The BBC's free catch-up TV service, BBC iPlayer, will launch on July 27. Announcing the date, BBC director of future media and technology Ashley Highfield said the online service would underpin the BBC's Creative Future strategy and "maintain the BBC's relevance among all audiences in the digital age".
The BBC's governing body, the BBC Trust, approved the iPlayer last month. Earlier this week a trade body representing companies providing services built on open source software accused the BBC of forcing consumers to use Microsoft's operating system since the iPlayer will launch using Microsoft's Windows Media Player. Highfield said developing a version of the iPlayer for Apple Macs was "absolutely on our critical path".
Highfield continued: "We're also committed to making it available on the television screen, which is why we are delighted to be working with Virgin Media towards a launch on cable later this year. We are hopeful that other TV platforms will follow soon after. Our vision is for BBC iPlayer to become a universal service available not just over the internet, but also on cable and other TV platforms, and eventually on mobiles and smart handheld devices.
"Your favourite programmes from all the BBC's network TV channels will be available to download over the internet, and watch on your PC without advertising for up to a week after transmission."
The iPlayer is currently being trialled in a closed environment by 15,000 people. After July 27 the trial will be opened to any UK user before a full marketing launch in the autumn. Extra features will be added to BBC iPlayer, such as streaming on-demand and series stacking (which allows users to download episodes from selected series retrospectively).
Lovelace Consulting | 27.06.2007