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Darren Waters

Wii becomes home of online video

  • Darren Waters
  • 9 Apr 08, 19:09 GMT

How ironic that it is the Nintendo Wii, and not the Playstation 3 nor Xbox 360, that becomes the first of the current generation of consoles to have a truly dynamic range of online video content.

The BBC's announcement of a deal with Nintendo to put the iPlayer's streaming service on the console makes something of a mockery claims by Sony and Microsoft that their consoles are the true multimedia machines.

Forget please, if you will, that it is the BBC working with Nintendo and the fact I work for the BBC - it's not relevant to what I want to talk about.

BBC iPlayer logoIt's clear that the BBC has been talking to all console makers about the iPlayer. So why is the service on the Wii and not the PS3 or Xbox 360?

According to the Beeb's Erik Huggers it's because Sony and Microsoft wanted to "control" the iPlayer.

He said: "If you want to get on the PlayStation or Xbox, they want control of the look, the feel and the experience; they want it done within their shop, and their shop only."

Now what does that mean? Bearing in mind I only have one side of the story - I've asked Microsoft and Sony to respond to this - it would seem that Microsoft and Sony were placing too many demands on the corporation.

The streaming iPlayer is essentially a web service - it runs on Flash, near enough the world's most ubiquitous software development and so means any connected device that supports the right standard of Flash can play BBC content.

Both the Wii and PS3 have a web browser - and so in theory users could access the iPlayer directly.

But neither console - at present - support the form of Flash used in the iPlayer.

Clearly Nintendo is rectifying this - but is also going one stage further and offering a dedicated channel, which acts as a one click button to the iPlayer service.

Reading between the lines it would seem Microsoft was unwilling to work with the BBC unless it was given more control over how the content was accessed and presented inside Xbox Live, its walled garden online service.

It seems more puzzling for Sony to take this approach. It has said often that PS3 is an "open platform" and all it would take is a small update to let gamers access iPlayer in the web browser.

I think this is almost inevitable - and so Sony gamers shouldn't be too distraught.

For Microsoft the issue is more tricky because the 360 doesn't have a browser so any service has to "integrate" into Xbox Live.

I'm guessing that Microsoft wanted the content but not the iPlayer branding.

I also suspect that the BBC's free iPlayer service probably doesn't hold too much commercial interest for Microsoft because the company can't take a cut from the cost of rentals or downloads.

But given the paucity of video content on the European Xbox Live service, this would have been a quick win for the company.

What's more interesting is that the BBC's work with Nintendo has gone a step closer to achieving what many companies are working at - namely, bridging the gap between the web and the TV.

I suspect that ITV and Channel 4 will also be looking closely at how the BBC/Nintendo deal develops.

These are exciting times for online video - I feel we're close to a tipping point when it comes to people's use of and access to such video services.

From iTunes, to Channel 4's 4OD, ITV.com, iPlayer, PVRs, Joost and video on demand - TV will never be the same again.

UPDATE: I'm updating here because - as I'm sure you know - our comments system is a bit, ahem, flaky.

A couple of follow up points.

I may work for the BBC but I have no inside knowledge on the iPlayer. I don't work with the team, don't know them and I'm speculating as a journalist with the same kind of interest in online video as many of you have.

That said.... people have asked why the Wii gets a streaming service and there's still not a download version of iPlayer for Macs/Linux?

I have no idea. I'm guessing that it's because the Wii's streaming version of iPlayer is a quick win while a download version for Mac/Linux that has the type of DRM producers require to "protect" their content is a more involved process.

Some have also asked why the iPhone got a version of iPlayer when it doesn't support Flash.

As Anthony Rose explained...

it's because the iPhone does support a high-quality streaming format.

Streams mean not having to necessarily worry about copy protection - although the iPlayer team did have to make a few tweaks when some enterprising souls found a way to hack the streams.

Downloads mean you do have to worry about copy protection.

There are LOTS and LOTS of arguments about the efficacy of DRM - and I won't go into them here - suffice to say that producers and content makers demand the protection of their rights and the BBC has a duty to act on those demands.

There's lots more detail about the iPlayer over at the BBC Internet blog. It's a great read.

They really are in the know.

What I would say is that all I've read, heard and seen about the iPlayer leads me to believe that the team behind it, and the BBC more broadly, is committed to getting the iPlayer on to as many platforms as possible.

An elderly woman plays the WiiGiven that the licence fee is universal, it's in the BBC's best interests to open up the iPlayer to everyone.

The BBC is limited by resources, as much as any organisation, but it seems likely the iPlayer will end up on PCs and Macs, on many mobile platforms, consoles, and set-top boxes.

But I repeat - I'm just speculating.

UPDATE TWO: Nick Reynolds, editor of the BBC Internet blog, has been in touch. He wants to respond personally to some of the comments.

So over to you Nick:

"Hi - I am the editor of the BBC Internet Blog. Here are some other links relevant to this discussion.

Gary's comment (number 10) and Paddy (number 26), iPlayer streaming is already available on the Mac. Mark Thompson has said that iPlayer downloads will be available on the Mac by the end of this year.

Stephen's comment (number 6), Ashley Highfield has discussed the question of the BBC's relationship with Microsoft in the Groklaw interview referred to in this post."


