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Open Post: Autumn 2011

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Ian McDonald Ian McDonald | 11:40 UK time, Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Middle-aged man standing in front of

Ronnie Barker as Albert Arkwright in "Open All Hours"

It’s time for another in the series of open posts.

So what can you comment about on this post?

Everything covered on BBC Internet blog and more – anything you want to discuss or ask about the online activities of the domestic, public service BBC. And some issues are still being discussed, the iPlayer for PS3, BBC Homepage and the DSat7 migration, so while you can talk about these I’d prefer you to talk about them on posts which are still open.

Constructive relevant comments are welcome. Sometimes Open Posts succeed in finding problems and raising them with the right people – for example the correct channeling of complaints regarding blogs. Open Posts are a chance to me to hear what you'd like more or less of on the internet blog. But this isn't a messageboard - a place for freeranging discussion about absolutely everything the BBC does (for that, try the Points of View message boards).

The complaints site, moderation appeals process, and iPlayer help site are useful if you have a complaint, a blocked post you want reversed, or a problem with iPlayer. If you've tried those routes and there's a problem with the routes (rather than the response you got) then please say.

I can't actually descend from my airship, kidnap BBC executives, and force them to blog or comment. I do commit to try to answer your questions. If lots of you ask, I can let folk inside the BBC know that the audience are clamouring for them to blog and comment. It is unlikely that I'll be able to pre-announce something, or to release statistics on request, but it is good to know the demand.

There are a couple of things you could do to help me:

  • If you are want to cite a BBC statement or commitment, please say what you're referring to, with a link if possible. This saves time, and can resolve things if there's been a misunderstanding.
  • Finally, it will help me if you try to keep separate topics in separate comments. If I can say to an someone within the BBC "Comments #3 and #92" are for you, that makes it easier to get an answer than if I have to split up an edit comments.

Thanks, and I look forward to hearing what you have to say.


Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Why does iPlayer still not support keyboard shortcuts, like space to pause? Almost every other flash-based video player does, and it'd make it far easier to pause what you're watching to/listening to quickly without having to fiddle with the mouse.

    Also, it'd work with programs that turn remote control inputs into keyboard inputs!

  • Comment number 2.

    When are the BBC going to address the bugs and serious deficiencies in the Android iPlayer app?

    Sound frequently out of synch with video.
    Transport controls often stay on screen, obscuring a large part of the picture.
    Frequently exits halfway through playback.
    Frequent "white screen" when attempting to start playback.

    Serious deficiencies:
    Cannot resume playback when interrupted to answer phone.
    Cannot play radio in background or with screen off.
    Cannot be used on low to mid-range handsets.
    Cannot be used over 3G / save for later viewing (it is a mobile app, for pity's sake!)

    The above issues have been reported time, and time, and time again on the "comments" for the app on the Market, yet no action, or even acknowledgement, of these problems from the BBC.

  • Comment number 3.

    Four iPlayer questions ...

    1. FULL SCREEN Live TV as promised YEARS ago when the new Desktop manager was launched still hasn't appeared, when are we to get this?

    2. HD Live streaming ... when?

    3. Sony BR fault ... Not seeing programme titles in Play Bar and Radio identification and screen saver not working, has been like this for weeks now, when will it be fixed?

    4. EMail iPlayer support, next to useless, replies take days to arrive just as programmes are (or even have been) deleted. Same day response would be marvellous, as if you need to be told of this.

  • Comment number 4.


    @ChrisCornwall. Thanks for your comment.

    Could you give a bit more detail about your understanding that "full screen live TV" was promised years ago? A link to a press release or blog post would be best, but could I ask who said this and when?

  • Comment number 5.

    It was referred to and a mockup shown when the latest version was launched, in the relevant blog. The BBC Search engine can't find it.

  • Comment number 6.

    Are there any plans to update the news micro-sites such as Breakfast (ie. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/breakfast ) to use/redirect to the programme page (ie. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006v5tb ). I seem to recall there are plans to axe most of the news programme micro-sites.

    Also when reading this blog I can't help wondering whether the 'red button' entries would be more suited to the TV blog. As the red button is used only by TV users I would have thought it would be more logical to post what's on info in that blog.

  • Comment number 7.

    Please, make links to mp3 live streams (.pls format) of your radio stations available for playback on the iPhone. Playback via the mobile iPlayer is not always ideal.

  • Comment number 8.


    It's not in most recent BBC Internet Blog post about a new version of iPlayer desktop - in fact, you made a similar comment then. Without further detail - such as a link - it's hard to progress that specific question.

  • Comment number 9.

    @3,4,5,8: do you mean this post, where under heading 10 live tv on the desktop is described?

  • Comment number 10.

  • Comment number 11.

