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By way of an introduction: Open Post, Monday 22 June 2009

Post categories:

Paul Murphy Paul Murphy | 10:32 UK time, Monday, 22 June 2009

Hello, I'm the new editor on the BBC Internet Blog. I thought it was time for another open post where we invite you to post your comments and questions about anything to do with BBC Online, BBC iPlayer, BBC HD, and the BBC's digital and mobile services.

As I'm settling in at the start of my second week here, there will no doubt be many questions that I won't know the answer to but it'll be a great opportunity for me to find the person who does. I'm particularly interested in hearing what subject areas and topics you'd like covered or the types of posts you'd like more of. I was going to say something about the posts that I think work well but rather than pre-empt your feedback I'll do that in a week or two.

You can find the open post we did in May here and the very first open post way back in March is here.

Paul Murphy is the editor of the BBC Internet Blog.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Hi

    Can you please place the category cloud & 'topical posts from this blog' on the right hand navigation?

    Also a follow this on Twitter button as it took me ayear of following this blogs RSS feeds before I realised you had a Twitter feed!

  • Comment number 2.

    Good day,

    I live in Holand.

    No CEEFAX, no BBC homepage on my macintosh. Called to complain but no suitable answer. How about the iplayer, should I pay a monthly fee? sounds like the best option. Waiting for this option.

    Stuart Winnard
    Haarlem, The Netherlands

  • Comment number 3.

    Getting bored from Haarlem.

  • Comment number 4.

    Do I deserve an answer?

  • Comment number 5.

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

  • Comment number 6.

    swinnard - Paul will respond to your comments, but this is not a message board format so you may have to be a little patient.

  • Comment number 7.

    So Nick I should be talking to you.

  • Comment number 8.

    why is bbc content not behind a login in screen.

  • Comment number 9.

    BBC HD was supposed to launch in November on Freeview from the Winter Hill transmitter.

    This Ofcom document http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/ifi/tvlicensing/muxlicensees/mb/muxbvar9.pdf says that now March 2010.

    Which is correct?

    Also, what happened to the introduction of the Freeview HD service ahead of switchover that was supposed to happen?

  • Comment number 10.

    "why is bbc content not behind a login in screen."

    Because, speaking as a licence fee payer, that would be -

    a) a tremendous pain in the backside to use
    &
    b) completely ineffective at stopping people without a licence accessing the content?

    Phazer

  • Comment number 11.

    Hello and welcome.

    My major issue with the site as a whole is the speed. Ever since flash has been intergrated a lot more (not a bad thing on the whole) what ever browser (Firefox, Opera, IE) or OS (Windows, Mac, Solaris + other Unixes) I use, I'm always waiting for the page to finish loading the flash players.

    And for the record - the weather site is so slow at loading I'm using a different site altogether.

  • Comment number 12.

    Can someone fix the Freeview MHEG service (press the red button whilst listening to radio) so that the "What's On Today" listings update at midnight, not 9am.

  • Comment number 13.

    Some more questions:

    - when will there be the BBC regional news programmes on the iPlayer?

    - when will there be regional variations for BBC One and Two live online TV?

    Another thing - how about integrating the information from "/programmes" and "/schedule" for the last, now and next programmes on the current TV channel, say on "red button" page 880, 881 and 882?

  • Comment number 14.

    Please can we have a UK weather presure map?

  • Comment number 15.

    Sorry, I wrote "Also, what happened to the introduction of the Freeview HD service ahead of switchover that was supposed to happen?" and realised there was no context.

    Ofcom have allowed the BBC to introduce the Freeview HD multiplex (which will carry BBC HD, ITV HD, C4/S4C HD and FIVE HD on 720-line) ahead of the switchover schedule as there is great demand for the service.

    Ofcom have just told me that the "ball is in the BBC's court" for the launch of these temporary services, as Ofcom has granted the BBC permission to do this.

    Please - do you have a list of the transmitters that are going to get Freeview HD ahead of schedule - and the start dates please?

  • Comment number 16.

    " swinnard - Paul will respond to your comments, but this is not a message board format so you may have to be a little patient."

    So there ARE some benefits to messageboards then, Nick?

  • Comment number 17.