Comments

  • 1.
  • At 08:49 PM on 09 Apr 2008,
  • Alex Bones wrote:

Also, Microsoft may be working with BT Vision to bring UK television to the 360.

  • 2.
  • At 09:48 PM on 09 Apr 2008,
  • Bob wrote:

How ironic that Nintendo, famous for control-freakery, have the most open web platform now.
Been watching "tv" via iplayer on my Wii since I got home, and am posting this from it too.
The merging of media has /finally/ started in earnest!

Bob.

While the BBC's work to get iPlayer out there as quickly as possible is commendable, I'm disappointed by the experience which the new Wii version provides.

The iPhone version is practically perfect (a dedicated interface is the only thing I would add) but it seems that Nintendo Wii is not the ideal platform for this service.

The resolution of the video is very low and doesn't look good at all, even on my relatively small 23" TV. I could almost bear with that, but the real thorn in the side of this version is the framerate. I'd describe the time I spent watching a 30 minute show today as uncomfortable because the video appears very jumpy.

I can't see many people looking to this as a viable option for regular TV viewing. Hopefully the future iPlayer versions are on platforms better suited to video playback.

  • 4.
  • At 10:48 PM on 09 Apr 2008,
  • Gordon M wrote:

As a tech-savvy Wii owner who is generally supportive of the BBC's efforts, this is big news and could mean my Wii, for so long only dusted down for parties, will begin to fight with my Media Center for screen time.

Interesting times...

I on both a Wii and an Xbox, so I'm not missing out at all here.

I think you're right that TV will never be the same again now that we have things such as AIR popping up.

  • 6.
  • At 12:23 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Stephen Derham wrote:

Rubbish.

The BBC didn't want it to work with Macs as they had signed a dodgy agreement to use Microsoft Media Player DRM until parliament pointed out they are a public service and not supposed to help Bill's monopoly strangelehold.

They then complained that Macs used proprietary technology until it was pointed out that all the standard, non-proprietary non-DRM formats worked with the Mac.

Then they made it work with iPhones because there are a lot of them and used H264 instead of flash because the iPhone's chipset can't support the higher demands of the flash format.

Do neither of the other Boxes use the totaly non-proprietary H264?

Unlikely as it's part of the HDDVD/Blu-Ray standards.

Seems there's some high-level panic / dodgyness going on here.

Fancy posting this so's the license -paying public can ask what it is?

Go on, I dare you.

  • 7.
  • At 12:31 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Steve Mulcahy wrote:

Enlighten us, please, on what version of Flash you use for the iPod Touch/iPhone browser?

I seem to remember a similar blog saying how BBC developers managed to perfect streaming in h.264 rather than flash to allow it to be streamed to iPhones, as they don't support Flash.

The PS3 has a web browser and has h.264 support. I haven't seen a hint of Apple dictation anywhere on the iPhone version of iPlayer, in fact the only hint that its for iPhone is the little pink triangle on the main page.

The main requirement Sony and PS3 users would have is High Definition (at least 720p) video, which is perhaps too bandwidth intensive at the moment.

I understand the problem with the Xbox, they don't have a web browser integrated, so will need to have a lot more work to integrate iPlayer nicely, but surely the BBCs dependence on Microsoft's DRM for downloadable content on iPlayer means the BBC could do MS a favour... They also managed to 'integrate' it nicely to another Microsoft product... Windows.

At the moment, I'm not too fussed about iPlayer on current generation consoles, the picture quality is bearable on a 22" Monitor, so through a 37" 1080p TV, it would probably not be too great. I use iPlayer most if I'm sat in a wifi hotspot during my lunch hour to catch up on Gavin and Stacey, and it is brilliant for that, especially as I don't have a digi box at home yet.

To be honest, I think from my slightly annoyed state of mind at the end of reading your post, I have started to come round to the reason that the BBC wont just allow streaming on the PS3 through adding its User Agent string to give access to the iPod version of iPlayer.
Its because:
-640x480 resolutions and lower will never really cut it for people who have hd tvs (Who are also probably the owners of PS3s and Xbox 360s)
-The sheer bandwidth required for High Def streams is far too high for the current infrastructure used by ISPs.

I think the 'they don't use flash' argument is a slightly moronic one when your key demographic know about the developments with the iPhone and iPlayer as this shows that is a false argument.

But the summary of your post is right. BitTorrent being the catalyst, on demand content is becoming the way forward and fortunately the Broadcasters are seeing this and seem to be acting much more sensibly than the record companies (RIAA I'm looking at you!).

Great post. I am still amazed at the success of the Wii, especially given the hype and big talking from the other two camps. There was a lot of patting the Wii on the head and comments like - "it's not true next-gen", "It's just a gimmick". Nintendo have remained true to what gaming is all about - having fun, and you can't let me people have fun if you try to control their experiences. In my view, this is yet another example of Wii listening to its audience and giving them the content they want and not trying to control it.

  • 9.
  • At 12:59 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Paul Kerton wrote:

Considering that you use WMV for the downloadable peer to peer content, and the XBOX 360's interface can be customised depending on which section you access, I'm pretty sure that it won't be long before you join that platform also.