    Do we have a definitive list anywhere of service providers, smartphones/devices, together with various OS that will support iPlayer streaming and/or downloads that we can reference before buying a phone/device?
    If their isn't one, could one be created? This of course could extend to other iPlayer platforms so as not to fall foul of competition rules.

  • Comment number 12.

    @Egg On a Stilt (#11)

    There is an overview for devices on all four screens at BBC iPlayer Help: Where to get iPlayer, including mobile, with a table of what you can do on each phone/network and an explanation of transferring a show from computer to phone.

    Is this what you were looking for?



  • Comment number 13.

    @ChrisCornwall @Piet

    Thanks for finding & confirming the post.

  • Comment number 14.


    Thanks for your comment. I'm a product manager for the News team, responsible for our programme websites.

    We are intending to migrate most BBC News programme websites out of /news and into the new /programmes templates in the coming months. We're still working through the finer details, but look forward to BBC News programmes living in the same part of BBC Online as other BBC programme brands.

  • Comment number 15.

    You shouldn't be up in an airship. You should be down here, listening to what people have to say.

  • Comment number 16.

    Todays news has highlighted the ever increasing world population, with figures estimated at 200,000 births per day. For many people this is frightening prospect, I wonder why the BBC have not thought of researching the number of the world's population that die each day from all events. I tend to notice that many journalists are guilty of this type unecessary scare mongering.

    Keith Trotman

  • Comment number 17.

    @Ian: I hope you know that "on all four screens" is BBC speech and might really mean nothing to the wider audience. It is just a marketing slogan for your unified services.

  • Comment number 18.

    @Keith, thank you for your comment.

    The Editor's blog covers the BBC's journalism; it's off-topic here. The Newswatch contact page describes how to feed back comments on BBC News.

  • Comment number 19.

    Ian, @12, it might be helpful for us viewers if the roadmap documents were clearly published and linked. Could it also be said that lightening up a little on the C&Ds where a BBC-developed client is *not* available would go a long way towards regaining a little of that mindshare when there was more open R&D? For instance, there are projects for the less-used mobiles and pocket computers (such as the Nokia N900 and N950 - a Hildonised iPlayer client would be good)... extending iplayer onto SPARC-based Linux kit... and maybe offering some kind of dev assistance to the FOSS community would help?

    Also maybe offer a clear, open process where private developers and the FOSS community *could* get native iPlayer clients approved/whitelisted? As this has been the main cause of frustration around plugin development for XBMC, Roku etc. You have people who want to help where the Beeb can't afford to go in... and they want to also be legit...

  • Comment number 20.

    I listen to Podcasts on my Android Phone using the Google Listen App linked to my Google Reader account. Works great _except_ for the Wake Up To Money podcast. I have had sporadic problems over a long period with a "file not found" error, but this now seems to be a permenant error. It is only this podcast that does not work and my list includes numerous other BBC feeds. The last one of these that sucessfully downloaded was the 21st October. If I go to the podcats via Google Reader it works fine. I suspect there is a fault with the XML file somewhere but I have noway of debugging it.

    No one wants to know or else they simply blame the app (telling me to unsubscibe and resubscribe - why that would help I do not know) without really investigating it. I have a case number CAS-719484-VR07Z4 but of course there is no way of following this up.

  • Comment number 21.

    Many important news stories (I include those from current affairs programmes) now appear only in video. I can read far faster than viewing, and am half deaf. Could you please explain the policy about this particularly in relation to accessibility but also why I should not get my news from the newspapers instead.

    PS an idea... you can't quote video!even a rough transcript from the subtitles where available would help!

  • Comment number 22.

    The search engine doesn't appear to work consistently with 'industry standard' tools (" " + -) It is supposed to?

  • Comment number 23.


    [I put this on the POV BBC messageboard and it was suggested that I post it here as well - so here it is!]

    Just a few thoughts on 'subtitles' on iPlayer.

    I have taken to watching a lot of programmes with the sound off and the subtitles on. This is because of the awful plinking and drumming that goes on incessantly during the current genre of programmes.

    In fact it is quite OK to use the subtitles instead of the sound to get round this problem, but.....

    The subtitles are probably a bit larger than they need to be. They are very clear using the same glasses as for the picture. However the current rather wide screen format means that sometimes they occupy most of the bottom quarter of the picture. This wouldn't be quite such a problem with the old aspect ratio (4/3, or whatever)

    If they were a bit smaller they could be mostly put in one line of text instead of two or even three. This would correspond more to the way they try to do them on DVDs.

    They also tend to clash with peoples names etc. when they are flashed up on screen during documentaries, so you can't read the name or job title.

    Is there any particular reason why a person's name etc can't be put 'top left' instead of 'bottom left'. Then the subtitles would be clear and readable and so would the name of the contributor to the programme.

