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Round up: iPlayer on Freesat

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Paul Murphy Paul Murphy | 17:27 UK time, Thursday, 26 November 2009

Yesterday the BBC confirmed the imminent arrival of iPlayer on Freesat. In a double whammy of on demand goodness Freesat viewers will also be able to receive catch up from ITV via the ITV Player. Here's some of the what's being said.

The bad news though, as laid out by The Guardian is that the roll-out starts as:

"... a limited, closed 'beta' version of the iPlayer set to launch on 7 December for "a few hundred" selected users."

There is however some good news for the patient among us:
"Freesat said it was aiming to launch an open beta version of the iPlayer, accessible to around 230,000 Freesat households with compatible set-top boxes, by Christmas."

Digital Spy reported that the popularity of iPlayer on TV platforms was seen as justifying the latest moves. In a detailed report Digital Spy quoted blog regular (and head of TV platforms at the BBC) Rahul Chakkara who:

"...revealed that iPlayer registered 97.2 million programme views during October, with 26% coming via TV platforms rather than the web. He said that the figure gives 'validity' to the BBC's efforts to bring the service to Freesat and other suitable TV platforms."

The Digital Spy piece also pointed out that not all Freesat viewers will be able to access the service:

"When it fully launches, the on-demand platform will be available on all Freesat HD equipment, including integrated TVs, but standard definition receivers will not be able to access it."

And while it's on HD receivers it won't start out as HD:

"Despite the platform only being available on HD receivers, it will not support any HD programming. Chakkara said that the team is adopting a 'crawl first' approach to getting the SD service right before looking into HD. He said that any HD launch would also be dependent on available capacity on the UK's broadband networks due to the much greater bandwidth required for HD streams."

Paul Murphy is the Editor of the Internet blog.

More about Freesat and iPlayer on the web:


  • Comment number 1.

    I think you (the BBC) mean; Freesat STB/receivers will be IP capable - able to connect via a cable or telecoms Internet connection - Freesat will not be broadcasting 'on-demand' BBC iPlayer or ITV Player content via DVB-S I suspect!...

    A slightly misleading headline to say the least, me thinks. :-(

  • Comment number 2.

    Only misleading if you've had your Freesat head under a pillow for the past 2 years.

  • Comment number 3.

    #2. At 09:39am on 27 Nov 2009, Simon Davenport wrote:

    "Only misleading if you've had your Freesat head under a pillow for the past 2 years."

    You mean, like all those who do not yet have Freesat and do not truly understand the technicalities? After all many people still think that 'SKY' own the satellite, on the face of this blog (and, it would appear, on some of the cited websites) many could be mislead into thinking that the iPalyer will be available via 'Freesat', just as some still talk about watching the BBC via 'SKY'...

  • Comment number 4.

    "He said that any HD launch would also be dependent on available capacity on the UK's broadband networks due to the much greater bandwidth required for HD streams."

    But based on what Danielle Nagler says I thought the BBC was able to provide fantastic HD experiences on a tiny bit rate.

  • Comment number 5.

    In reply to comments made @ #4:

    Please do not start that debate up again, this blog is about the IP protocol, not the DVB-S/T transmission systems, if you fail to understand that simple fact you are either woefully under qualified to comment or are intentionally attempting to take this blog way off topic.

  • Comment number 6.

    @5 Yes, I admit it was a facetious comment. Fair cop.

  • Comment number 7.

    N ot sure tis is the right blog I thought I saw another one somewhere where we could leave feedback on iPlayer/Freesat, anyway here goes but if you can point me in a different direction I'd be happy to contribute

    Tech stuff: LG 37LF7700 Freesat Tv, Humax foxsat HDR with latest softare update, Negear DG834G adls router, broadband 2Up to 8Mb - currently achieving 4.2Mb download.

    Just watched the HD version of Day of the Triffids Part 2, Wife was watching stuff on ebay and I had an open remote desktop session to my office.

    The program streamed perfectly for the whole 90 minutes with no stops starts jitters or jumps. I paused the prog once whilst I watched the Euromillions draw (switched to freeview on the 7700 so as not to have to restart iplayer. On returning, the sound continued but the picture was frozen until I pressed left arrow to rewind a little. The picture restarted but at the current position in sync with the sound - not at the rewind position.

    All in all a good experience. Picture quality was better than SD but not as good as broadcast HD (in my opinion - but I'm 62 and wear glasses - so what do I know) a very useful addition to the freesat experience

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?


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