    10.

    if logins are ineffective why do banks, inland revenue etc use them?

    isn't it rather the bbc is trying to dominate by giving away 'free' content?

    logins would have the benefit of removing all the bizarre stuff that happens now. that licence payrs from around the world can't see content while those in the uk who don't have a licence can. One must wonder how many millions of non licence payers use the content?



  • Comment number 18.

    why isn't parliament or news 24 on radio? or is everyone expected to walk about with a tv/computer just to stay in contact with their democracy?

    i would have liked to have listened to the speakers election today. maybe i should be happy i can listen to public service gangsta rap instead?

  • Comment number 19.

    if logins are ineffective why do banks, inland revenue etc use them?

    Because people don't post their bank logins on Google Groups for all the world to copy. But unlike a bank, what would someone posting their TV licence on Google have to lose by giving it to their mate Terry in the US who likes Doctor Who, and thus the entire system would last twenty minutes after costing a fortune to set up.

    logins would have the benefit of removing all the bizarre stuff that happens now. that licence payrs from around the world can't see content while those in the uk who don't have a licence can.

    No it wouldn't. The BBC still wouldn't have copyright licences to distribute content on iPlayer outside the UK. Legally it doesn't matter where you're from. It matters where you are.

    Phazer

  • Comment number 20.

    Hello all,

    Thanks for all your comments so far. I'd hoped for some easy ones in my first open post but where's the fun in that?

    #1 rob6648
    We do have a link to our Twitter stream on the right hand side of the page. Not sure when it was added but it's been there since I started last week ;-)

    Topical posts and the categories cloud appears at the bottom of the page which is where the BBC blog template places them.

    #2 swinnard
    Not sure what you mean by "No CEEFAX, no BBC homepage on my macintosh." Shouldn't be any problem having the homepage on your Mac.

    #8 bookhimdano
    Why not make everyone log in to the BBC website?
    I think The_Phazer has answered this in #19 at least as well as I could and for that I thank you.

    I'm not ignoring the other questions but I'll need to speak to some people to get answers. I'm thinking of HD, speed of the site and regionality on the iPlayer amongst others.



  • Comment number 21.

    Re #9 you have confused the Ofcom document. The Ofcom document refers to the introduction of the fourth HD stream (recently licensed to Five) on Freeview and NOT the first, BBC HD and the second and third services licenced to ITV and CH4*. There was always a lag for service four as it relies on compression and transmission developments that are not yet ready and will not be ready until 2010 in the Winter Hill area and later in other DSO areas. Expect HD on Freeview in the NW for services 1-3 earlier than the date quoted in the document.

    *S4C in Wales

  • Comment number 22.

    20

    its not an answer its just spreading the usual ignorance. so are people trying to say two identical logins with different ips at the same time can't be spotted? come on.

    as for copyright yes legacy copyright will have restrictions but its not beyond the wit of man to start having new copyright agreements to reflect the new global realities? its called progress.

    these are not reasons for not having a long in screen. they are poor excuses.

    i have also noted over the last few months whenever i have suggested the idea its get attacked. just like people tried to do with the bbc archive campaign a few years ago. in the end the archive got opened up. in the long run the bbc will have to go behind a login screen.

  • Comment number 23.

    Can you make sure that the recent blog about moderation isn't forgotten about, there are many questions that have been asked.

  • Comment number 24.

    #22

    "i have also noted over the last few months whenever i have suggested the idea its get attacked. just like people tried to do with the bbc archive campaign a few years ago. in the end the archive got opened up. in the long run the bbc will have to go behind a login screen."

    No it won't, name me one UK broadcast or print media provider who forces users to log in to their websites, yes some ask users to log-in to use extra content or comment (as the BBC do in the latter), I can only question why anyone would be pushing for the BBC to force people to log-in...

  • Comment number 25.

    6. At 12:36pm on 22 Jun 2009, NickReynolds wrote:
    " swinnard - Paul will respond to your comments, but this is not a message board format so you may have to be a little patient. "

    Well Nick and there you were telling us before you shut down half the the POV message board , that blogs were better than message boards, yet it seems to take forever to get questions answered here !

  • Comment number 26.

