back to article Beeb iPlayer blocked by Xbox velvet rope

Xbox 360 owners in the UK must wait "indefinitely" for the BBC iPlayer on their game consoles because Microsoft insists that only paying subscribers can have access to online extras. According to the Telegraph, citing sources "close to the BBC's Future Media and Technology" unit, negotiations to adapt the iPlayer for the Xbox …

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Unhappy

Shame

Seems a shame, I for one would love to see it, but at the end of the day it's MS's console and it's their business what they allow to be run on it I suppose!

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WTF?

But the BBC arent charging

The BBC arent imposing the charge, MS are... therefore wheres BBCs problem?

They aren't getting any of the money charged. The charge is for the xbox live online service.

I dont see the problem :s. fools

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The charge still stands though

Nobody can charge for it, which means the BBC can't give it to MS if they do.

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Gates Horns

Xbox = boooooo!

"While Redmond schemes of making the Xbox 360 a complete media hub for households by adding more and more popular third-party services, it insists on retaining complete control over the environment (in a very Apple-like fashion, really). "

Interestingly the iplayer is available for no extra charge on the iphone. My xbox360 is now gathering dust as i find it more and more unpalatable to pay for services that EVERYONE else gives for free. I dont care how good GOLD is, it isnt even remotely worth the cost. Those who think it is have never had to choose between eating and paying the bills before (I'm looking at you, spotty geeks!)

Come on microsoft, how's about a bit of freedom with the live service, i mean, we still have to pay for our internet access!

In the mean time, my PS3 is looking like the best thing i ever bought (as it's the phat one with all the extras).

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Grenade

I guess you dont know....

how to access the iphone iplayer via wifi.... A prepay iphone requires no subs and will access the iplayer via wifi (free in some places). I grant that if you have a contract phone, then i guess you could call it a fee, but then MS charges for access to the online system which you still need Broadband for two (two charges).

I am not adding double standards, just pointing out that there IS a free option with the iphone, where there ISNT with the xbox.

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FAIL

I am sure...

...Tim has already paid for an internet connection. Why should he pay MS again to use the same connection and download content that would otherwise be free?

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FAIL

Almost a title

So We pay for the BBC Licence fee, and now Microsoft want 360 users to stump up another £40 to get something that has already been paid for.

Why am I not surprised?

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Thumb Up

Good for the Beeb...

for sticking to their guns. Apart from the iPlayer software download, what service would Microsoft provide to justify the requirement for users to pay their online multiplayer tax?

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Lets make sure...

...that everyone is aware this is a MS issue, not a Beeb issue.

In fact in my home, the new iPlayer channel on the Wii is used more often now than the "real" beeb channels...

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Unhappy

Plonkers

MS are behaving is a very "Apple" way on this one, and I cant believe Im saying that....

iPlayer has changed from a dog-slow and annoying app to a Sky-Plus style "Bloody hell thats handy" part of my viewing life - I've used it on the Wii (white useless piece of Apple wannabe kit that it is) and it actually works really well :)

I have no issue with paying some points for the App itself (because believe it or not, developers have to EAT (shock)) but to restrict access to a free service is bonkers, as they arent responsible for the App!

Methinks they dont want it (even though it would shift more units) as it will expose the SKY Player for the overpriced piece of shoddyness that it is :)

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Where do you want to go today?

Where ever it is, it won't be on the Xbox.

Well done MS - way to raise your profile.

ttfn

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Anonymous Coward

Comedy

"[Microsoft] insists on retaining complete control over the environment (in a very Apple-like fashion, really)"

The irony is not lost on us Xbox users, especially those of us who avoid the iPhone and Mac for just that very reason. The girlfriend is getting a Wii for Christmas ... purely co-incidentally, of course!

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FAIL

M$ - those crazy Yanks!

Quote:

"While Redmond schemes of making the Xbox 360 a complete media hub for households by adding more and more popular third-party services,"

They could also go a long way to making this happen if they sorted out the fans that make more noise than any other console on the market, awful overheating and reliability issues etc..... just a thought......

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Anonymous Coward

Sour grapes much???

I don't know which branch of Cash Converters you bought your Wii from but I can't hear mine at all (a year old this xmas).

I detect the ravings a disappointed person with PS envy. (I bet you slag off the iPhone too because you haven't got one of those either).