I think it will be inevitably, considering the relationship you already enjoy with Microsoft, just as you enjoy them with Apple, Nintendo and eventually Sony.

  • 10.
  • At 01:23 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Gary Reid wrote:

When will iPlayer (full version) be available on Mac?

How ironic that a product that jumps on the "i" bandwagon still can not use iPlayer to the full.

Thanks

  • 11.
  • At 01:30 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Luke Hall wrote:

I am very impressed at the BBC for working with Nintendo. It's a win for both companies and the public.
I gave the Wii service a go to watch 'The Aprentice' and was very impressed, considering it is only in beta, it will be interesting to see how the service develops. Especially if a direct access from the main 'Wii Channel' screen becomes possible. (currently you have to access Internet Channel>>Favourites>>iPlayer)
A great step forward, and a much better viewing experience, Having the iPlayer in my living room (For Free) is much better than on the computer screen.

  • 12.
  • At 01:36 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Alex wrote:

Fair comment, but always remember that games consoles are NO replacement for PC's and the various operating systems available that run on it, this gives the user some flexibility in what they want in terms of online content (unless your machine is crippled with DRM such as Vista).

Once you are within the realms of the games console you are in a self contained/controlled world, that's the idea of it. They mainly sell these boxes at a loss, or near loss. Content and multimedia is how they make money. Take that control away from them and they make less or no money. So I have some sympathy here for MS and Sony.

  • 13.
  • At 01:41 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • David wrote:

People don't buy games consoles to be multimedia systems, despite what technology bloggers seem to think. If I wanted a multimedia system I would of bought a PS3 - but I wanted to play video games which is why I bought an Xbox 360. And as for Wii getting access to the iPlayer - so what? Is this really supposed to be a bargaining chip for people looking to buy a console? If anyone wants to use the iPlayer they can do so on the internet. The Wii is nothing more than a snazzy gadget which becomes boring very quick.

  • 14.
  • At 02:58 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Steve wrote:

How annoying. I hope microsoft gives in and allows the BBC to "control" it or whatever, i want the iPlayer on the 360! Also, microsoft should release an update to the 360 with a web browser. Its possible because the PSP did it!

  • 15.
  • At 03:02 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • William Lawly wrote:

this is about as smug a piece as one would expect from an organisation like the BBC nowadays - wrong in several technical details and with that supercilious tone all the way through from first paragraph to last; you can keep your iPlayer

  • 16.
  • At 03:06 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Marc Jennings wrote:

The Apple TV should of been the first partnership above any of the console manufacturers. I thought it was guaranteed to happen with the support of all iPhones and iPod Touches in recent weeks. It would be my personal choice of accessing BBC content.

I'm sceptical of how well its going to work on such a underpowered hardware like the Wii. I guess its going to be quite poor quality and more acceptable than streaming flash on either of the two HD capable rivals. The costs of delivering to only 480p machine would of played a part in the negotiations.

  • 17.
  • At 03:22 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Aligav wrote:

Well I tried to watch Damages today on the Wii and the iplayer already works on it. However the quality of picture is still not great when viewed full screen. I think we still have a bit to go before getting too excited about this.

Microsoft's and Sony's corporate culture have both moved in a direction that stifles innovation. Once upon a time and not so long ago, this was the case with IBM. However, a near death experience shocked Big Blue into sensible reform under Lou Gerstner. There is a magical phrase out there. Digital Signal Processing --DSP. To which we do not pay enough attention. Howcum? It offers endless possibilities for invention, creation of all kinds, and the means of penetrating barriers. It is surgeons' knife, sledgehammer, arrow, sword and battleaxe. It is calculus and and it is poetry. Could it be that Sony and Microsoft are not aware of how powerful this demolisher of barriers is. After all, it is the thing on which the world of technology now runs. Mastly

  • 19.
  • At 04:15 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Bart Robson wrote:

The Wii is the only console with a halfway decent web browser.

The 360 has none, although Microsoft can distribute videos via the "marketplace" application on the console. The PlayStation 3 has a web browser too, although it is not as robust as the version of Opera available on the Nintendo Wii. Come on, guys, do a little research before writing an editorial!

  • 20.
  • At 04:50 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • John Lister wrote:

I'm pleased to see that the BBC is bringing iPlayer to a wider set of hardware.

Now can the BBC bring full iPlayer to a wider audience? I live in the USA and would very much like to be able to watch BBC TV as I can listen to BBC Radio. I would willingly pay a licence fee for the privilege!

  • 21.
  • At 05:28 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Simon Cobb wrote:

Does anyone have any idea how far away the Wii iPlayer channel is from going live? Will the Wii iPlayer channel still have the same geographical restictions that currently prevent non-UK viewers from accessing the iPlayer content?

  • 22.
  • At 05:47 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Charlie wrote:

I've used both the PS3 and Wii web browser, and I prefer the Wii browser as it's easier to use with the wii controls: it's pretty difficult to surf the web using a PS3 controller.

  • 23.
  • At 07:55 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Toby wrote:

As you have mentioned it would be easy for the iplayer to be avalible via the PS3 with a simple firmware upgrade adding further flash support. However with PlayTV looming, i think sony may want to intergrate the iplayer into the PlayTV interface to offer a much broader array of content. This then causes iplayer DRM issues becuase PlayTV acts as a PVR with no DRM implimented meaning consumers could get around the 30 day playback time limit on BBC content.