    24

    isn't this the problem mindset. the bbc is not any other broadcaster is it? its in a category of one unless there is another compulsory licence fee broadcaster?

    so anyone can get sky for free? no. the others are on an advertising model.

    the reason for the login is to counter the arrogant noise the bbc are making about pushing for access to the internet to be licence feed because they say users can access their content. not if it was behind a login screen. as long as the bbc campaign for that it is reasonable to campaign for a login screen.

    the bbc are famous for being forces of conservatism.
    they ignored calls for open source broadcasting so missed out on the tech and now have done a deal with ytube.
    they denied people access to the archive even though it was in the charter and despite the 300 people who work in the archive there is still no index available to the public.
    they push digital even though no real useful tech needs pumping [and digital radio burns up your batteries].

    the login screen would have many benefits. use could be tracked better, there is a natural justice that respects the fee payers rights which broadcasting to all and everyone doesn't, it would encourage those who want to use the content to get a licence fee etc.

    its common sense.

  • Comment number 27.

    Hi Paul, will any of the unanswered questions from blogs 1 & 2 be answered or have they just been archived. Thanks. :)

  • Comment number 28.

    Paul,

    Are any developments planned in the future which would allow iPhones to stream BBC iPlayer over 3G in addition to Wi-Fi, and if not, why?

    Also, any chance of iPlayer downloads for the iPhone?

    And finally, any plans for live TV and live radio streams to the iPhone?

  • Comment number 29.

    Clearly the upgrading and expansion of the number of compatible hardwares with the iPlayer is important, and I believe the Playstation 3 has already been mentioned as a possible format. The big-screen web interface is functional but clunky, is there an alternative, dedicated software under development for the Playstation 3? One that includes the newly released HD streams?

    For those that haven't seen it, this is an example of a third-party unreleased interface for the Playstation 3, and a great example of the type of interface the 2 million Playstation UK userbase are desperate for: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRAYtOjAF-E

    Sales figures ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_3

    Thanks,

    Domo

  • Comment number 30.

    26. At 6:28pm on 22 Jun 2009, bookhimdano wrote:

    "24

    isn't this the problem mindset. the bbc is not any other broadcaster is it? its in a category of one unless there is another compulsory licence fee broadcaster?

    so anyone can get sky for free?"


    Yes thanks, Sky News, SkySports News, Sky Three...

    Also if your rational is correct as Sky is a subscription service they should not be allowed to carry adverts, thus making people pay (in effect) twice. Are you also suggesting that ITV should only be accessible to those who buy products and services from companies who advertise on the channel?!

  • Comment number 31.


    Yo Paul, baby!

    Now I know this isn't a messageboard type of thing goin' on round here, although it's always nice to see Deputy Dawg on patrol, but I saw this really weird thing somewhere in the BBC iPlayer area this evening - it said something like iPlayer had recently been upgraded and if there was a problem, we had to uninstall and reinstall something called 'BBC iPlayer Desktop'.

    I don't have 'BBC iPlayer Desktop'.

    When I submitted a feedback comment asking what the announcement meant, I had to tick a box accepting that the comment would not be given any response, so I mosied on over here to see if anyone can shed some light on this.

    Russ

  • Comment number 32.

    #26

    "unless there is another compulsory licence fee broadcaster?"

    Further to my comment @ #30, I think you will find that there is other state broadcasters who are funded by a compulsory charge - they are funded via central or regional taxation - at least with the UK TV licence fee one actually has a choice of you own/use a TV receiver, there is no law that requires someone to own a TV receiver, there are laws that require people to pay their taxes...

  • Comment number 33.

    Hi Russ - for an explanation of what iPlayer desktop is please read this blog post from last year.

  • Comment number 34.

    its not an answer its just spreading the usual ignorance. so are people trying to say two identical logins with different ips at the same time can't be spotted?

    Spotted? Sure (well, until they're routed though a proxy or VPN, in which case they can't).

    Blocked? Nope. My household with the one licence is accessing the BBC site with five different IP's as I type, and there are plenty of households where 20 different IP's could be in simultaneous use - so you couldn't block individuals without blocking the majority of the population.

    as for copyright yes legacy copyright will have restrictions but its not beyond the wit of man to start having new copyright agreements to reflect the new global realities? its called progress.

