I am one of the "freetards"
My Flickr page is linked to at the end of the article. I take it, therefore, that I'm a "freetard" - oh, so clever. The Purlitzer prize will come knocking!
@Neil Hoskins: I'm not a childish nerd, thanks. The MP4 streams are better quality than the Flash ones and are easier to handle on my Asus Eee which, coincidentally I paid for (so not "free" - I guess El Reg just want to call me a "retard") because Flash doesn't go fullscreen. Plus by obtaining the MP4 I can watch things on my iPod Classic as well, which remains a shiny Apple product (again paid for). To be honest, if they'd done more for desktop machines before leaping on a fad product like the iPhone, this would probably not be an issue.
@"mac fanboys v linus freetards?" I fail to see your point, not least because your ability to spell and use grammar seems to get left at the door when the red mist comes up at the thought that anyone uses anything different to you. Also it seems that most people doing this (looking at referrer logs) are - shock! - Windows users, probably sick of the state that Kontiki leaves their bandwidth in. Maybe the BBC should just throw in the towel altogether then?
Here's the bottom line. The BBC are supplying programmes that can be downloaded and viewed by anything capable of understanding and parsing a standards compliant media player, but do so at a significantly lower resolution than a DVD. I think they should leave it at that - if you want to watch something, do so freely - I'm not going to go out and buy a DVD because I missed an episode of a programme, but I would download a lower resolution copy to watch. If I were a fan of the show I might well go out and buy the DVD because I'd want the best version available. It's a win/win situation.
Of course, what they'll do now is anyone's guess. I can't see them licensing FairPlay from Apple though - imagine what the board of directors would say about taking on another DRM product - they might recognise it as snake oil. They're not going to drop the iPlayer for the iPhone because they'd have egg on their face after trumpeting how great it is and rushing around making deals with The Cloud. The best option is to be honest about it and treat us like adults for a change.