    By the way - just watched a programme on the National Grid, and the subtitles said Sizewell cost £1000 billion....don't think so somehow! I did try that bit with the sound but you couldn't hear what the guy was saying because of the plinking.

  • Comment number 24.

    I have just tried to access iPlayer on my Nokia N900 - which I have been able to do int he past in order to stream.. and I am dismayed to find out that you are locking mobile devices like the N900 (which can play your content) based on user agents. Please could you explain why you are blocking kit which, while it may not have been Certified And Paid By Manufacturers... was perfectly capable of outputting your content as a workaround.

    I found myself having to install a tool that pretended to be an iPhone in order to be able to browse the player.. but was still unable to play content- the N900 has a full implementation of Flash - why have you locked it out?

  • Comment number 25.

  • Comment number 26.

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

  • Comment number 27.

    For radio items, has iPlayer dropped the option to listen in console mode intentionally, or is it just a temporary fault?


  • Comment number 28.

    Sorry, ignore my #27 - I've discovered the repositioned icon on the new layout!


  • Comment number 29.

    Just to give you a headsup - and also to complain a little... I've already filed a complaint for this.. but the new Embedded Media Client v3 is interacting with live bugs in Flash 11 on Linux - visible when you're using NVIDIA ION chipsets.. Trying to access transport controls can and does cause the video to freeze, often making it impossible to recover.

    Please could you consider moving the transport controls to below the video playback window - as before? As this will then reduce the interaction with Stage Video bugs, but still allow hardware accel to run - as the latter is critical when using netbooks.

  • Comment number 30.

    Further to my comments about Stage Video and the hiding of the transport controls - please be aware that Adobe saw fit to completely disable accelerated rendering on Flash 11 for Linux; they'll use an NVIDIA GPU for accelerated H264 *decoding*, but the overlaying of the transport controls on top of the video frame will cause video to freeze and lock at that point in the programme, while audio continues. Reason for this - the video rendering is being done by the CPU.. which on Intel Atom-based netbooks will max out the thing completely.

    My Ideapad S12 is only about 2 years old - everything ran happily under the old iPlayer (I think I even tested after I downloaded the new Flash update)..

    Adobe hope to get Stage 3D running in the future... but the performance is hopeless on lightweight kit. May I suggest that use of Stage 3D is held back until Adobe has got its act together?

  • Comment number 31.

    Just to add another voice disappointed by the blocking of n900 users to iplayer. Used to work fine for me, now it redirects to the mobile version and tells me it won't work. Well it used to work fine...

  • Comment number 32.

    @cping500 re comment 22 - BBC Search.

    Hello, I'm the editor of BBC Search. Essentially the answer to your question is - no it doesn't work with the 'industry standard' search tools you mentioned, and no it isn't supposed to.

    There is an option to filter search results from news and sport according to media (text, video, audio), date range, or order (newest first). You can see these options by selecting a category from the menu on the left of the search results page once you have made an initial search query.

  • Comment number 33.

    I tried playing out a few programmes on my netbook today (spec is Lenovo Ideapad S12, Intel Atom N270, NVIDIA ION 1 GPU, Ubuntu 10.04LTS) - owing to Adobe's changes (ripping out Stage 3D from Linux versions of Flash 11), iPlayer is now completely unusable on NVIDIA-based kit running Linux.

    This is completely unacceptable.

    This thread describes issues Ubuntu and Mint users are having - http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1659949&highlight=iplayer

    Flash 10.3 behaved - as there is not a packaged version in the repositories, I have asked Canonical to package it up... but the changes to iPlayer really need to be reverted..

  • Comment number 34.

    New complaint filed on iPlayer website - copied to DigitalSpy - http://forums.digitalspy.co.uk/showthread.php?p=54266368

  • Comment number 35.

    BBC case number with iPlayer team is 1084738 for complaint in post 34.

    Related to posts 29, 30, 33, and 34.

  • Comment number 36.

    Would it be possible to whitelist the iPlayer plugin for Totem to work around the issue with Adobe Stage Video logic? Let Totem under Ubuntu have direct access to the H264 and AAC streams again?
    This package under Ubuntu - http://packages.ubuntu.com/lucid/totem-plugins

  • Comment number 37.

    ... any answers to my issues raised earlier?

  • Comment number 38.

    Re iPlayer incident 1084738 (Related to posts 29, 30, 33, and 34.) the Canonical/Ubuntu incident number is 177852 - https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/177852

    BBC please investigate and fix... even if it means hassling Adobe or giving us a workaround via the Totem player...

  • Comment number 39.

    @ChrisCornwall and others. I had forwarded your questions to the relevant teams, and am following up.