Hmmm...360. Aptly named considering the PS3 runs rings round it.

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Nice try Mr Gates....

But give the RRoD was only finally (mostly) solved a year ago *(not 3 when it first came out) you sound like an MS beyotch....

The PS3 has an AVERAGE failure rate (your watchdog-friendly YLoD) and the Wii just gets hot (no noise or failure).

I hate MS fanbois, they seem so detached from the real world. "Bill, i want your babies...and charge me handsomely for the privelege).

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Spot on....

Well said.

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Linux

Zaktly

Wot 'ee said.

I have a 360 and a Wii, and I have to say, the 360 is loud- I wouldn't use it for watching TV or films. The Wii iplayer isn't quite full DTT quality, but it's not bad, it's easy and it's quiet, so that wins there- it's less faff than finding the HDMI adaptor for my laptop and plugging it into the TV etc...

You can get a low noise Lian Li case for the 360, but it's not cheap, and fitting it is a right pain, to say hte least..

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g e
Silver badge

PS3 goodness

I got sick of my XBOX making it up as it goes along and bought a PS3 slim the day before yesterday.

It. Just. Works.

Very impressed with it as a system. Everyone probably already knows this but out of the box - after a firmware update online to latest rev: iPlayer (works a treat), web browser (yep FB and twitter if you want plus everything else), loads of configurable stuff if you want to get into the nitty gritty of setup, clear easy to read menus instead of those huge flippy things xbox uses, media player just works (need to get ogg transcoding sorted on Mediatomb), rips CD's to local HD, no hardware lock-in to HD swaps - just buy a bigger one if you need it.

From the get-go it was like moving from a v-tec kiddie computer to something more grown up, slicker, faster & more responsive, it obviously has more grunt than an xbox (certainly looks & feels that way). Yet to try BD out and gotta buy some more games for it but highly recommended if you're growing weary of MS's way of doing things.

Can cancel my xbox gold subscription now as I barely use it anyway (PS3 network is free though not tried any multiplayer online stuff yet to compare) :oD

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Anonymous Coward

Fcukwit

Why the fuck (to use your charming phrase) should Microsoft be allowed to charge a monthly fee for something which is available for free to all UK internet users? Are there any other companies you'd like to charge you for access to the BBC? Presumably they'd all be great too and you'd think the BBC were arseholes for not letting other companies do fuck all but charge for it.

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Paris Hilton

C'mon MS - get wiv it?

I can't help but feel that MS might somehow be missing an opportunity here.

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Microsot is a giant Money Sucker

Microsoft always tries to make money where others are giving it for free. For XBOX 360 the list goes like this :

1. XBOX Live Gaming | Free on PS3

2. XBOX Social Networking Features | Free on PS3

3. Microsoft charges separately for Optical Audio Cable | In built on PS3

4. Microsoft charges for Play and Charge Kit | in built with PS3 Controller

They are simply a plague to video gaming industry.

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WTF?

Why?

If it is Microsoft who is charging for access to XBox Live Gold and keeping all the revenue, how is it that the BBC unable to offer the iPlayer regardless since crucially the BBC is not charging anything themselves for access, and Microsoft is not levying a *specific* charge in relation to iPlayer access - the charge is for "premium" access to their own closed network, XBox Live.

After all, in order to access the iPlayer, I have to have a broadband service, which means I am paying my ISP for access to their network. The same is true if I wanted to access iPlayer over a WiFi hotspot such as BT Openzone (I know it's free over The Cloud!). With respect to WiFi hotspots especially (The Cloud excepted), I see no particular difference between this and XBox Live.

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FAIL

Erm....

You need to also have an ISP for xbox gold......

so thats..... Broadband access (£5-£10 a month) AND Gold Membership £5 a month (and WIFI adapter@£60) if you want to watch iplayer on an xbox wirelessly.

on the PS3 its just broadband

on the Iphone it's Just broadband (if you watch at home via wifi) as you dont need to pay subs to access the service, such as on a prepay iphone.

on the wii i beleive the app costs, but watching just requires broadband.

The Broadband aspect is universal if you want to get data to the home (so is not beyond the licence). Paying a monthly sub to be able to access it is not allowed by the BBC licence.

