BBC Trust to discuss open source iPlayer

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The BBC's governing body, the BBC Trust, is to meet the open source trade body that last month threatened to take its complaint over the corporation's soon-to-launch iPlayer to the European Commission unless it is available on every operating system.

Approving the catch-up TV service in May, the Trust said it would audit progress being made to make the iPlayer work on Apple Macs. Now the Trust says it will meet the Open Source Consortium (OSC), which says the iPlayer is favouring Microsoft's operating system since the iPlayer will launch using Microsoft's Windows Media Player.

From July 27 the iPlayer, which will offer online access to TV shows up to seven days after broadcast, will initially be available to PC owners running Microsoft's XP operating system. At the iPlayer's press launch last month, BBC future media and technology director Ashley Highfield said he was "fundamentally committed to universality" and making the iPlayer available to "everyone in the UK who pays their licence fee". An Apple version of the iPlayer is expected in the autumn.

Last month OSC CEO Iain Roberts said the iPlayer's reliance on Microsoft's Windows Media Player needed to be re-examined. "It is very disturbing that the BBC should be using licence payers' money to affect the operating system market in this way.

"Imagine if the BBC were to launch new digital channels, but only make them available on a certain make of television—there would be uproar."

Lovelace Consulting  |  17.07.2007

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