  • 24.
  • At 07:56 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Paul wrote:

So having the BBC iPlayer represents the only way Microsoft & Sony could possibly have a dynamic multimedia experience???

Not the fact that they both have downloadable HD content & can both stream content from a home media server & other web services or the fact that the 360 will soon have the IPTV & the PS3 is getting the ability to turn into a PVR???

Not to mention Blu Ray & upscaling of standard DVDs.

There's more to multimedia than the iPlayer, thankfully.

  • 25.
  • At 07:58 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Toby wrote:

As you have mentioned it would be easy for the iplayer to be avalible via the PS3 with a simple firmware upgrade adding further flash support. However with PlayTV looming, i think sony may want to intergrate the iplayer into the PlayTV interface to offer a much broader array of content. This then causes iplayer DRM issues becuase PlayTV acts as a PVR with no DRM implimented meaning consumers could get around the 30 day playback time limit on BBC content.

  • 26.
  • At 08:06 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • paddy carroll wrote:

And Linux?
And the Mac?
Why just PCs and The Wii, this has been one of the most partisan deployments I have ever seen, why slag microsoft off now when up until now its pretty obvious that you have discriminated against everybody else except them.

  • 27.
  • At 08:07 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Paul wrote:

So having the BBC iPlayer represents the only way Microsoft & Sony could possibly have a dynamic multimedia experience???

Not the fact that they both have downloadable HD content & can both stream content from a home media server & other web services or the fact that the 360 will soon have the IPTV & the PS3 is getting the ability to turn into a PVR???

Not to mention Blu Ray & upscaling of standard DVDs.

There's more to multimedia than the iPlayer, thankfully.

  • 28.
  • At 08:13 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Mosey wrote:

I have a Wii but I haven't bothered connecting it to the internet (have still only played 2 games on it... WiiPlay and Wii Sports... how embarrassing!) although the news that the iPlayer will now work with the Wii means I'm definitely going to hook it up! It will make so much difference to watch iPlayer content on the big screen (TV) rather than the laptop!
Thanks for the info about why the BBC has decided to work with Nintendo to support the Wii! It is actually the first console I have ever owned in the past decade and yes, I'm a female who doesn't give PS/XBox games even one look.

  • 29.
  • At 08:17 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • George Moran wrote:

I think that tis will be a great added feature for the wii. I really like the whole idea of the wii, its not all about the greatest graphics, its all about fun, and that is the way it should be with games. The iplayer will make it more exciting.

  • 30.
  • At 08:21 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Paul wrote:

So having the BBC iPlayer represents the only way Microsoft & Sony could possibly have a dynamic multimedia experience???

Not the fact that they both have downloadable HD content & can both stream content from a home media server & other web services or the fact that the 360 will soon have the IPTV & the PS3 is getting the ability to turn into a PVR???

Not to mention Blu Ray & upscaling of standard DVDs.

There's more to multimedia than the iPlayer, thankfully.

  • 31.
  • At 08:25 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Ian wrote:

If it is all down to Microsoft and Sony's unreasonable obstruction, why isn't there a iPlayer for Linux?
Linux is open source, so the BBC could make any necessary changes themselves, and as Linux runs not just on PC, and Mac, but also PS3 and Xbox all these problems would be solved. Indead the BBC could simply open up the technology as the EU has finally forced Microsoft to do and the wor would be done free of charge for it.
Who is being unreasonable and obstructive now? "If you sup with the devil you had better have a long spoon!"

  • 32.
  • At 08:28 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Ben Bufton wrote:

It's cool that Nintendo have stuck in an iPlayer "Channel" (basically a link from the front page of the Wii) but once activated it's also fairly obvious that you've been spat out of Wii-dom onto the internet.

Couple this to the low resolution of the Wii's graphics (don't get me wrong - the Wii is an awesome games machine) and you do indeed have a less than stellar experience.

Is it wrong for Sony and Microsoft to want to wait and work on a more integrated experience? The tone of this article surly eludes to this, but this attitude smacks of the days when people said the Apple iTunes Store was pointless - "just use a web browser" - and we all know which way the world voted on that.

I think far from making "something of a mockery" of their machines Sony and Microsoft should be applauded for taking a more considered approach - and I suspect most iPod users out there might agree with me...

  • 33.
  • At 08:32 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Ben Bufton wrote:

It's cool that Nintendo have stuck in an iPlayer "Channel" (basically a link from the front page of the Wii) but once activated it's also fairly obvious that you've been spat out of Wii-dom onto the internet.

Couple this to the low resolution of the Wii's graphics (don't get me wrong - the Wii is an awesome games machine) and you do indeed have a less than stellar experience.

Is it wrong for Sony and Microsoft to want to wait and work on a more integrated experience? The tone of this article surly eludes to this, but this attitude smacks of the days when people said the Apple iTunes Store was pointless - "just use a web browser" - and we all know which way the world voted on that.

I think far from making "something of a mockery" of their machines Sony and Microsoft should be applauded for taking a more considered approach - and I suspect most iPod users out there might agree with me...