Let me also point out that the service is not hosted by MS, it is hosted by the BBC, so why are MS charging as if it was theirs? It doesnt particularly need a lot of coding either, though MS have always found a way to make a small program really massive!

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Errr please tell me...

"Let me also point out that the service is not hosted by MS, it is hosted by the BBC, so why are MS charging as if it was theirs?"

How are MS charging me for iPlayer coming to XBox Live if my £25 a year fee isn't going up? As the original poster pointed out, XBox live is a closed system and MS only want to allow Gold subscribers access, otherwise their overheads go up and revenue stays the same. Not a great business move.

As for PS3 and Wii being free, one simple reason, people can access the iPlayer through the games consoles web browser before they integrated it, so charging for alternate access wouldn't have worked.

Come on BBC, get the iPlayer on the 360.

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Gates Horns

Ha Ha!!! Aim at foot, fire, shoot one's self in foot!

So you are saying that there was no point in charging for it on the other two consoles because it WAS ALREADY FREE? Doesn't that tell you how much you are being ripped off by micro$oft? Sony and Nintendo actually made a version for their consoles even though it wasn't necessary.

You can't get it free on the 360. The BBC cannot allow the Iplayer on a system where one needs to pay to access it, so unless the government ease the BBC's restrictions or M$ put the iplayer on silver. There is no other way!

Now go and have a good cry into your xbox, it might cool it down long enough to stop it RRoDing!

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Anonymous Coward

Devil's advocate

"The BBC, meanwhile, cannot charge the British public for access to the iPlayer because it's already paid for by the UK television license fee."

Surely the BBC aren't the ones charging for access to it? Surely the distributor can charge separately to the BBC? I don't see the BBC offering free internet access for iPlayer - by this logic, they're already "charging" for iPlayer access.

"Microsoft's policy of demanding gamegeld stands in stark contrast to the Xbox 360's rival consoles: Nintendo's Wii and Sony's Playstation 3. Both already offer free access to the iPlayer."

The PS3 actually only offers access to the iPlayer through the bundled browser, since (IIRC) the PS3 browser supports Flash. The Wii has a dedicated app for it.

You can understand Microsoft's reasoning for wanting to keep this service Gold-only - they need to make the £40 a year a good value proposition, since they're the only console manufacturer charging for aspects of their online service.

As a Gold subscriber, I do find it stupid that Microsoft won't allow iPlayer to be available for everyone - there are still plenty of other services that are Gold-only.

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Advocate this...

"I don't see the BBC offering free internet access for iPlayer"

You also don't see dear Auntie Beeb offering free TV sets and antenna installation, but I wouldn't call either of those charging for access either.

It's the difference between the medium and the message. The BBC has to provide the message for free, but the medium is your problem and your cost. What Microsoft want to do is charge for the message, which isn't allowed.

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Gates Horns

Where does that subscription go

Do any of the application providers get a share of the XBox Live Gold subscription or are you simply paying Microsoft to use the fruits of other people's work and the Internet connection for which you already pay?

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Thumb Down

This...

...is why you hack/mod. If I am not using MS's network, I don't see why I should pay MS anything. It's *my* xBox and I will do with it as *I* see fit. Unless MS want to supply it for "free" on some kind of Sky-like subscription service...

iPlayer on the Wii was something I'd forgotten about, but seeing as how poorly Flash runs inside the Wii's version of Opera, I don't hold out much hope of it being usable.

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new channel

I think for the very reason of opera=shit there is a now a BBC branded dedicated channel available in the wiishop to play iplayer (currently free) so you never have to open opera again.

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WTF?

That is Illogical, Auntie

I'm glad to see Auntie sticking to her principals, but isn't there a flaw in the BBC's logic? Netflix and Sky require a payment on top of the XBL Gold Subscription, so surely this element is what is considered "charging for the service". If iPlayer is free on top of the XBL subscription cost, then I don't really see the issue any more than the need for me to pay an ISP to watch iPlayer over the Internet.

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no, not illogical

The BBC cannot allow the service to be charged for..... Sky can do what they want!

The public broadcast aspect of this is that they must allow public access. That is, the public can access the service without any restriction (or with minimum possble restriction). Having an internet connection is all that is needed for the iplayer, but that does not hold true if it is on GOLD live. Sky on the other hand can charge you for subscription to their channels, and then charge you extra for every way you do that. Sky cannot charge for access to BBC channels, which is why they work with no subsciption.