    Making less money would be progess now? Not going to happen, and the BBC is far too tiny as an organisation to force it through.

    i have also noted over the last few months whenever i have suggested the idea its get attacked.

    Yes, that tends to happen with stupid ideas.

    just like people tried to do with the bbc archive campaign a few years ago. in the end the archive got opened up.

    With the minor issue of course that the archive hasn't, actually, been opened up and you're clearly a fantasist. Oops!

    the reason for the login is to counter the arrogant noise the bbc are making about pushing for access to the internet to be licence feed because they say users can access their content. not if it was behind a login screen.

    You clearly don't understand the rationale of the licence. It's a tax on media. Not just the BBC. So any argument the licence fee should apply online applies as long as there is any media without a logon, not just the BBC. Good luck getting Google to put on that log in screen.

    Phazer

  • Comment number 35.

    Well, I think we're all being very rude to Paul. Has anyone actually stopped to welcome him to this dragon's den? ;-)

    Welcome Paul - as you can see you've thrown yourself in at the deep end here. I've asked my share of awkward questions on BBC blogs in the past but this morning I came here for a different reason. I missed the last episode of Occupation last week, so I went to the iPlayer, found it and started the download. Then I took a sort of mental step back, thought about what I'd just done, and decided to find an appropriate place to make a comment about it.

    Just imagine, being able to go to your computer and look up any of the programmes you missed, full screen and high quality. Only a few years ago the idea was inconceivable (and I remember having an email exchange with a BBC tech who insisted the cost of streaming even the limited Realplayer snippets that then featured on the BBC News website meant it would never be anything more than an occasional novelty feature).

    The iPlayer is an absolutely superb piece of kit. Sure, there are things that can be improved, but I believe that as an innovation it is every bit as important as the switch from mono to colour broadcasting, way back when. In an age where Moore's Law has conditioned us to expect rapid, constant improvement in IT, it's easy to miss the significance of things like the iPlayer and simply take them for granted.

    To everyone involved in designing it, coding it and continually working to improve it: thank you.

    Now: iPlayer via the ethernet port on my Freesat box. When can I have it, please? :-D

  • Comment number 36.

    # 27 Blanche Hunt's Grimace (aka Nippie Sweetie) asked
    Hi Paul, will any of the unanswered questions from blogs 1 & 2 be answered or have they just been archived. Thanks. :)

    I'm going to go through the questions today, grab any that I think we haven't answered that we can answer, repost them here and see if we can get answers. I'm thinking about closing the previous open posts (but leaving this one open) simply to make it easier to keep track of what's being said.

  • Comment number 37.

    I'll just drop my few pence worth into the login debate....

    As a web server administrator I know that 'tracking users' is a very hard thing to do. The web is whats called 'stateless'. There isn't one connection for a page - there's several. There are several ISP's that route each 'request' through a different proxy so a single user could come through 20 or 30 (or more) IP addresses without the person knowing. Quite a few places I know of have dropped the 'required registration' as people just ignore it (or use bugmenot).

    Add several other systems ISP's use and its gets harder. When people 'route' through other ways to get past country filters etc they it adds complications.

    Users registration is doable but requires a lot of work and more servers/processing power (does that mean its less environmentally friendly so someone else can complain about that aspect[/sarcasm]).

    I would like to be able to use iplayer when I move to the USA sometime next year - but I won't be able to (in theory). I do, however, understand the reasons behind it (copyright etc).

    Again, welcome to you Paul - I don't envy your job. Whatever you do there will be people grinding an axe but thats the life of the BBC in general (you can't please everyone).

  • Comment number 38.

    Hi Paul welcome to the Blogs.

    Many of, if not all, the questions asked here about iPlayer have been answered many times, and in some depth, over on the BBC iPlayer message board site.
    There is also a fully searchable database, with answers to hundreds more built up over the last few years.

    There is a link right hand side of the blogs page.

    One of the regulars there will usually point you in the right direction if you need further help or get stuck. :)

    Egg

  • Comment number 39.

    #33 - thanks, Nick.

    Russ

  • Comment number 40.

