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Changes ahead

Steve Herrmann Steve Herrmann | 13:59 UK time, Monday, 15 January 2007

We're about to make a few changes to how we show you audio and video on the BBC News website, and on the BBC Sport and Weather sites.

A graphic of the BBC News websiteThe range of audio/video on offer will be the same, but there will be a simpler approach to the way it’s displayed and accessed.

So in the coming days, within the News audio/video player which launches when you click on any bit of audio or video on this site, we’ll be replacing the current sub-indexes of content with a simpler range of options. These will include links to related and recommended audio/video and, of course, links back to the News website.

Most audio/video is viewed from story and section pages and we’ll continue to make sure the best and most relevant is added to the main stories of the day. We’ll also continue to signpost the best audio/video from our front page and section pages.

In addition there will be a page of links to the best of the day’s audio/video which you’ll be able to get to from the left-hand navigation of the site. If you’re looking for a current audio/video story – a bit of news footage you've heard about or the interview that’s making the headlines - you'll be able to have a look there.

If you can’t see it there or if you’re looking for something that’s a few days, weeks or months old, you'll still be able to use our audio/video search. That lives behind the “Audio and Video” tab at the top of the main BBC site search on every page.

When the new-look player arrives on the site it will have a link in it for your feedback. We’re keen to hear what you think and it’ll help us work out what we need to do next.

For very assiduous readers of this blog with long memories (I realise this must be a small, if select, group): I said here back in August that we would revisit one or two of the changes we made then to audio/video promotion on our front page. Notable among these was the fact that the audio/video area of the page doesn’t stay hidden on return visits if you’ve chosen to close it, which you generally found annoying. We haven’t done that yet because we’ve had to get some other technical projects finished first, but it's on the to-do list and not forgotten.

Later this year the BBC is hoping to make wider changes to audio/video provision right across the website. Subject to approval by the BBC Trust, the plan is to introduce a new, unified ‘iPlayer’ service which will involve a consistent design for all audio/video players, more content on offer and the ability to download some of it.


The number one thing that urks me about audio/video content is that if I am somewhere where I don't want to watch/listen to the audio/video content, it can be difficult to find the equivalent text story. Can you add a "linking the plain old web version and the streaming media version closer together" item to the to-do list?

  • 2.
  • At 03:19 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • daniel wrote:

Can i suggest that when you have a link to a video or audio news story you also provide a link to the written story as well, sometimes it is not possible for me to watch the video clip but i really want to learn more about the story, but find it hard to find a written version of it.

thank you,

Will the new player be using Flash, like Youtube and so on? It'd be much better than clunky Real Player/WMP!

Woohoo, I hope we get links to the text based ones for when I'm at work and unable to watch the video feeds.

  • 5.
  • At 05:17 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • MeGene wrote:

Opposite to James's comment. Clunky old Real Player works better for me than Flash.

Hope you keep this option.

Using flash would be so much better for video as its much better supported. I still get buffering issues with real player and wmp isn't much better.

Real player isn't so bad for the radio but the quality isn't great, an MP3 stream would be better like most Internet Radio stations use.

How will the iPlayer work? Will it run on OS X? I tried to use that channel 4 on demand service but it wouldn't work. Even when I was using windows it wouldn't work because I was using Firefox.

  • 7.
  • At 05:26 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • Bob Faulkner wrote:

First, would "The Editors" please explain how one might "show" audio. Next, I suggest you keep 'talking head' presenters out of the video frame and focus on the subject being presented. The public already know what the mouthy blabbers look like; it would be great improvement over current practice to keep them clear of the field of vision so viewers might see what's purportedly of some interest. As the Chinese adage (with correct hyperbole) goes: "A picture is worth 10,000 words."

  • 8.
  • At 05:27 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • James Boulter wrote:

Can I second the calls for Flash?

Defaulting to Real Player, which BBC online has always done, involves an unnecessary relationship with a commercial provider and, worst of all, means new computer users get confused by the lengthy installation etc.

Flash Player has wider coverage and is generally far simpler.

Please consider it!

  • 9.
  • At 05:29 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • Chris R wrote:

In addition to (1) and (2) above, when in a situation where one can't watch or listen to audio/visual content - which for me is most, if not all, of the time I'm using the website - it becomes very annoying to have three red bars devoted to content I cannot use sitting persistently in the middle of the page! Even when 'hidden', they take up a sizeable amount of space, looking ugly and pushing headlines I want to see down the page and off the screen.

I hope that mention of the 'left-hand navigation' in your article means these links are being shifted to somewhere less intrusive, however the fact that you're promising to (finally) fix the continual 'un-hiding' of 'hidden' bars makes me fear that won't be the case. The main problem for me is that they are never hidden very well.