  • Comment number 40.

    @39 Ian McDonald.

    I really would like some kind of answer to my question (2). I was "enjoying" the spectacle of David Attenborough's mouth moving 4 or 5 SECONDS after I heard his voice while attempting to watch The Frozen Planet last night.

    It really is astonishing that NASA can get a 34 year old spacecraft (Voyager 2) that is 14.5 BILLION km from earth and travelling at 56,000 kph to reply in 26 hours, while getting a straight answer out of the BBC is nigh on impossible.

  • Comment number 41.

    When will the BBC Web Site begin to support open media formats, such as WebM, for it's embedded Video and Audio clips?

    With the news today that Adobe is (expected) to abandon development of Flash Player on ALL mobile devices, the move to HTML5 and fully "open" (thus not H.264) technologies is becoming more urgent, lest half your content will not be accessible on any mobile device in the near future - it's already like that for most of us anyway.

    Not so bothered about iPlayer, as that isn't something I want to watch on mobile devices (whereas I do want to see/hear the news articles) but eventually that situation will need to be addressed also.

  • Comment number 42.

    Given Adobe's annoucement today that they will no longer be developing Flash for any mobile devices (http://blogs.adobe.com/conversations/2011/11/flash-focus.html%29 how will this effect BBC iPlayer support on Android and platforms that currently lack an official app?

  • Comment number 43.

    Maybe the FOSS community could get involved? Seems as though the Beeb are lightening up on the syndication policy - http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/our_work/other/ondemand_syndication_revised.shtml

    A few people here are asking for an API - so that playout clients can connect. Now - if this was developed and released under an open licence... playback clients can be developed independently of the Beeb, as long as they followed a set of guidelines/policies..

    Paul, Dink - you still reading? Possibly plugin clients can be developed... and the Beeb could let us see the H264 and AAC feeds - etc... would be clearly ID'd as Beeb content if it's coming in through a distinct plugin..

  • Comment number 44.

    @43 Alex Cockell

    I would imagine that the BBC will migrate iPlayer to Adobe AIR, which they will continue to support. At least it means that I will only need one lump of memory hogging bloatware on my device instead of two. Currently iPlayer uses Flash, while ITVPlayer uses AIR.

    As for dreams of an open API? While I think it would be a great idea, and what the BBC, as a licence funded PSB, should be doing, I doubt this will come to pass. The BBC currently produces streams that are, if not open, then, at least well known and usable by most devices "out of the box". These are the 3GP streams.

    The fact that iPlayer content is available in 3GP format, but is actively blocked by the BBC unless it is requested from a Nokia device speaks volumes about the BBC's protectionist policy. BeebPlayer tapped into these streams, and we know what happened to that.

    The BBC provide an open iPlayer API? You are more likely to see a flock of Gloucestershire Old Spots flying south for the winter......

  • Comment number 45.

    32. At 12:53 4th Nov 2011, Helen Groom wrote:
    @cping500 re comment 22 - BBC Search.

    Hello, I'm the editor of BBC Search. Essentially the answer to your question is - no it doesn't work with the 'industry standard' search tools you mentioned, and no it isn't supposed to.

    So the obvious question not answered is "why not?"

    I find the search facility accross BBC online very flaky and unpredictable. It is frustrating to know for sure that there is some content on the site, but you can't locate it using the BBC search system because of its inadequacies, and you can't resort to Google because the BBC haven't enabled its content to be visible.


  • Comment number 46.

    @44, Epolynous Cowherd - have you read through the PDFs on that page I linked? Appears that they ARE looking again...

    As for running iPlayeron AIR - Adobe are withdrawing from Linux support for AIR... so that would be a massively retrograde step..

  • Comment number 47.

    @46 Alex Cockell:

    ***"have you read through the PDFs on that page I linked? "***

    I did, indeed. I can see nothing that requires, or even encourages the BBC to provide an open iPlayer platform.

    The basic issue is that the "rights holders" are holding the BBC reins. They will not permit the BBC to stream their content in any way, manner or form that provides even the slightest risk that that content could be copied (ignoring the fact that that self same content has already be broadcast in unencrypted MPEG2).

    There are a number of Android news apps that access the BBC news feeds. These are subject to the same syndication rules that the BBC alleged BeebPlayer and MyPlayer breached. Yet the BBC hasn't sent the lawyers in against them. This suggests that serious outside pressure was put on the BBC to conduct an action that:

    1. Could have potentially cost a lot of money (had they had to fight in court)
    2. Has denied access to iPlayer content to many licence payers.
    3. Has shown the BBC in a very bad light and created a lot of anger against it. This isn't helped by the "official" app being notably inferior to those the BBC killed off.

    Why would the BBC shoot itself in its own foot in this way unless it was "encouraged" to do so?