  • 34.
  • At 08:37 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Ben Bufton wrote:

It's cool that Nintendo have stuck in an iPlayer "Channel" (basically a link from the front page of the Wii) but once activated it's also fairly obvious that you've been spat out of Wii-dom onto the internet.

Couple this to the low resolution of the Wii's graphics (don't get me wrong - the Wii is an awesome games machine) and you do indeed have a less than stellar experience.

Is it wrong for Sony and Microsoft to want to wait and work on a more integrated experience? The tone of this article surly eludes to this, but this attitude smacks of the days when people said the Apple iTunes Store was pointless - "just use a web browser" - and we all know which way the world voted on that.

I think far from making "something of a mockery" of their machines Sony and Microsoft should be applauded for taking a more considered approach - and I suspect most iPod users out there might agree with me...

  • 35.
  • At 08:38 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Dani wrote:

"How ironic that it is the Nintendo Wii, and not the Playstation 3 nor Xbox 360, that becomes the first of the current generation of consoles to have a truly dynamic range of online video content."

Errr... The 360 has had a range of videos to download since last year in the UK and even longer in the US. It's also in colaboration with BT to start releasing stuff on the BT Fusion boxes.

  • 36.
  • At 08:49 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Dave Slater wrote:

Why the focus on games consoles when Mac and Linux users still haven't got the download version of iPlayer...?

Owners of the original Xbox can access the iPlayer if they mod their console, load on Xbox Media Centre and download the iPlayer script. Sure, not for the faint hearted but having loaded the script onto my device last night, all I can say is it works a treat. It might not be endorsed by the Beeb but it is definitely an area they should look into. As at the moment it just downloads the programmes, being able to stream would be a great advantage!

Thanks for the insight. I can't believe that console manufacturers are so blinkered, once again hats off to Nintendo.

It seems like the console space along with large segments of the mobile space still have a way to go before they move mentally towards a new digital/media convergence. I think defensive moves that restrict new services are just a traditional stance that comes from holding a large market share. Its going to be great watching static companies that want to control content being forced into change and watching progressive positive companies like Nintendo, BBC, etc blaze a trail in the next few years.

  • 39.
  • At 09:33 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • James wrote:

Another reply to this:

"How ironic that it is the Nintendo Wii, and not the Playstation 3 nor Xbox 360, that becomes the first of the current generation of consoles to have a truly dynamic range of online video content."

Mmmm...lets look at some FACTS. I have both a Wii and 360 (and love them both).

I can stream photos, music and DivX from my PC to my 360 which I do regularly. I can watch DVD, and download HD movies.

Wii...I can copy photos onto an SD card and watch them in the Wii (a bit laborious). I can use a third party software to stream other content (though have never tried). I can browse the net, and watch flash videos (err, ever heard of YouTube?!), which I have been doing a long time before 'i'Player ever surfaced.

I have watched content from iPlayer. However, I have downloaded it then streamed it to my 360 to get the higher resolution in the .avi file.

I love both consoles (hurrah Mario Kart Wii is out tomorrow!), but to be frank I can't really take this post seriously.

  • 40.
  • At 10:32 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • CBers wrote:

So, the iPlayer is available on the Wii !!

I can only assume that the picture will be awful for starters as if it's only 480p as mentioned above, we'd be losing 145 lines of definition over terrestrial (625i).

So, are there plans to make other platforms connectable to the iPlayer, such as the ARCHOS GEN5 devices ??

Seeing as iPods and iPhones are, then Archos should easily do it once their FLASH software is upgraded.

I'm sure that any content is filtered for UK residents only. I'm a British citizen living abroad in Switzerland.

I would gladly pay either a subscription or a pay per view service on any console for quality content as I don't pay a license fee.

Would that be fair?

  • 42.
  • At 10:44 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Ad wrote:

If I could just download BBC programmes (legitimately) on my Mac, I could then stream them through my Xbox using Connect360. Provided it's in a useable format. Surely this is currently possible on Windows Media Centre PCs? Therefore any iPlayer material is already possible on Xbox with the use of a PC.

  • 43.
  • At 11:14 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Ben wrote:

It amazes me that the BBC thinks that it has that much power!

There are thousands of TV channels around the world and going forward Sony and Microsoft want to offer as much of this content as possible on their consoles. In doing that the user doesn't want to have to deal with hundreds of different players or websites (Like us PC user do with iPlayer, 4OD, Sky Anytime Online etc). The user just wants a single user interface that allows them to access all their content.

I think the BBC think that they are more significant than they really are! Yes the BEEB make great programs but they are only a small fraction of all the TV channels/content providers out there!

  • 44.
  • At 11:30 AM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Kurt wrote:

I had a Wii last xmas and the main problem is you need to use it on your main TV to get the full interactive experience - however this becomes an issue when 'Enders is on. I sold it on the strength of this. Now as development of PS3 progresses I find that I may be buying one soon. One aspect driving this is the interaction with PSP which i already have. Sorry if I tangent all over tha place here! Essentially I use Iplayer on my laptop as an additional screen it allows me to watch a different program to the rest of the Family but stay in the room. From my experience with WII and Iplayer I can see how the picture on a 42" plamsa would be like Freeview on a windy day - however I think that the PS3 is not all about Hi0Def and it would probably give me a similar experience to my laptop on the screen of my PSP vie Remote Play.