    Ughargh, I wrote quite a long post here yesterday but after clicking post comment the page somehow got itself stuck and just sat greyed out. It wouldn't even let me select it so I could save my writing :( Ahh I just worked out why it died, I wrote video inside tags.

    So in short, do you have any information on the status of dirac as diracvideo.org is very quiet, and the internet blog hasn't mentioned it in donkeys. It's important because a lot of discussion is taking place on the future of the video tag in html5 and theora is being pushed because its opensource and patent free nature are beneficial to an open web. Dirac also fits this bill but but BBC seems to be ignoring it these days which seems sad.

  • Comment number 41.

    #28 In response to hardy24's questions about the iPhone we now have answers from David Madden, Executive Producer for Mobile Media in the BBC's Future Media and Technology, Audio and Music and Mobile team:

    Q: Are any developments planned in the future which would allow iPhones to stream BBC iPlayer over 3G in addition to Wi-Fi, and if not, why?
    A: The BBC are in discussion with all of the mobile network operators to enable iPlayer access over their 3G networks.

    Q: Any chance of iPlayer downloads for the iPhone?
    A: Apple do not offer their FairPlay DRM to 3rd parties. It's closed, proprietary digital rights management which the BBC has no access to. So, no downloads to Apple devices.
    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FairPlay for details.

    Q: Any plans for live TV and live radio streams to the iPhone?
    A: We're currently evaluating the http streaming capabilities of the iPhone version 3 software and looking at how we could offer live TV and radio to the iPhone and iPod Touch using our standard streaming infrastructure.

  • Comment number 42.

    Me again. I've looked through the previous open post and I haven't spotted that many that either weren't answered as yet. I'll have another look tomorrow at the very first one we did and see what's there. These are two that came up from the second open post we did:

    # 1 Hymagumba wrote:
    [...] would it be possible to make a "our plans for the next six months / next year" post? There are dribs and drabs of info about new features arriving, identity, comment improvements, iPlayer 3.0, but is it possible to give us an idea of what else is being planned?

    # 2 AllAboutiPhone wrote:
    [...] When's live streaming TV coming for the iPhone please?

    I'm pleased to say that #2's been answered in #41 above. Regarding #1 I've no idea how much we can say about our future plans as there are obvious sensitivities. Having said that when a new product or feature is due to be released is a recurring question on the blog. I'll find out and get back to you.

  • Comment number 43.

    " # 27 Blanche Hunt's Grimace (aka Nippie Sweetie) asked
    Hi Paul, will any of the unanswered questions from blogs 1 & 2 be answered or have they just been archived. Thanks. :)

    I'm going to go through the questions today, grab any that I think we haven't answered that we can answer, repost them here and see if we can get answers. I'm thinking about closing the previous open posts (but leaving this one open) simply to make it easier to keep track of what's being said."

    Thanks Paul. Personally, I think it would be a good idea to close the previous open blogs and direct folks here. :)

    And welcome by the way and good luck.

  • Comment number 44.

    #41 Thanks for the responses, a few follow ups if I may.

    "Q: Are any developments planned in the future which would allow iPhones to stream BBC iPlayer over 3G in addition to Wi-Fi, and if not, why?
    A: The BBC are in discussion with all of the mobile network operators to enable iPlayer access over their 3G networks."

    Purely out of interest, why does the BBC have to go and ask nicely for access to the 3G networks? Is there a block on iPlayer put in place by the phone networks?

    "Q: Any chance of iPlayer downloads for the iPhone?
    A: Apple do not offer their FairPlay DRM to 3rd parties. It's closed, proprietary digital rights management which the BBC has no access to. So, no downloads to Apple devices.
    See http://en.wikipedia.
    org/wiki/FairPlay for details."

    No chance of offering iplayer content through iTunes rentals? or a dedicated iPlayer iPhone app to download content through?

    "Q: Any plans for live TV and live radio streams to the iPhone?
    A: We're currently evaluating the http streaming capabilities of the iPhone version 3 software and looking at how we could offer live TV and radio to the iPhone and iPod Touch using our standard streaming infrastructure."

    I assume this would be wi-fi only same as iPlayer?

  • Comment number 45.

    @ChrisCornwall: Thanks. I contacted Ofcom and they said that the dates listed for switchover and Freeview HD in the Multiplex B license as the "last possible dates" (so a new one is not required in a contingency) not the planned introduction dates.