    My assumption, sadly, will be that if the BBC cannot provide a method of providing content that the rights holders are happy with for a particular platform, then iPlayer on that platform will cease, not because it isn't possible to "do" iPlayer, but because there won't be anything to watch (because the rights holders will refuse access).

  • Comment number 48.

    But if the stuff is watermarked and DOG'd on the way out? Possibly even release the plugins under BSD type licences that would permit recompilation onto different platforms? Go after people through legal means if content is seeded?

    99% of the linux community only want to WATCH the content... It's pretty stupid of the Beeb to get themselves beholden to other high-level companies like this... and pretty dumb of the "rights-holders" to think this way as well...

    Hopefully the Beeb will listen to IPVision's comments... and maybe make it easier for plugins to be developed... especially when Adobe make stupid decisions like ripping out Stage Video rendering support for NVIDIA ION on Linux from Flash. Hopefully developing a VLC, Totem or XBMC plugin would be acceptable to them.. or a Maemo/Meego UI by people who know that platform... and could then use better rendering code than Adobe's.. if its available...

    The way I read all the supporting docs, it sounds like the Trust may have *started* to understand... here's hoping they can lean on the BBC Exec.. and they can also get the rightsholders to see more sense...

    Let people view it legitimately through open or semi-open APIs on devices and apps of their choosing - you'll have fewer people torrenting it...

    That "linking system" as they themselves described it has a lot going for it... I've already emailed my suggestion.

  • Comment number 49.

    There is now a revised BBC Trust policy on Syndication of On Demand content. In summary:

    In the revised policy, the Trust has set out a number of principles with which all syndication arrangements must comply. These include:

    - Ensuring that licence fee payers have easy and timely access to the full range of BBC on-demand content;
    - Content is easily identifiable as BBC content, and is subject to editorial control by the BBC;
    - BBC content should only be available in appropriate places and contexts;
    - Content should be high quality – for example easy to use, with high picture and audio quality;
    - Content should be accessed free of charge and free from advertising and sponsorship; and
    - There should be access to parental controls and accessibility features, such as subtitling and audio description.

    You can find more on the BBC Trust page on this subject.
  • Comment number 50.

    @48 Alex Cockell:

    ***"Let people view it legitimately through open or semi-open APIs on devices and apps of their choosing - you'll have fewer people torrenting it..."***

    yes, exactly. I understand this. You understand this. I imagine even most of the people involved with iPlayer at the BBC understand this.

    The trouble is the "rights holders" don't. They insist on DRM. DRM relies on "Security by obscurity" which requires a closed platform.

    They do not see that all they are doing is shutting the door after the horse has bolted. All I want to be able to do is watch a low bandwidth stream on my mobile over 3G (BeebPlayer let me do this), but the "rights holders" don't want even this "in the clear".

    It just seems mind bogglingly stupid that they try to control low bandwidth mobile streams, which are of no interest to "pirates", while HD versions of the same programmes (which are of interest to pirates) are captured from Freesat or Freeview HD and slapped on BitTorrent.

    Until these people change their mindset, it doesn't matter what the Trust decide or the BBC implement. If the producer of a particular programme says "only via Flash / AIR / Quicktime / other closed format", then that's the only way you will see it.

    In other words, because of the attitude of these people, even if the BBC produced an open iPlayer API, there would be very little to watch on it because the rights holders won't permit their content to be distributed by it.

  • Comment number 51.

    Umm - authentication layer? Licence number captured and then a watermark is generated at playout based on the licence number, requesting IP address, date and time? That way - if it's captured then seeded... you know where it's come from.

    IIRC, that's how one web-based training site that offered custom printing of manuals did it... the print job was headed "(manual) printed for (user)".

    Users who'd grabbed and torrented the stream could be nabbed after the fact then...
    There are *so many* ways this could be done - and still be FOSS-friendly...

  • Comment number 52.


    We have been trying to watch Strictly Come Dancing on the PS3 iPlayer, but have now given up, and have switched to the old Wii version of the player.

    The reason? Buffering... Our BT broadband connection scores a consistent 6Mo/sec, yet it is impossible to watch anything in SD or HD. It just buffers all the time, sometimes for a few seconds, sometimes for minutes, sometimes for ever...

    Is this a known issue? Or are we doing something wrong? The PS3 is streaming via Wifi, but that shouldn't be a problem, surely? It works great on the Wii! How disappointing...

    Thank you,


  • Comment number 53.

    @51 Alex Cockell:

    ***"There are *so many* ways this could be done - and still be FOSS-friendly"***

    Again, you know this, I know this, most technically literate people know this.

    The trouble is, the people who have the say as to whether a certain programme can be distributed using a particular format don't.