  • 45.
  • At 12:23 PM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Jeff Dyer wrote:

Why is it that the BBC is wasting resources going backwards in picture quality with this iPlayer rubbish. If people *really* want to watch a program they'll set their video or PVR to record it.

I really can't see any benefit in this development whatsoever. I've started watching whatever HD content I can and the though of watching Hotel Babylon in a fuzzy 640x480 downloaded window instead of 720p resolution does nothing for me.

Why does the BBC think it has to encourage the lazy and disorganised to waste huge amounts of bandwidth anyway?

(Typical smug informationless post from DW again BTW)

I really, really hope you release a version for the Xbox soon! That would be my platform of choice. Failing that, the AppleTV seems to be a pretty logical device to aim for too given it's part of the Apple range and it's supported on iPod Touch and iPhone, plus with BBC content now on sale on iTunes which you can purchase directly to the AppleTV, I think also having recent content as a free stream would be a brilliant sales tool :-)

Hi - I am the editor of the BBC Internet Blog. There are some other links relevant to this discussion.

Gary's comment (number 10) and Paddy (number 26), iPlayer streaming is already available on the Mac. Mark Thompson has said that iPlayer downloads will be available on the Mac by the end of this year.

Stephen's comment (number 6), Ashley Highfield has discussed the question of the BBC's relationship with Microsoft in the Groklaw interview referred to in this post."

  • 48.
  • At 02:31 PM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • sabs wrote:

I disagree with the comment about sony having huge restrictions over the look and feel of their system.

If that were the case, why am I able to install linux on the machine and run all manner of open source software - all allowed by sony out of the box?

To claim that running your iplayer over a web browser on the wii at a poor resolution (with no fullscreen option!) makes a 'mockery' of two high-definition consoles which are both able to display the same content streamed at an improved resolution is quite frankly, ignorant.

I'd also love to hear what content the iplayer has that makes it more 'dynamically' diverse than the vast array of media i'm able to download, view, watch, play or listen to through the xbox360 or ps3 using their official services or otherwise.

  • 49.
  • At 04:29 PM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Thomas Brownlee wrote:

Wii becomes Home of online video?

Another unbiased article from the BBC?

Maybe the BBC should look into letting Sony control the look and feel of it, since the new look PS Store/Singstore are very similar to the iPlayer, but are much nicer looking.

Anyway, I'm much more looking forward to PlayTV. HD Freeview and recording through my PS3? Yeah, that's a much better option that Wii's SD output.

  • 50.
  • At 09:14 PM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Matt wrote:

I actaully do use my PS3 as a media centre and not just for games. I never would have spent all that money on it when I have a good PC otherwise.

I am not fussed if I can't watch iplayer in HD; it would require speeds I cannot achieve and use to much of my download limit. But I would like SD quality and not some blocky mess and I would like it sooner rather than later!!

  • 51.
  • At 10:03 PM on 10 Apr 2008,
  • Nick White wrote:

iplayer now works on Wii, that's great. It runs in a tiny window...that's not so great. The option to play full screen on a tv would make this quite usefull. Youtube works full screen on a Wii so it can do it. Shame the rest of the BBC news and sport flash videos don't work on the wii....

  • 52.
  • At 01:11 AM on 11 Apr 2008,
  • David Barker wrote:

I'm sure the iplayer devs have had fun with the license-fee funded 'cool kids' toys; can they back to work on other platforms now?

Better yet, get the Youtube guys to working on it. They already work well with 'alternative' platforms like the PS3, Apple TV & Nokia S60 phones...

ps: Thankfully, someone isn't goofing off with their toys: http://www.ps3iplayer.com/

  • 53.
  • At 08:50 AM on 11 Apr 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

http://www.ps3iplayer.com

Sorry, you can only use this unofficial version of the
BBC iPlayer on a Sony PLAYSTATION®3 system.

This version of the BBC iPlayer can only be used on a Sony PLAYSTATION®3 system within the UK.


It's mainly a demonstration of how easily the BBC could support the PS3 with their Wii version. This does nothing more than
mask your PS3's user-agent string and makes half a dozen changes to make the JavaScript and CSS function correctly on the PS3.
It only took a day to produce, so come on BBC - how about implementing this properly?

An unofficial website has been set up by a very clever coder known as Ixalon. This allows PS3s to access iPlayer content directly on their TV.

http://www.ps3iplayer.com

  • 55.
  • At 11:15 AM on 11 Apr 2008,
  • Paul wrote:

Interesting post Darren and it's good to see some comments from Nick on here too.

Can I just say that PS3 owners are the kind of people who have HD Tellys, access to BBC's HD service and things like surround sound (I like many of my mates with PS3's have access to everything I've listed!). The Wii? Well that was developed for a whole younger market, who aren't into the whole Home Cinema thing, who aren't really going to bother switching on a console to view a TV program.

Getting iPlayer on the PS3 should be a priority for you guys, even if it's simply a web page that enables the PS3 browser to take advantage of iPlayer rather than something integrated into the machine.

I'd love to see how many of the 1.9m UK Wii owners use iPlayer vs how many users you'd get from a PS3 base (currently 1.2m PS3 owners I believe), I think it's be a landslide in the favour of the PS3.