    Ofcom have (re)confirmed also that Freeview HD will be introduced on Mux B from this November at Winter Hill, and then at switchover for all other regions. Those regions that switch-over before Winter Hill, they will get the new Multiplex B about one year after the switchover.

    Therefore - coming back to the HD - my original question about which of the later switching transmitters (Crystal Palace and Emley Moor come to mind) will get the (2.5 time SD, 720-line) "Freeview HD" service as Ofcom say that this is in the BBC's court?

    Thank you very much.

  • Comment number 46.

    As of 15:38hrs BST, why has the current and highly topical "Nick Robinson's Newslog" been closed for further comments, the comment count hasn't even reached the 200 mark, all comments are still on topic (or are very close to) and there has been no new blog has replaced it - this just a couple of hours after Speaker Bercow's first real test, PMQ's?...

  • Comment number 47.

    #45 and #15: Questions about Freeview HD

    We have a post from Graham Plumb: What's happening with Freeview HD? that covers this.

    BTW, I'm not in the office for the next few days but will read all the comments and queries here when I get back.

    And thanks to everyone who's contributed so far and for your kind wishes.

  • Comment number 48.

    Can I be permitted to repeat a comment/request I made in the moderation blog, it seems to be applicable to both discussions and as the aforementioned blog is slipping down the running order...

    A suggestion, can the BBC consider a ban in the use of 'TinyURL' type of shorter links within user comments, or at least only allow the enhanced versions that allow a 'preview' (of where the URL is going, the reason is that should a moderator miss a URL check it's very easy to hide unsuitable and/or spammed URLs within these shorter links.

    Related to the above moderation policy issue, perhaps the BBC could provide a tutorial with instruction on how to write a formatted HTML link (also italics and bold text perhaps) as this would be a far better way for users to 'hide' those longer raw links.

  • Comment number 49.

    Re-changes to International pages - When will the BBC recognise again that I am a UK resident of over 60 years standing, not wanting to be subjected to the International version of the home page. I used to be very happy with the site until someone started tampering with it. I have tried complaining through the official channels but all I get is a repetition of the bland messages on the blog. Not an answer to my complaint.

    No action seems to be forthcoming so I have decided to put my views on another blog.

    THe website used to treat me as a UK resident, but now I randomly get pushed to one or the other. Does the BBC have something against AOL?

  • Comment number 50.

    surreyblogger1 - is this blog post any help?

  • Comment number 51.

    Is there any time scale for updating the various programme sites hosted on the 'news' sub-domain to the new wide layout?

    One notable site is 'Click', the site has the tag line of being the "The BBC's flagship technology programme", yet still uses the old layout and the old 'Click Online' URL. Another is the BBC Parliament website, an entire channel which uses the old layout.

  • Comment number 52.

    Can any of you seasoned bloggers tell me why when a blog is closed, all the comments disappear? Is this normal? Thanks.

  • Comment number 53.

    Hmmm... a strange one. I wasn't expecting comments to disappear. I'll investigate tomorrow.

  • Comment number 54.

    I've put comments back for the moment.

  • Comment number 55.

    Nick,

    Is there a correct place in this maze of blogs to be having this conversation? At the moment it's happening in two places (I would mention multiple threads but I'm really too decent a person ... ;-))!

    Thanks for putting the comments back :-) Could you answer my questions on the POV blog please before closing it?

    Cheers.

  • Comment number 56.

    Good afternoon Nick,

    As you've chosen to delete my questions to you on the moderation blog, perhaps you'll comment here. I hope so.

  • Comment number 57.

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

  • Comment number 58.

    It wouldn't even let me select it so I could save my writing :( Ahh I just worked out why it died, I wrote video inside tags. So in short, do you have any information on the status of dirac as diracvideo.org is very quiet, and the internet blog hasn't mentioned it in donkeys. It's important because a lot of discussion is taking place on the future of the video tag in html5 and theora is being pushed because its opensource and patent free nature are beneficial to an open web. Dirac also fits this bill but but BBC seems to be ignoring it these days which seems sad.http://www.seslichatailesi.net/

 

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