BBC HD even works on a sky box that hasnt got a card in it, much to the annoyance of rupert murdoch!

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Grenade

Good

I say good, it looks as though the PS3 is now edging past the 360 in terms of monthly sales although not total overall sales. If MS wants to make the 360 look like an even less nicer proposition than the Wii/PS3 then by all means let them go ahead.

I've never liked Live for the precise reason that you're paying for something that is free everywhere else, Live doesn't even give you dedicated servers to play on. You're paying for players hosting the online games.

Don't even get me started on Natal, MS had it good last year but it looks to me like MS has totally lost the plot. They can't seem to decide what to do with the 360, one moment it's "yeah, we're a hard core gaming console!" and the next it's "look! we can be like the wii too!".. jack of all trades master of none.

I'm totally behind the BBC on the iPlayer demand, the iPlayer should not be behind a paywall like Live gold.

If it means making the PS3 even more competitive (iPlayer works surprisingly well on the PS3) then great, hopefully at some point MS will realise their mistake and get rid of the Live charge. (not bloody likely though)

Disclaimer: I owned a Wii and currently own a 360 and PS3.

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Silver badge

Sony must be laughing all the way to the bank

What with this already being fitted pretty nicely into the PS3, for free, as part of their regular software update process. Who knows what Microsoft are thinking to shoot themselves so thoroughly in the foot?

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Silver badge

Shhhhhh.........

A "complete media hub" ... can you even hear the sound of your TV or Music over the jet engine that appears to be in the XBOX 360? There's also a serious pricing issue here ... the PS3 only looks more expensive in the shops because online services are a hidden cost on the XBOX.

The PS3 slim is nearly quiet enough but older PS3s are too noisy for this job. For the last god knows how long MS and Apple have been trying to get the computer into the living room as a media centre but without making it as quiet and visually unobtrusive as necessary.

Even now, the best solution is to buy a laptop (broken screen ones from Ebay are ideal), and use that ... almost the only way (apart from a custom build) to get a box that can comfortably sit in the living room when you are watching iPlayer.

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i agree *

* though i find my phat PS3 more than quiet enough as it is in a cabinet. Something i wouldnt attempt with my 360anks to its really ineffiecient cooling and the RRoD!. I run the PS3 for hours as a media hub and gaming console and i've never had any issue in the two years i have had it.

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FAIL

No change there then.

Microsoft have always been happy to charge clueless idiots for things everyone else gets for free... They tell them they offer a better service, and the idiots paying the money believe it, as it helps justifying paying the £40 a year..

I can get Twitter, Last-FM, Facebook and iPlayer on my PS3 without paying a penny, why does Microsoft feel the need to charge £40 for these "premium" services? Because they can, there are enough idiots willing to pay...

Don't even get me started on the Peer-Peer lag-fest that Microsoft call XboxLive, when Sony offer fast dedicated servers for free...

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Anonymous Coward

Fine until the end

..whereupon, you lazily drank the iso trader kool-aid and conflated fitting boot roms for running pirated games with the noble pursuit of modding.

There's a huge difference between doing new and interesting things with a machine, and buying moody ROMs to allow you to play Super John Madden's Need For Fifa 17 without paying.

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@RegisterFail

I'm pretty sure you don't know what you are talking about.

The BBC by law (or whatever quasi legal thing it is) is required not to charge for its services to people in the UK. Which means since you have to pay MS to use iPlayer, you are effectively being charge to use iPlayer (even if the money doesnt go to the BBC). So the BBC cannot allow it, they would be breaking their remit. If you are daft enough to want to pay MS for something you, as a UK resident are entitled to for FREE, then that's your issue, whatever your platform. The BBC are trying to ensure you get that service for FREE. BTW, I think the BBC actually do the development of iPlayer on the consoles, not the console manufactureres. So, you can pay MS for the privilege of using software that was developed by someone else with the aim of watch BBC TV for free.

Meanwhile, all the other console manufacturers allow use of the iPlayer for free on their consoles.

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Flame

Support for the BBC

I fully support the BBC's position on this.

It would be wrong to allow Microsoft to profiteer off the back off the BBC.

The only argument I can think of in favour of Microsoft's case is that the 360 does not have an in built web browser. The iPlayer on the PS3 is just a link to the PS3 version of the iPlayer website, using the browser to render it.

