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back to article Inside Secure snatches BBC iPlayer downloads from Adobe

The BBC's mobile iPlayer client, which allows iOS users to download the national broadcaster's programmes for connectionless viewing, is now using digital rights management from embedded solutions player Inside Secure, which should herald the long-promised Android support. iPhone users have been able to download shows since …

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Download? Wait, what? In the discussion about Netflix streaming, the group-think was that always-on mobiles negated the use for downloads.

So is El Beeb behind the times, or just acknowledging the fact that mobile coverage is shit/expensive?

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The latter

Downloading was a late addition after streaming on the mobile platforms.

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JDX
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Re: The latter

Different people have different ideas. Downloading always seems pretty secondary to streaming with iPlayer even though the iPad download functionality is very well executed, I don't know if there are any stats to support that feeling though.

Netflix feel streaming is a big enough market, BBC are tasked with getting their content to license players in as many ways as possible (I suppose), not selling it.

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Re: The latter

It's also nice to have it when streaming isn't an option - eg on a business trip (on a plane without any connection, abroad when you'd fall foul of the IP restrictions and generally when hotel wifi speeds are crap).

It's nice functionality I have on my old netbook (when Adobe AIR doesn't go tits-up and break the whole lot, which is seemingly more than occasionally of late) to pre-load a few shows and chomp through them over the week or so I'm away. Would be even more handy to have on my Nexus 7 too, for sheer portability reasons.

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My internet speed varies from time to time. Sometimes I can watch streaming TV, other times I can't.

The download option is very helpful. I've used it on my PC so I can watch without pausing every few minutes.

Trouble being, I can only watch that download on my PC due to its DRM locking. Would be nice if they even allowed me to watch it on another device such as an Android tablet or a games console, so I can watch from the comfort of my sofa.

Again, the pirates have the advantage. They have a download that works everywhere.

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FAIL

And the Windows Phone version

No mention of that ... anyone want to big up WP here ?

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Re: And the Windows Phone version

Oh god, all the comments on the BBC blogs are from the people with WinPho who want support.

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Trollface

Re: And the Windows Phone version

Only four comments so far then?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And the Windows Phone version

Nobody outside Microsoft actually uses a Windows Phone in the real world, so no problem there. Best concentrate on the two mobile platforms that cater for 99% of the smartphone market....

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JDX
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Re: And the Windows Phone version

Clearly they do use it or people wouldn't be asking.

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Windows

Re: And the Windows Phone version

Spot on SIr...

I use and enjoy my WP and look forward to the day i can use iplayer (the others will all follow suite).

Amazing how many WP protaganists have never actually used one because its an MS product and therefore have nothing of any significance to say.

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Thumb Up

Re: And the Windows Phone version

@cornz 1 - Channel 4 makes a big deal out of the fact that 4oD is available on WP 8.

So all's not lost. :-)

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JDX
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Re: And the Windows Phone version

If 4OD is crap on WP8 at least it will consistent with other platforms.

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BB7, BB10 and the playbook

Playbook browser is excellent for the iplayer website but I'd like to be able to download programmes too. Any chance?

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Anonymous Coward

It's a good job there aren't scripts to download iplayer streams.

Or say, massive ripping groups that record the shows and put them on bittorrent.

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Re: It's a good job there aren't scripts to download iplayer streams.

@AC 15:31:

The de facto ability to do something doesn't negate the desirability of an official, supported way of doing the same thing.

As for "We focus on iOS because of the challenge of supporting multiple Android devices" in the article... yeah, right. As with most other areas, I bet it's more like "The boss, and his boss, and his boss's boss, use iPhones. So you're going to do work that looks useful to them, and we can worry about porting it to that Android thing later, once we're sure they won't shitcan us to save money."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's a good job there aren't scripts to download iplayer streams.

Wonder how much longer they'll work for before they implement this DRM for other delivery types and clients.

You know, because it'll be such a seamless experience and all.

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@Captain Underpants..

Too right. Blaming the withdrawl of flash, when the iPhone never had it to begin with, is completely illogical.

I still think I'll stick to get_iplayer though... A nice uncluttered mp4 I can copy over from my home server (thanks BT infinity) and store/play indefinitely on my phone no matter what flavour I choose.

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JDX
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Re: @Captain Underpants..

iOS has built-in Flash replacement functionality though so there are built-in DRM-friendly ways to do things, surely... does Android?

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Where does this leave get_iplayer?

I was given the impression that get_iplayer was downloading the (non DRM'd?) files meant for iDevices. Was I mistaken or may this break it?

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Re: Where does this leave get_iplayer?

No that was ipdl but they plugged that hole in 2010

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Trollface

It's nice having a phone whose ecosystem isn't a complete cock-up because it means having iplayer for years and it just works.

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Anonymous Coward

What's the point of DRM?

Really.. I mean it.

Does anyone really try and record streamed content on a mobile phone? It's not as if it would be easier, and produce a better quality video file, to, say.... hook up a DVD recorder to your Sky box and record copyright material that way.

What is it with idiots who decide these things? Are they really so stupid as to believe that people will really do it? Just because it's technically possible, doesn't mean it's worth the effort. Some will try, just to prove it can be done... and the majority of people won't care.

Seems the bullshit spouted by Sky, in defence of it's ineptitude with the Sky Go app, has spread to the BBC.

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Re: What's the point of DRM?

Why the downvote? This is spot on.

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Re: What's the point of DRM?

The deciders are the content providers, not the platform providers. And the logic is usually "if you make it straightforward to grab the file for free from a stream/broadcast, you'll seriously damage your future ability to then sell access to the same content on disk - or charge other networks/foreign broadcasters for the rights to do the same".