  • 56.
  • At 02:57 PM on 11 Apr 2008,
  • Robert Elliot wrote:

Both Darren Waters and sabs seem a little confused as to what Sony means by the PS3 being an open platform. There's a world of difference between allowing a totally different operating system to be installed on the hardware, and making the default operating system open.

The default PS3 operating system is not, and is never intended to be, an open platform. You cannot write, install and run arbitrary 3rd party programs for the PS3 O/S, reachable from the XMB. You probably never will be able to.

Sony have also effectively neutered the hardware when using a different operating system, too - no access to the graphics APIs, so no high quality video playback or 3d games.

I'd love Sony to open up their O/S a bit to hobbyists (let's face it their music & video browsing system is woeful, and DLNA is flaky as anything compared to a simple mapped network drive - two things that would surely rapidly be sorted if 3rd parties could get involved). But I'm not expecting it any time soon. Not unless the hackers break it and they are forced to do an iPhone-esque volte-face.

(Incidentally, the PS3 browser is also very, very poor - ever tried to use Google Reader or similar on it? So even the browser is a poor back door for getting 3rd party rich apps on to this pretty closed system.)

  • 57.
  • At 05:39 PM on 11 Apr 2008,
  • Pat wrote:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/04/11/wii_iplayer_ps3/

Looks like PS3 could be doing exactly the same thing pretty easily (no changes to PS3 required). Why doesn't the bbc open this up for the million or so ps3 owners in the U.K.?

  • 58.
  • At 10:58 PM on 11 Apr 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

the BBC should stop trying to control something which they clearly can't.
the more you force people into a system the more people will fight against it, the less secure your system of delivery becomes.
the BBC should face the facts and acknowledge that they can't control anything online, just look at china's control over the web "which is as virtual as the Internet itself".
in the end people get what they want where they want it, no matter what.

  • 59.
  • At 01:15 AM on 12 Apr 2008,
  • Ade C wrote:

I think that most people are forgetting that as with any console the wii has a very limited life span. All of you console owners need to start thinking ahead a little, as your xbox 360's,ps3's and wii's will be outdated within a year, especially if your primary use is gaming what with evr improvin graphics technologies. I am not making these comments to create friction, but as an owner of numerous consoles over the years (upgrading every time something new comes out), I do think the console market is quite laughable, currently consoles are probably the fastest depreciating product you can spend your money on. To sum up I would say it is not an issue that the i-player doesn't work on every piece of hardware, as the devices you use today are out of date very quickly. I use the i-player all the time on a pc and have had the same pc connected to a 1080p lcd tv playing games at 1920x1200 and watching dvd's\avi's etc at excellent picture levels. What I would like to see is to have the play again player more accessible (say through teletext pages or freeview). Not that it concerns me too much, because as far as I am concerned the PC is by far the best product for all my uses.

  • 60.
  • At 01:58 AM on 12 Apr 2008,
  • Peter Smith wrote:

Unfortunately it's things like this that Nintendo need in order to lengthen the life of the Wii. Yes, it is fun to use and they've sold consoles by the bucket load but it's becoming a one trick pony.

Alot of people have been drawn to the console because of it's family appeal but it seems, and I can speak from experience here, that the console is becoming a 'party trick' something for the odd family get together. Nintendo need to start pushing out more 'normal' games (not everyone wants to jump about like a clown all the time - thats what a Gym is for!) to satisfy the group of fans that made the company what it is today. Forget them and when the 'new gamers' get bored of their new toy they could be in trouble.

Back to the original topic however, I wouldn't be worried at all if I were Microsoft or Sony. The BBC iPlayer will neither boost nor harm sales, it'll just become a channel people use for abit and then leave alone.

  • 61.
  • At 02:18 AM on 12 Apr 2008,
  • Tony wrote:

Hmm...hasn't this all been achievable for years now with a modded V1 Xbox, WLAN adapter and a copy of your favourite Bitorrent client :)

Re comment 35...
I'm watching the streaming iPlayer on Linux.
The only thing wrong with it is that BT and Orange couldn't organize a decent network infrastructure in order to save their lives. It's stuttering, regularly disconnecting, and generally overloaded. They sell me 8Mbit connection, and yes, I get 8Mbit performance... at 3am... During the early evening it's terrible. And these are the people who complain the BBC isn't paying enough? The BBC has dedicated servers, dedicated bandwidth to the backbone, and they pay for it. If the ISP's cannot support the packages they're selling to people, that's their fault. Banking on 90% of subscribers only using 10% of the capacity sold to them in order to sell people packages with bigger headline rates is misleading.
I'd far rather have a 2Mbit link that provided 2Mbit 24/7 365 than an 8Mbit link that's almost unusably slow for 8 hours a day thanks. Adding more devices to the strain on these creaking networks won't help.

  • 63.
  • At 08:02 AM on 12 Apr 2008,
  • Jim wrote:

I live in Sweden and I miss my beloved BBC. Will it ever be possible to watch full content on iPlayer from abroad (within the EU)?

  • 64.
  • At 10:07 AM on 12 Apr 2008,
  • Steve wrote:

I don't understand all the emotion and vitriol against the BBC here. If the service is that bad, then don't use it. If there are alternatives then use them! Don't waste your time on this "poor..biased" service!