This is something I seem to remember a sizeable number of people commenting on in response to the August article you cite, comments which you seem to have conveniently forgotten.

Please, let users choose which media they prefer to give prominence to, rather than insisting on pushing your latest toys!

  • 10.
  • At 05:46 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • Peter Olsson wrote:

I so agree with James O'Malley. I hope you will not use Windows Media or Real Player format! (*Especially* not Windows Media!) Use Flash or QuickTime, that's the future.

Sounds like a welcome change Steve! Although I wait to see what it's what when it's launched! I use a mac, and fairly frequently flip4mac fails to play WMV video, so it's always a disappointment when the video is offered only in WMV since I mostly use real player. It also seems the quality of Real player video is lesser than that of WMV. Is this a technical constraint of the codec or due to the way you encode the video?

I also have to agree with the posters above about providing a text link to audio/video stories. It happens quite often that I'm short on time and can't find the text equivalent so don't read the story at all. It'd be nice to have quick access to the text only version.

Glad to see you've not forgotten about the cookie issue with the hiding audio/video box, and I'll look forward to it being fixed.


  • 12.
  • At 07:08 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • Steven Buckley wrote:

Again, please consider moving to a flash based player rather than Real. The current players do not correctly show the playback controls when viewing with OSX / Firefox and the player is unreliable with Safari.

Hopefully the changes will mean that Linux users are better served - currently a lot of fiddling about with codecs and configurations is required to view video media on the BBC News website.

  • 14.
  • At 07:37 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • Owain wrote:

I wish to echo many of the comments above. Please, please, please use Flash for video content.

As far as I know its by far the most widely supported format accross multiple platforms (Window/Mac/Linux)

Of course, you could still offer content in the old legacy formats (real/wmv) for those users who prefer it.


  • 15.
  • At 07:45 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • Rune B wrote:

Structure is important, yes. But when it comes to online videos the most important issue these days are using a format and encoding that can be viewed on various systems. The next few years we will se more users moving to Linux, various portable devices, and also more OS X users. This means that providers of online video should not target only one platform (e.g requiring Windows Media Player), or using a digital restriction mechanisms that will prevent certain platforms getting access to your content. This is also important in a democratic perspective as providing a format that is accessible for several platforms means more citizens can take part in what you are providing.

  • 16.
  • At 07:45 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • Philip Rosser wrote:

Sounds good. Hope you guys will be testing on Apple Macs too! And yes, links to text based pages is a good option for when audio/video cannot be played.

  • 17.
  • At 07:57 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • AK wrote:

For goodness' sake, BBC... stop choosing 'this' or 'that' proprietary media player and throw your weight behind open standards / open source. Although many traditional 'commercial software vendors' (such as Microsoft), are burying their heads in the sand, the days of proprietary / chargeable software are numbered and there will be a major shift in the business as far as all wide-appeal software is concerned. (Witness the change that has happened in the music / CD / iPod industry, with the film industry close behind). If you need a little convincing, listen to your own latest In Business programme about open source software, 11/Jan/07).

Personally, having worked with, and written, and taught about software for 35 years I need no convincing about the changes that are underway. I don't doubt that the established companies will have an ostrich-faith in their future for a while to come; but so did the CD manufacturers / distributors, though others had seen the writing on the wall for some time.

  • 18.
  • At 08:00 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • Jan Sears wrote:

I don't mind if content provided for WMP or using flash, unfortunately I find RealPlayer's Terms & Conditions and unwanted advertising offensive. To allow me to listen to streaming audio I still use an old (less intrusive) version or Realplayer (v8) However this doesn't allow me to play content unless I choose the play in standalone player link which is not always available on the page. So please make sure all content is available in an alternative form than RealPlayer. We pay our TV license so I don't expect to be bombarded by Real's advertising when trying to watch BBC content.


"Using flash would be so much better for video as its much better supported."

No, it isn't.
Many ill-informed people believe this and it's just not true.

Flash has to be manually installed on every platform, just like RealPlayer, so you can't claim any default support there.

Now look at platforms like BeOS, where they have access to RealPlayer, but not Flash video.

Look at architectures like 64bit, or PPC, which have very little to no support for either option.

Choosing a format whereby 100% of viewers *could* have access to it is better than picking something that only 90% *can* view it. More people have access to RealPlayer, but that's still not the best choice here.
Pick something open and open-source.

"Defaulting to Real Player, which BBC online has always done, involves an unnecessary relationship with a commercial provider"

One company doesn't profit from yet another site encouraging the use of Flash ? What a silly argument. Adobe is a company too.

