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Round up: Tuesday 6 July 2010

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Nick Reynolds Nick Reynolds | 11:30 UK time, Tuesday, 6 July 2010

When David Madden blogged that the iPlayer was now available on certain Google Android devices in June there was a discussion in comments which referred to (among other things) an unsupported third party app called beebPlayer.

Dave Johnston who made beebPlayer has now clarified a few points, in a post on his own blog: "Beebplayer's secret sauce". Here's some extracts:

The new iPlayer site does a much better job at providing a good experience for Android users than beebPlayer ever could have - not only are the streams it uses designed specifically for Android phones, but because of this they're higher quality and less likely to break at the merest sign of a lost bit or byte... The fact the new site is limited to Flash-enabled devices is a sore-spot, but I can understand this requirement and its benefits, as well as its current and future limitations. RTSP (mobile/beebPlayer) isn't exactly an ideal alternative if you have a level of service you wish to maintain, something RTMP (Flash) is far better at providing, especially across multiple different platforms... Despite what many people assumed, beebPlayer did not use the higher-quality iPhone MP4 streams - which are simply not quite compatible with Android (but only by a whisker - while Android phones are easily capable of playing the streams, they just don't quite understand the QuickTime container used.)

Last week paidContent revealed via a Freedom of Information request; "BBC iPlayer Costs At Least £5.2 Million A Year"


Meanwhile Anthony Rose, the man behind BBC iPlayer has been out and about talking about his new role at Project Canvas:

When asked what the priorities for Canvas were now that it had been given the go ahead by the BBC Trust, Rose said: "The priority for Canvas is to start building the sucker."

paidContent has read the BBC's Annual Report: "BBC Websites Cost Users £0.67 Per Month".


And Tom Service at the Guardian is very pleased that the BBC Proms Archive has now gone live in Beta:

Years of work by oxygen-starved BBC minions working in digital bunkers have resulted in the details of every single Prom ever performed - all 7,168 of them since Henry Wood first brought his baton down on a promenade concert in 1895 - being available now for your anorak-clad pleasure. At the click of a mouse, you can instantly discover the dates, times, soloists, conductors of the seven performances so far of Mahler's Eighth Symphony...


Nick Reynolds (pictured above in his 'digital bunker') is Social Media Executive, BBC Online.


  • Comment number 1.

    "BBC iPlayer Costs At Least £5.2 Million A Year"

    Isn't £5.2 million pound a year enough to make it handle interlaced content or content >25p?

  • Comment number 2.

    I seem to be having problems with the iplayer site on my Nexus One - I can't find the options to watch live TV or live radio. Where do I find these?

  • Comment number 3.

    Of course, I meant "or listen to live radio".

  • Comment number 4.

    I suspect the iPlayer service in reality costs several orders of magnitude more than this - hosting and data processing costs alone will be huge, never mind the costs of continual development of the different ways of accessing iPlayer. Either way though, the value for money is well over and above most many large private sector corporations can deliver for the investment.

    @1. HD1080 - do you really need to bring every thread back to this topic? It's not like you haven't made this point over and over again.

  • Comment number 5.

    Had a look through the annual report and couldn't see any tabulated audience share stats for the year. Up to a couple of years ago, there were nicely laid out tables, comparing average weekly shares with previous years and other channels. More recently, there have been brief bar graphs but this year, nothing (unless I've missed them!). Any chance of a link to where they can be found?


  • Comment number 6.

    @rsf77 Yes I do :) I will keep bringing it up until the issue is fixed. It is the major thing that needs fixing. If they are really spending that many millions of pounds they can afford to fix this major issue. It's the one basic thing the iPlayer is supposed to do - play back video - all the other things are added functions.

    Not being able to play back video properly (in the formats being shot) is a major thing wrong with it and we are getting HALF the video playback motion quality cameras are shooting in today (and reduced spatial resolution). Video is about moving pictures and if they can't move at the correct speed (because the BBC iplayer only supports half the rate) then it will add unnecessary judder/bad motion to what would otherwise be good quality video.

  • Comment number 7.

    As Dave Johnston points out, the Apple streams are almost compatible with Android.

    So, why not make them *fully* compatible and kill two birds with one stone? Both iOS and Android devices can play the underlying format, so why not remove the Quicktime MOV wrapper so both can use the same streams.

    A far better solution than using Flash which won't run on older Android phones (even if they get Froyo).

    I really would like an official response from the BBC about the demise of BeebPlayer. Did the BBC ask for BeebPlayer's removal from the Android Market and, if so, why.

    There is another iPlayer app on the Market (myPlayer). Is this likely to be killed off too? If not, why not?

    ( I don't want myPlayer removed, but I would like to know why BeebPlayer was killed off and how (or if) it differs in the eyes of the BBC Lawyers from myPlayer).

    My aim is to create a BeebPlayer replacement with better facilities than

  • Comment number 8.

    Myplayer has been removed, and as iPlayer doesn't work on the HD2 the BBC has disenfranchised me.

    Erm, own goal?

  • Comment number 9.

    its probably just a mistake..they did tell us 14 million "customers downloads" had used iplayer...oops sorry i mean 3 million..easy done..


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