    The question isn't whether something is technically feasible, the problem is in convincing the rights holders that this is so, and those people are arch conservatives with regards to "new media". You would have better luck selling snow to Eskimos.

  • Comment number 54.

    @cping500 (#21, re Video on the news website).

    Steve Herrmann, Editor of the BBC News Website, responded:

    Thank you for your question about stories appearing in video not text. In fact the principle for news stories on the BBC News website is that they are almost always produced in text.

    In addition, we sometimes add audio or video clips, or TV packages, to the text story where relevant.

    We are aware that there are still many people who prefer text stories to video on the site, and we take care to ensure that important or interesting news stories are available in text, not just video. We also try to make sure that the video has a link to the relevant text story.

    Regarding your point about transcripts, currently we do not think the level of accuracy would be high enough to automate the process across the board. However, providing manually generated transcripts is something we try to do when we have pre-filmed material and the time to do it, but on daily news we do not have the resources to do it routinely.
  • Comment number 55.

    Hallo Ian

    I've asked before, so here's hoping:

    The address on bbc.co.uk/complaints still has the wrong postcode. It ought to read DL1 9JS - check my working by putting that postcode in the Address Finder on the Royal Mail website and please ask Audience Services to publish the correct address Online, on Red Button Digital Text and on Ceefax?

    The addresses for MediaCity UK on http://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/buildings/north_west.shtml still give Manchester as the Posttown when the BBC is in Salford now.

  • Comment number 56.

    Could someone tell me what cookie controls the retention of the 'My Stations' list in the RadioPlayer console. (I prevent my bbc cookies being deleted when clearing a browser cache, but it doesn't seem to help keep the RadioPlayer console settings, and the behaviour of the My Stations settings doesn't seem to depend on whether I'm logged in or logged out.)


  • Comment number 57.

    I'd like to ask why Android devices can no longer stream via 3g, the app is pretty awful so I have always watched through the android browser but this no longer seems to work, even over wifi. Why is this? How can the BBC justify restricting access?

  • Comment number 58.

    @57 Markle:

    You wouldn't believe how many times I have asked the BBC about the "pretty awful" Android iPlayer client. See my post (2) for what I believe to be the main issues.

    I have asked here, on the (now defunct) iPlayer forums, via eMail, on the Android market comments and via the iPlayer "support" links. I have been asking for answers to these basic questions:

    Are the BBC aware of these problems?
    When (or will they) be fixed?

    In 8 months of asking I have heard nothing. Zilch. Nada. Not even an acknowledgement that they are even aware of these issues.

  • Comment number 59.

    ... four weeks tomorrow, this was posted and I entered an enquiry into the discussion. Any news as to when my points will be addressed and replied to?

    Point 4 seems all too relevant to this further request.

  • Comment number 60.

    @58 Eponymous Cowherd said:

    In 8 months of asking I have heard nothing. Zilch. Nada. Not even an acknowledgement that they are even aware of these issues.

    But on the 5th August, in the comments on the previous Open Post, I passed on a message from mobile Executive Producer David Madden, who said:
    We're aware of the problems in the BBC iPlayer Android App. We are working on a fix which should improve your playback experience.
  • Comment number 61.

    Ian - re my posts around the frustration in the Linux community especially when trying to use iPlayer on low-power kit like single-core Atom netbooks - which are sitting there with powerful GPUs nto being used.. due to a decision made by Adobe...

    I've submitted my views to the Trust already - but is there any update on possibly whitelisting plugins for native Linux media playback applications which would be making better use of accelerated video on GPUs that Adobe have overlooked? Or making it easy for the open-source community to develop playback clients that could then hand off to iPlayer backends for playout?

    Currently, the only way to watch iPlayer content through Flash is to chuck lots of CPU at it... but if there are better-written tools out there, how about enabling the devs to help you enhance where other devs fail?

    Would be nice ot see iPlayer plugins for Linux media players... and possibly an iPlayer equiv for CuteTube...

  • Comment number 62.

    Ian, re @60 - would be good if there was an update on how they were getting on...

  • Comment number 63.


    Why, on a mature product, do the Blogs still require 5 clicks and 2 scrolls before I can get to the last posted comment? When 90% of the users go to the last comment and not the original text surely the priority should be to have the last comment at the top, or at least a "go to the last comment" button? Everyone lese can design this function..why can't the BBC?

  • Comment number 64.

    Hi OfficerDibble - comments are configured differently in different parts of the BBC. On BBC News stories for example most recent comments are at the top.

    My view is that comments on this blog need to be read in context and therefore the best way to display them is most recent at the end. This is what happens on BBC message boards. It encourages people to read other comments and the content of the blog post itself before reacting and commenting.