I'd imagine the 360 would require a custom application that accesses all the relevant iPlayer APIs to return content and I'd imagine MS would want to foot the bill for this.

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Anonymous Coward

Titular Appendage

It's a crock.

Sorry but there is BBC content on BT Vision that is charged for. So how come BT can charge, but Microsoft can't? And given that BT Vision boxes are Windows based how come it's so hard to get iPlayer on there in the first place?

I'm not a fan of MS, but in this case I think it's the Beeb that aren't playing fair. I agree that we should not have to pay for any content that we've already paid for through the licence fee, that bit's fine. However I think that the same rule should apply to all providers, be it MS, BT or anybody else.

Level playing field? We've heard of it.

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BBC content != BBC iPlayer

BBC content on BT Vision is licensed by BBC Worldwide, the same guys who are part of Dave.

The difference between BBC 1 and iPlayer on one hand and Dave and BT Vision on the other, is that genuine BBC content gets first broadcast rights on BBC and iPlayer. The BBC are allowed to license it out a year after first broadcast, when it is considered archive material. BBC 1 and iPlayer also carry material supplied by third party studios, which is contractually bound to be only supplied as part of the BBC's license-funded services.

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Go

Charge...

If MS want to charge for access then fine, but in turn the BBC should charge MS for access to their massive library of content on MS's platform and make access worldwide.

I don't mind a bit of subsidy for the license fee, not that I'm bothered about paying it, the best value for money of any fee I pay. Long may it continue.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 1029 - You get what you pay for....

Whilst it's annoying that iPlayer isn't on XBox yet, I don't mind paying the 77p/week (11p/day) it costs for XBox Live.

I have both a PS3 and XBox and have found that, WRT online gaming, you really do get what you pay for. PSN is slower (much fewer games so match-making takes longer, and let's not mention the lag...) and seems to attract the most annoying online gamers you can imagine.

I've given up on the number of times that (mainly USA based, but not exclusively so) kids have sat there playing music down their mics all the way through a game (thank goodness you can mute them nowadays). Also, the language used by these gamers would make the late Bernard Manning blush!

Whilst you do occasionally get these on XBox as well, as least you can leave them feedback/complain and hopefully get them a 24+ hr ban!

I've also found that the quality of players is better on Xbox Live as well.

And that's without mentioning the most un-ergonomic, non-vibrating controller in the world, or the noise from my 60GB (US spec) PS3 that drowns out my XBox as soon as it does anything other than idle.

However, the PS3 hardware does represent good value for money nowadays (especially if they dropped the price to £199!) and I'm thinking of getting a slim just to act as a BD player/media machine for my divx/wmv movies. Just as long as it's quieter than my 60GB version!

As for Sony lauging all the way to the bank - have they actually made a profit on the PS3 yet?

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Exsqueeze me? Baking powder?

"And that's without mentioning the most un-ergonomic, non-vibrating controller in the world, or the noise from my 60GB (US spec) PS3 that drowns out my XBox as soon as it does anything other than idle."

The PS3 controller is not as ergonomic as the big ol lump on the xbox but you can get vibrating ones, it is also better than it used to be, but unless your hearing is in a range completely different from the rest of us the PS3 is about 10 times quieter than the 360. My PS3 is almost inaudible but the 360 sounds like the wifes hairdryer.

I take you point on the gamers, though i think some of that is down to the fact it is free. Little johnny doesnt need to spend his pocket money on gold if he gets given a ps3. You can still get them banned though (i know as i have got at least two of em kicked off).

I have all the consoles and the PS3 is the only one that gets any regular usage, mainly because it does everything so well. The others dont even remotely compete. The 360 has lots of games, but i dont really play a lot of games. If i were a hardcore gamer i may consider using the 360 more but it is not remotely good enough as an allround entertainment device.

And i bloody hate microsoft which colours my judgement somewhat.

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Badgers

Do all UK Xbox users pay UK TV License?

Are all UK Xbox users paying for UK TV License?

I assume there must be some xbox live iplayer interaction to stop all the "johnny foreigners" from undermining revenue from BBC Worldwide pay/syndication services?

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Anonymous Coward

Nope

A mate of mine has a 360 hooked up to a monitor via HDMI, and no TV/TV license..

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