  • 20.
  • At 08:33 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • Jeni Brotherton wrote:

Besides the reporting, what makes the BBC really stand out is the lack of advertisements; however, with the addition of red-barred media links cluttering the print, BBC to me, is adding advertisements.

Advertisements to watch BBC stuff, but advertisements nonetheless.

What's worse, as I now am abroad, I either cannot watch the links, or the quality is so poor, I won't watch them. I understand why this is, but the functional solution isn't.

I sincerely hope the BBC can remain an icon of information and current events. If video is important, then please provide it in HD quality to all of your readers; not just the ones close to home, otherwise, why bother?

Please keep BBC ad-free. How can a news website ever be trusted if they display ads? Check out for a comparison. BBC is is the only news site I read because there are no ads. When BBC pushes them on outsiders, I will be forced to stop consuming international news, and then, I'll just be another ignorant American.

  • 21.
  • At 08:44 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

For the love of God stop using Real Player. Follow the lead of sites like Youtube and use a Flash video streaming solution. If you're determined to rely on third party software then use Quicktime and Windows Media Player instead of Real Player. That piece of software is simply aweful, its inefficient, bloatware and their download site confuses you with flashing buy this buy this in your face the whole time, you have to hunt for the "free player" button.

  • 22.
  • At 09:03 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • David wrote:

Yes! Please - I also second the calls for FLASH.

Using clunky, outdated and highly proprietary software such as RealPlayer makes BBC website video and audio a real headache, both on Windows and on Linux.

Please consider it.

  • 23.
  • At 09:09 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • Geoff Lane wrote:

The BBC is developing open codecs - why are these not available as an option on at least some of the pages?

As Windows has no barriers to running open codecs, whereas Microsoft prevents others such as Linux and Solaris from using their formats, it seems obvious to me that the BBC should FIRST support open format codecs, Then everybody has access to the material.

  • 24.
  • At 09:15 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

Just like to add my voice to the above calls for Flash or QuickTime to be used instead of RealPlayer. Would make video more accessible/compatible.

And whatever you do, please don't ever leave us with just Windows Media Player as the only option!!! (Somehow I imagine Mac users being more drawn to your site than those of Sky news or ITV news)

As for those middle red sections for audio/video - yes, I too would prefer to see them disappear completely from the front page. I've had since last Summer to get used to them and it still looks too obstrusive, even when closed. Sometimes things grow on you over time, like the header that was changed last year which now fits well. Other times however, they don't. The AV section on the front page is one of them.

  • 25.
  • At 09:47 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • Pete wrote:

I find the BBC player gets usually half way through then it always starts buffering, I can solve this by right clicking and choosing the stand alone Real Player as it has the Pre-loading bar as you watch and I never experience any buffering but it all takes time to swap players, I'd love to be able to make a choice of my default player

  • 26.
  • At 09:55 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • Jon Wright wrote:

I 3rd the request for either Flash or Quicktime.

Flash works well enough on sites like YouTube, and I'm pretty sure Quicktime has an equal installed user base to Realplayer, which I've always found buggy and clunky whichever OS I'm on.

  • 27.
  • At 10:08 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • david aston wrote:

Please use windows media player as the default player. nearly everyone has this installed.
Real player is useless, and the all the others cause installation problems for any non geeks.

  • 28.
  • At 10:33 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • Harry wrote:

It really needs to be flash. The real player and the windows players are rubbish compared to other video viewed on the web. The bbc needs to move with the times.

Across computers and operating systems only one media type works well - FLASH. Part of the popularity of youtube must be that it is FLASH based with a "loading bar" such that even dial up users can view media without skipping. I've always found WMP and REAL a terrible user experience

  • 30.
  • At 10:59 PM on 15 Jan 2007,
  • Campbell Kelly wrote:

Please, please make the video bar default to 'closed'. Make it part of my profile, in a cookie, on this machine, if you must, but do it!

Will we to be able to choose a default 'third-party' player, such as Winamp, for the streamed content?

Can we hope to see the video DIVX encoded, so it looks more like TV and less like a badly-smudged postage stamp? It's really not worth watching at present, even with a fast connection.

I very rarely watch any video on the BBC website but during the FIFA World Cup the coverage was spectacular, even in full screen mode. If that system was different to the one you use on the News site, may I suggest you change to it immediately.

  • 32.
  • At 12:35 AM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Philip wrote:

My biggest problem with BBC video streams is that they stutter. A lot. There are frequent long pauses while the player is "communicating". This happens with everything from two minute football interviews to an eighteen minute Newsnight story, or last year's Doctor Who clips.

I have a 1Mbps connection, and don't have these problems streaming video from anywhere else, even at much higher bitrates than the BBC uses.