If you make it unDRM'd on phones, you'd effectively be making it unDRM'd on all platforms. Which I agree would be a nice thing to have, but in the context of current financial models this is viewed as absolutely unthinkable by content owners (and the Beeb gets to have the fun of trying to rationalise the schizophrenic position of being a content creator/owner who's also a content distributor for third party creators who is also also state-owned and therefore has a different mandate to that enjoyed by standard commercial operators").

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JDX
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Re: What's the point of DRM?

iOS means iPad too, and they let you download HD video. It's not just crappy 320x240 res stuff. They want stuff you download to only last X days, and only Y days once you start playing it; the functionality is to let you download to view without WiFi access, not to let you build an offline library.

I don't know why that's the functionality but they own the content so it's kind of their choice (no you don't own it just because you pay TV license).

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Re: What's the point of DRM?

forget the sky box and DVD recorder, we're only talking about BBC here so a DVB-T2 tuner plugged into a PC will get you HD streams recorded directly onto your hard drive.

The point of the DRM is that you are only allowed to watch the programmes for as long as the BBC say you can. At the end of that time period they are deleted. If you want to keep your files for longer, see above.

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@Captain Underpants

The BBC is not state owned.

PS Nor is it state funded

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Windows

Re: @Captain Underpants

No, its just run by the "state". As a political tool....

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Re: @Captain Underpants

@Neil - yes, fine, owned by The Crown and run for the public. However, in the context of the currently-fashionable instance of constitutional monarchy that ostensibly runs the UK, there's not really any difference between that and being state-owned - at least not that I can tell. (Well, aside from the fact that other state owned broadcasters tend not to be of the same calibre as the Beeb, but I think that's more a fluke than down to something special about the nature of The Crown as a corporate holder...).

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Anonymous Coward

BBC Android developers are incompetent.

I wouldn't trust too many of their excuses.

They could have quite easily supported DRM offline viewing for Android 4+ devices 6 months ago, but rather than delivering that, they held it all back because of missing pre-ICS support. Android has now pretty much moved forward, with only legacy handsets running anything older than ICS, so they are now buying in a solution that they could have delivered 6 months ago.

Makes we angry giving my license fee money to then, I think I will cancel and instead use iPlayer to watch everything, including the newly announced iPlayer-exclusive shows. You don't need a TV license for this....

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Re: BBC Android developers are incompetent.

"You don't need a TV license for this...."

Are you sure about that.

IIRC when you start iPlayer for the first time it specifically reminds you that you need a TV licence.

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Re: BBC Android developers are incompetent.

@Steve:

From the UK TV Licencing Terms & Conditions page:

"To use any TV equipment to watch or record TV programmes as they are being shown on television.

This includes watching or recording streamed services and satellite TV broadcast from outside the UK. If you only watch on-demand services, then you don't need a licence." (My emphasis).

For my next trick, I shall explain how to convince the licencing people that my nice Sharp screen is in fact a monitor only receiving video input from my HTPC and definitely not a television, no matter what it says on the box...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: BBC Android developers are incompetent.

Sorry Steve, you are incorrect. When you access iPlayer on a show that is currently being broadcast, you get that warning, but not on shows that are already archived. :-)

The TV licence only applies to watching content being watched live.

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I can't seem to add things up.

Android phones outsell Apple handsets but iOS seems to be the first OS that large companies (except Google) write software for.

Doesn't this seem strange to you? Is it that iOS is an easier to get along with bedfellow or is it through some media sponsorship deal?

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Boffin

I presume...

...it's because the people (managers) spending the money on developiong the apps have iPhones so that's what they want apps developed for first. Often these middle management bods don't realise that you can write one app for Android and it will run on (almost) every Android phone. They tend to assume you will have to write one for Samsungs, one for HTCs, one for Sonys, etc which obviously adds to the cost, and the top brass won't like that...

V.

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@Worm

Think human, not technical - ie it's more a question of "What does the boss/account manager/MD/CEO use?" rather than "What's easier to develop for?".

Questions of cross platform support are greatly exaggerated, but given that iPlayer doesn't need to be as complex as eg some games - since it's just piping in video - the excuses ralating to different android handsets & versions have had the whiff of food after bovine digestion for at least 12 months now...

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Anonymous Coward

Downloading onto android would be nice, but I'd be much more interested in getting things in a higher quality than the sub-SD streams android currently gets. Even midrange phones shipping today commonly do so with 720p screens, and 1080p is the gold standard going forward. 720p streams are readily available on the desktop version of iplayer, so why not the mobile versions?

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Tablets, phablets, slablets...

I've come up with yet another name for these toys that resemble Star Trek TNG pads:

Toylets

Because lets face it, the only stuff we ever fill these things with is crap :)

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a headline loss for Adobe. What next

I think the 'challenge' was getting any proper Android support from Adobe.

Unlike Adobe, Inside Secure only has money to gain by supporting Android.

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IT Angle

The fragmented nature of Android?

"the fragmented nature of Android along with withdrawal of Adobe's mobile flash support appears to have made development difficult"

I'm confused, since the difference between different Androids are mostly cosmetic, how would this negatively impact the developer lifecycle?

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iPlayer Radio

The big news for me is iPlayer Radio on 'droid.

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FAIL

BBC, PLEASE do something..

....to improve iPlayer, I always find it total cr@p to use.

Is it downloading? - Who knows? it might be, or there again, it might not be.

Find a program? - mmm, maybe. If you are lucky.

User interface score: 1 out of 10

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