The shakeup of the BBC's iPlayer team we revealed last week was officially announced yesterday with the appointment of Kazaa CTO Anthony Rose as head of digital media technology. Rose will be in charge of the next generation iPlayer group, which will include ex-Microsoft man Jon Billings. Rose in turn will report to the …
"Rose will be in charge of the next generation iPlayer group, which will include ex-Microsoft man Jon Billings. Rose in turn will report to the Corporation's digital media controller Erik Huggers, who joined the Beeb from Microsoft in May."
The BBC, Pro-Microsoft?...... Noooo, not at all.....
Not surprised he/she is anonymous, having been involved in boo.com and the iPlayer. No reflection on their skills I'm sure. I wonder if they ever worked for EDS, the MoD or the Inland Revenue...
Damn BBC, corrupted by MS with their evil... oh hang on a sec.
Ahh well, queue the FOSSers, anti-licence fee and pro-give it all away free types bringing forth their bile anyway...
so they have some technology over there
will they be able to provide some decent reporting on technology related issues.
Or will we be stuck with the same "the CPU is the brain of the computer" stories for the next 15 years too.
They love their P2P
The Kazaa CTO? Wow, the BBC must really love their P2P technology.
They use P2P to cut distribution costs, in other words passing bandwidth costs on to the consumer. At least they won't be able to use spiraling bandwidth costs as an excuse to raise the license fee, again
Just ship the media
Why are they reinventing the wheel? They could ask their studio suppliers, and internal departments which of their tv products can be freely distributed, and put those on a server with a torrent tracker.
No need for DRM on those products if they can be freely distributed. It takes a day to setup the server, no fuss no mess, it gets them into the distribution business straight away.
Next they can determine which media can be distributed, but only with adverts if outside the UK, and run 2 trackers, one with content with adverts, one without, and direct people to the appropriate tracker based on their IP address.
The problem with having a Microsoft man at the helm is he's likely to have a pension still with them, and shares in them, and options and MS friends and business links to them, so he'll always be trying to tie in MS DRM into quite a simple problem.
Even for content that needs no restrictions on it's distribution, even for content that simply needs a ad-no ad choice to be made.
Re: Just ship the media
You're entirely on the money with that.
Although they say “we don't all the content”, we know perfectly well that there's plenty of content they DO own the rights for. Existing technologies (torrent tracker with authentication, geolocation as part of the sign-up, and so on) would work wonderfully and mean they could release the video as H.264 (which is both standard and scaleable and playable on virtually everything, including most mobile phones and portable video players) instead of some Microsoft-proprietary format.
Their podcasts didn't have any DRM, and were released as H.264, and contained big chunks of recently-broadcasted programming. Guess what? Nobody complained, except that maybe the resolution was a bit rubbish for desktop playback.
iPlayer is not File Sharing
last time I checked Kontiki did not allow me to share it just took...
Just ship WHAT media?
Sod all, if it's just "those products (that) can be freely distributed". There aren't any.
Oh no, not kontiki!
"The kontiki client (kservice.exe) continues to run when a user closes the iplayer and uses the user's broadband service to provide other users with content. This can be particularly troublesome for users with Broadband connections that include a capped monthly download limit." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kontiki
Also, kontiki likes to use up plenty of CPU while sitting around in the background as a service...
It seems here they are focusing their attention in the wrong direction. Instead of creating a player so we can watch TV via the website, which is something we can already do using various media players, why not give us on demand TV through a TV?
All they need is a TV interface for us to scroll through the programs we can watch and click play and hey presto we can watch it. Probably need a settop box to save the program but most of us have these anyway for freeview.
Seems they are just wasting loads of cash on something we can already do, albeit without a pretty interface.
Please to be havink no TURDs!
The BBC are in an ideal position to realise that DRM does not, and cannot ever work.
The reason for this is simple - in encryption terms, the attacker and intended recipient are the same individual.
Ergo, the attacker knows everything about the message and can ALWAYS break the encryption in a very short period of time.
Which leads to the conclusion that DRM is worse than useless - it acheives two things:
1) Costs the supplier money.
2) Irritates legitimate users as they are forced into a particular player and/or decryption system.
There are only two viable models for this kind of distribution:
1) Watermarking with unique identifier (eg TV licence number)
This means that you will always know where a given copy came from.
There are several watermarking techniques which are extremely difficult to remove and even persist in printed copy.
By *not* restricting the legal use of the copy, the legal user doesn't have any reason to bother trying to remove it.
The downside is that peer-to-peer become impossible as every user needs a personalised copy.
2) Rely on the honour system. This works surprisingly well.
I am interested by your watermarking idea:
If someone gets a non-drmed, but watermarked copy of a BBC transmitted program, then allows it to be copied or has it stolen from them, what should the Beeb do?
As far as I can see they can:
1) Do nothing. This wouldn't be acceptable to the owners of the media.
2) Sue the person who allowed the copying of the media. This would cause an outcry in many places, the Reg and Slashdot would be right up there, I'd guess.
3) Cease the TV licence for the licence number that has been copied. The trouble here is that the licence covers a property, rather than a person, so you'd be punnishing people who are innocent of any wrongdoing. (I'd imagine there would also be hell to pay about this too!)
Or you could make an attempt to DRM the media that everyone is not as unhappy with as they would be with a watermarking solution or just allowing it to be given away totally unprotected in any way.
I don't think that there is any ideal solution here, I don't have any solution, but I have to say that I can see why DRM is the favoured solution withe the media companies - Most people won't be able to hack it, just us geeks. It's a bit like locking an OS or application from insatllation, the geeks will be able to crack it, but the vast majority of law abiding people won't bother. Probably.
Re: Just ship the media
“Why are they reinventing the wheel? They could ask their studio suppliers, and internal departments which of their tv products can be freely distributed, and put those on a server with a torrent tracker.”
They already have – it’s on the BBC Backstage podcast. The answer is none (for a start, how many programmes don’t feature any commercial music? That’s none to all intents and purpsoses)
“Their podcasts didn't have any DRM, and were released as H.264, and contained big chunks of recently-broadcasted programming.”
Specifically chunks. And programmes very specifically selected because they’re rights light. Pretty much everything the BBC could distribute this way is ALREADY podcasted.
P2P Kontiki Hell
Perhaps the MS involvement isn't the worst bit?
Sky, BBC and others appear to be using a P2P app from a company called Kontiki. Not in itself bad but...
If you uninstall the player app then the P2P app and service keep running, chewing up bandwidth and resources.
No uninstaller options and lordy help ya if you just go and stop the services.
Now, you'd think mayhap an obvious link on the Channels websites to a cleanup tool? Nope, you'll need to strongarm them or just follow http://static.sky.com/kclean/KClean_51102.0.exe
BBC/Sky etc... if you're listening, take a long hard look at what you're doing. This is pretty damn close to malware
Where is the future technology?
Internet P2P video BBC. Did I miss something?
Lack of facts
Everytime I see iPlayer mentioned in El Reg, being pretty close to the project, I take a look at the comments posted, and in the past I have weighed in with the odd response myself.
Increasingly, though, it's becoming obvious that there is a common species of Reg poster who likes to write either sneering put-downs or ill-informed diatribes without so much as a shred of factual knowledge, or anything approaching sensible analysis with which to back up their rant.
Which makes continuing to weigh in with responses myself look like a waste of time.
This thread is a perfect example.
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