The BBC started off with Windows machines (I hate Microsoft), probably becasue they have the largest consumer base, and they are doing the Wii now because more Wii's have been sold in the UK then the other consoles? Also the social profile of Wii users is greater and thus reaches a wider range of people. If Nintendo were more flexible as well, then even better.

If you think iPlayer is great and want it to work on your XboxshPlaystation, Washing Machine etc then yes post here and try to convince the Beeb. If the service is poor then stop slagging the Beeb off and vote by going elsewhere!

  • 65.
  • At 11:25 AM on 12 Apr 2008,
  • Martyn wrote:


Firstly the Wii is not a dedicated multimedia unit. It is technically inferior to the XBOX 360 and even the PS3. It cannot output in HD 1080p for a start. It's target audience consists of children under 13 or adults who are casual gamers at best.

As for the BBC iPLAYER, well with the exception of Match of the Day (occasionally), this is not something that I would be interested in. The BBC content is poor at best and is simply not worth a second of my time.
So in summary, the XBOX 360 and PS3 are far better multimedia experiences, as I can connect my PC to them and do so much more than the Wii or the iplayer provides.
Absolutely no loss as far as Microsoft and Sony are concerned.
Darren's comments reek of sour grapes and resentment. The BBC content is simply too poor to promote on their (Sony and Microsoft) machines.

  • 66.
  • At 12:12 PM on 12 Apr 2008,
  • Andrew Morgans wrote:

im shocked at how poorly written this article is. Firstly you cannot possibly throw around phrases such as "truly dynamic range of online video content." when the wii is limited to the iplayer streaming content only. surely "dynamic range" implies many options such as the ability to actually download content. then you simply ignore the fact that you can already watch iplayer content on the 360 by downloading the content and streaming it across. how does making a deal with a single provider make a mockeryof the multimedia capabilities of the xbox 360 and ps3? is there going to be any content in HD, did the wii suddenly get dvd/blu ray capabilities? will it ever have a download option because of the lack of a hard drive? doubtful at best. then you also ignore the fact that MS has already signed a deal with BT for iptv and the ps3 is getting a freeview tuner with psp streaming capabilities.
fact of the matter is just because the wii has managed to secure a single content provider does not men that it is even close to the media capabilities of the other consoles.

  • 67.
  • At 12:18 PM on 12 Apr 2008,
  • Model600 wrote:

It depends on how you watch TV of course. IPlayer doesn't hold a great deal of interest for me as I download much of my TV and stream ,or browse off a pen drive, on my 360. The 360 can play DIVX and XVID formats natively so it's easier for me to download something and watch it when I'm ready - in HD.

  • 68.
  • At 12:54 PM on 12 Apr 2008,
  • john wrote:

You can get an unofficial version of the bbc iplayer for the ps3 by typing in this address in your ps3 browser. www.ps3iplayer.com.
Which proves that it is possible on the ps3 browser

  • 69.
  • At 06:43 PM on 12 Apr 2008,
  • Lennie wrote:

Please do your homework Darren

Everyone's watching the BBC iPlayer on their PS3's and they're not paying for it like Wii console owners do initially.

The PS3 is such an amazing media hub that it can even hack the iPlayer!!!!

  • 70.
  • At 10:45 PM on 12 Apr 2008,
  • Oliver Sloman wrote:

If you go to www.ps3iplayer.com on the PS3 browser you can use iplayer on your PS3 (this has not been created by the BBC itself by the way). There is an explanation of what the programmer who made it did if you visit the site from a computer.

I don't think Sony's and Microsoft's demands really tell the full story. The Wii iPlayer is browser based. The PS3 has a browser. Sony doesn't stop you browsing the sites you want. So why hasn't the BBC made it PS3 browser friendly? iPlayer works on PC and on Mac, using Firefox and Internet Explorer so why not do the same for the PS3 browser.

I CAN and HAS been done! But not by the BBC. Some clever person(s) created www.ps3iplayer.com and that works PERFECTLY on the PS3.

Really what is the BBC playing at?

  • 72.
  • At 09:52 AM on 13 Apr 2008,
  • jeff Dyer wrote:

You mention the BBC iplayer, but not one thank you to siemens or Kontiki for making this happen. Would I not be correct in pointing out that the only thing that make the BBC iplayer "BBC" is the content thats show on it.

Another very biased BBC article from a journalist who knows nothing about the corporation (should be production company) he works for.

BBC means british broadcasting corporation, the BBC has'nt doen any broadcasting for years, instead of wasting money on rebranding news 24 amosgst other things maybe the BBC should rebrand itself. How about BPC?

  • 73.
  • At 02:10 PM on 13 Apr 2008,
  • Martin wrote:

There is already an esy work around that allows PS3 owners to get the iPlayer on their machine too!

M

I think the Wii will become a marvellous tool for the future development of merging all media. However, it will become more apparent over time who has the best platform to do this (amongst Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo/etc).
I for one, will be watching with much anticipation to see what happens in the end.

There is an unofficial version of iPlayer for the PS3 out now - I watched Doctor Who on it yesterday.

It's done by some bloke in his bedroom, by all accounts.

www.ps3iplayer.com/

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