    Also you can click on the "last" button which appears when comments go over the 100 mark, which will take you to the last page of comments. Not perhaps ideal, but not I think 5 clicks.

    We think about this kind of thing regularly and are always open to suggestions.


  • Comment number 65.

    @ 60 Ian McDonald

    David Madden also stated (actually right under the section you quoted) that he would be be making a blog post about the Android iPlayer issues.

    I have searched for this to no avail. Do you have a link to it?

  • Comment number 66.

    nick said:

    When there are 500+ comments do you expect us to read all of them each time we visit? No. The click to the blog, scroll to the bottom of the text, click to last, scroll (repeatedly) to the bottom (or near the bottom because the bottom is occupied by superfluous guff) - a LOT of clicking -unless you have an iPhone in which case RSI in a short time.

    Just give us a one button, at the top, "last post"

    Other professional platforms get the navigation right - why can't you?

  • Comment number 67.

    can you also show where the link to the HomePage comments/outrage Blog is on the new HomePage? It seems to have disappeared mysteriously....

  • Comment number 68.

    .... and the wait goes on!

  • Comment number 69.

    Nick says it wasn't him. I guess that's all we'll get.

  • Comment number 70.

    It's certainly strange that the link to the Home Page blog has been removed from the Home Page itself on 1 December 2011.

    I shouldn't read anything sinister in it, but when large organisations start covering up bad press it usually means they're embarrassed. When it's the BBC and we have a right to reply enshrined in a BBC Charter, it becomes difficult to comprehend.

    Whoever has restricted access to the blog (by essentially deleting an easily accessible link) is possibly operating in a way which senior BBC executives will find quite disturbing.

    Rightly or wrongly, we all have a right to reply to the BBC, and it may be these rights are deliberately being restricted to a technically competent minority.

  • Comment number 71.

    Hi Dreyfuss - there's nothing strange or sinister about this. The Home Page team decided what is promoted and linked to from the Home Page. They do this on the basis or editorial relevance and the key stories and content at a particular time.

    Possibly they decided that other stories or content (for example the economy) were more important than the BBC changing its home page.

    On the Home Page there is still a prominent link to a page explaining the new home page in detail with many options for people to submit feedback on it.


  • Comment number 72.

    Last month we saw the launch of the new radio homepage, the new complaints homepage, the new press office homepage and the new general homapage.

    It was striking that the new mobile radio homepage and the new general homepage used a different masthead from the GEL, and therefore different from the masthead used on the new press office homepage and complaints homepage.

    Is this the end to a uniform GEL?

    I already started asking this with the launch of the new radio homepage and am still waiting on an explenation.

  • Comment number 73.

    It's an interesting comment Nick (71), but on 2 December 2011 there are no links to the economy on any one of the 12 scrolling pages.

    There are however, multiple links to Strictly and Masterchef (repeats, of course).

    I think we know the editorial approach of the Home Page team now. The charge for the door when that next position at Hello magazine is available will be deafening...

  • Comment number 74.


    As host of the Internet Blog, it's always heartwarming to hear people complain that blog posts aren't given enough prominence on the hompage.

    But I've got to accept that there are other bits of BBC content (such as Merkel pushes Euro fiscal union, currently on the home page) competing for that space.

    Because there is an existing blog post, the BBC Homepage is off-topic here. Thank you.

  • Comment number 75.


    can you tell us if the BBC's online offerings are fully disability compliant? Are they tested with the popular web readers for the blind?

  • Comment number 76.

    Hi OfficerDibble - you can find the BBC's accessibility standards here.


  • Comment number 77.

    Nick I was asking if the BBC's online offerings are fully disability compliant? Are they tested with the popular web readers for the blind?

    It seems from testing from blind users that the latest incarnation of the "Hollyoaks" Homepage it is not compliant and unusable.

  • Comment number 78.

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

  • Comment number 79.

    Hi OfficerDibble and rec3,

    I'm not sure what you mean by "fully disability compliant".

    I do know that the BBC takes accessibility and its committments under the DDA very seriously. I would expect any new BBC offer online to have been considered in the light of the BBC's committments on accessibility. I don't know what specific form this takes for the new home page and it is the weekend so I won't be able to find out until Monday I'm afraid.

    However publishing a blog post about UX and accessibility sometime next week is being discussed so I hope there'll be more detail then.

    Accessibility has been a regular topic on this blog in the past.


  • Comment number 80.

    When did the BBC drop the 'Text only' option for the homepage?


  • Comment number 81.

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

  • Comment number 82.

    It is fine saying I'd expect the BBC homepage to be tested for disability compliance... but then I'd expect the BBC to test it on Opera, and Firefox too ... and that doesn't work, and I'd expect the BBC would read the survey responses before publishing.... but clearly they have been ignored judging by the Hollyoaks Homepage.

