doubt other Linux players can quite happily play WMP. DRM'd wmp might be another issue.

TV3 in NZ has an annoying thing on their website where you must be using the latest windoze media player (v11 now), but that's what the site detects as your player, not the content. And until I "upgrade" even my windoze vista machine can't play TV3 content.

Surely a mickey$loth drm would be about as hard to break as the rest of their security wouldn't it? Surely if anyone was interested, it'd be easier to break than WEP?

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Re: Jeremy E Cath

Firstly, your comment about a few dozen Linux users and couple of hundred Mac users is highly insulting. There are 10s of thousands of Linux users in the UK, possibly even more Linux users than there are domestic Mac users, so keep your bigoted views to yourself.

The fact remains that we all pay our tv license fee and irrespective of whether you or anyone else in these comments feel we are relevant, we should be afforded the same rights as every other TV license payer in the UK.

The chances of there being a Linux friendly system in the next 24 months are incredibly slim given that they have already admitted that the system has been setup in this way to deal with DRM and there is no way DRM will be forced onto the Linux community any time in the near future and even if it was it would be optional. If the BBC are being forced to use DRM to license this content there is no way the Copyright Police would -ever- allow a license for a platform where the DRM is not compulsory.

Furthermore, we -all- pay our license, so why the hell should we have to wait for 2+ years longer than windows users to access this service? This is wrong, period, and the second this service becomes available for a single segment of the population, I personally will suing the BBC for a refund of my TV License, I would suggest everyone else who is being excluded does the same. A class action suit by 10s of thousands of consumers would soon put a stop to this ridiculous situation.

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