  • Comment number 83.

    A question about moderation policy and the purpose of these comments.

    I have recently seen a number of posts moderated as being "off topic" (either warned or deleted) where, IMHO, they clearly were not. In most cases the "off topic" part was a valid "contrast and compare" or what I would term "value added content", where the user illustrates their point with other examples.

    Taking the current "home page" comments as an example. A few people commented that You Tube had undergone a homepage change and compared that with the BBC. These people were warned that this was off topic when clearly it was not.

    In other cases, people have tried to illustrate their perception of BBC intransigence by mentioning other unpopular decisions made by the BBC. Also ruled off topic.

    While I fully understand the need to keep comments on-topic with respect to the article, moderating because a part of a comment may lead to an off-topic sub-thread is ridiculous.

    Which leads me to the real crux of this question. Who is this comment facility provided for? If it is us, the users, then don't we have the right to determine what is off-topic, and what is not?

    If they are provided for the benefit of the BBC, for feedback purposes, then the severe moderation makes no sense. If I want feedback on one of my products then I want all feedback, particularly that which provides greater depth by expanding on the core point (but is currently deemed off-topic).

    These forums are, without exception, the most restrictive (with regard to moderation) that I have ever encountered (and I have encountered quite a few). In most forums, when you see a deleted post, the assumption is that that poster said something abusive or fully off-topic. Here I find myself wondering what the BBC didn't want me to see.

  • Comment number 84.

    @Eponymous Cowherd

    This is a blog, not a message board; discussion is focussed on a single topic, which makes it easier for readers to find what they want. In my opinion, YouTube was an irrelevant tangent rather than a "value add". Nick left the first mentions up but reminded folk they were off-topic; subsequent mentions (surely an actual off-topic sub-thread, not the threat of one) were removed.

    All BBC services are provided for the audience, but that doesn't mean that they are all run either as direct democracies or anarchies in which any commenter can decide whether they are on-topic or not. We know from our own internal research that readers outnumber commenters, and believe that keeping discussions focussed serves both them and the original blogger looking to engage with the audience.

    Nick blogged about the difference between a message board and a blog back in 2008; you might find that of interest.



  • Comment number 85.

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

  • Comment number 86.

    #85 rec3
    That link to an early blog is interesting as it shows our early interaction with the hosts. Many of the traits we are seeing on these current blogs were established in those early years. That is why today we have not had any meaningful dialogue, disclosure of evidence to support the Hollyoaks Homepage, nor any acknowledgement nor evidence that our feedback was of any value whatsoever.

    Many of us still have the scars (and bitterness) of previous fruitless encounters over the improvement of BBC services.

  • Comment number 87.

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

  • Comment number 88.

    Hmmm. Still the wrong postcode for PO Box 1922 on the Complaints page and on Ceefax 695 and 698 and Red Button 9990.

    If BBC Complaints don't handle complaints about BBC Compaints not taking the complaint that the address is wrong, who does?!

  • Comment number 89.

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

  • Comment number 90.

    Please do not remove radio from the iplayer. I know that "Ten Products" sounds nice but it is just not good for end users (your audience).

    Please consult us this time before you implement the change.

  • Comment number 91.

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

  • Comment number 92.

    latinda - since it's Sunday at 1240 I can't respond to comment 89 immediately. James has already left a comment addressing some of the accessibility issues.

    As I've said on the other comments thread I hope that by the end of next week we will be able to publish a blog post about accessibility and UX on the new home page.


  • Comment number 93.

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

  • Comment number 94.

    Have to chuckle.

    Since my comment about moderation, every other post on this, supposedly, "open post" has been deleted.

    Interestingly, I recently complained about a post that referred to another user as "small minded". The complaint was rejected. OK. Fair enough, "small minded" isn't exactly the worst thing to call someone, but it is, IMHO, a far worse transgression of "house rules" than being mildly off topic.

    You know. Whenever I see "Stay on topic. Stay on topic", I look behind me, half expecting to see Darth Vader in his Tie Fighter.......

    Is that just me?

    No official BBC reply required. Just airing my thoughts.

  • Comment number 95.

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

  • Comment number 96.

    Is it true that all current BBC blogs will be moving to the new iSite system within the next few months?


  • Comment number 97.

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

  • Comment number 98.


    Does this also mean the ridiculous character limit?

  • Comment number 99.

    I appear to have been locked out of blogs..without notice. Can anyone explain? Ian?

  • Comment number 100.

    Is 'BBC_Five' a BBC spokesperson? (Chris Hamilton maybe?)

    From your perspective as a user - blog comments will work in exactly the same way, they'll just be using the new comments system which you can view on this page.

    Got a url for "this page"?


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