I can only assume that the BBC servers are constantly overloaded, or there is some other bottleneck.

So thanks for your wonderful content! But please make it less frustrating to watch.

  • 33.
  • At 12:42 AM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Bob wrote:

Considering that:-

  • flash movies are bigger than wmv et al.
  • that quicktime is not often installed.
  • people I know have difficulty with real player.
  • that conflict always occurs between common video formats for mac, linux, windows users.

I personally believe that the B.B.C.should do a "Google" and create a bespoke a/v codec and software. The appropriate software being automatically downloaded when initially required.

There is a far more important reason to use Flash - Flash is supported in most corporate environments, and the ports it uses generally not blocked on corporate firewalls. Those used by Real and Windows Media are. If the purpose of a news organization is to reach the widest audience, and a single choice must be made, there is no reasonable alternative to Flash.

I don't agree with the previous comments in favour of using a flash based player. Windows and Real media formates are fine, i'd rather have a more generic format like mpeg, mp3, or even divx encoded media. Flash movies are very poor on low-end computer systems, and pda's / smart phones.

Don't current accessibility guidelines require the BBC to provide a text based transcript of audio content? It seems from many of the above comments it fails to do so. Surely that means the BBC is breaking the law?

  • 37.
  • At 06:43 AM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Jason Pepper wrote:

flash, aha... Saviour of the universe..

Please don't persist with the use of the insideous real player software.. Moving to Flash would be the best web site update you could do in 2007

  • 38.
  • At 07:42 AM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Hermit wrote:

Higher definition streamed video that will default to the larger display frame, or better still be good enough for full-screen would be nice.

And do try to obscure less of the content behind presenters' faces. Pictures before presenters, Please!

  • 39.
  • At 08:01 AM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Andrey F wrote:

I have a PocketLoox C550 running Windows Mobile 5 and connected to the Internet via a Wi-Fi Access Point. Unfortunatelly Mobile IE srews up JavaScript in the Player window. Could you please place somewhere in the Player window a clickable link to the stream to feed it directly to the standalone Windows Media Player.

  • 40.
  • At 08:31 AM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • John wrote:

So long as the format is open I don't really care what it is.

Although there are two categories of people I think need to be considered:
1) New users - for whom a you-tube like experience would be great
2) Techie users - for whom some formats are a pain, offer a selection for download and be done.

  • 41.
  • At 09:02 AM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Bob Kerr wrote:

I'm very glad that you are moving forward in this area because I can see that it is one of the most important. I hope that I see the open version of the H.264 codec used or that more reources are put into building the Dirac Codec.

  • 42.
  • At 09:39 AM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Adam wrote:

Add me to list of requests for flash player support of the content.

I use a mac and it is very frustrating when I try to listen to audio/video and just get with a plague of bugs, content not loading, errors etc. Eventually I can get it to work but it is quite frustrating.

Thanks for listening.

  • 43.
  • At 10:09 AM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Thomas wrote:

It's not a case of using quicktime, quicktime isn't a format. That said, it's support of the open h.264 that makes it a great choice though.

  • 44.
  • At 10:44 AM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Edward Jones wrote:

Anything that makes the streaming of video better and less prone to pauses and interruptions in playback is a good thing in my opinion. Google Video/You Tube are good examples as you can stop the playback while the video downloads so you can then see the whole video stream without interruptions. I don't mind waiting a bit for the download to complete if this solves the stop-start-stop nature of the streaming that I currently experience.

  • 45.
  • At 10:47 AM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • James Boulter wrote:

"One company doesn't profit from yet another site encouraging the use of Flash ? What a silly argument. Adobe is a company too."

The BBC used to have a special page on the Real site, where a different process of installation was employed. Indeed, the current link from the BBC (
&p=RealPlayer&oem=bbc&src=&tagtype=ie&type=bbc) suggests this is still the case.

Secondly, we are only suggesting this as an additional (and I would argue, default) option.

Lastly, in case anyone thinks this is an academic argument between a load of geeks: well, yes it is. BUT: I think I can honestly say that Youtube would not have been half as successful as it is if it used only WMP/Real like the BBC does. The additional download times would be unbearable.

BBC: If you want more people to watch your media content, a more effective way even than the new advertising would be to introduce Flash video.

From what I understand, the BBC iPlayer technology relies on Windows technology and will not run on anything not produced by Microsoft, so Mac users and Linux users will be explicity excluded from using it.

If the new BBC News video player is based on the same technology, I'd be very upset, and I'm sure millions of others would be too.

  • 47.
  • At 11:18 AM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Tom Page wrote:

I'll add my calls for video/audio stories to have a link to the text version of the story. Not only is this great at work, great for hearing/visually impaired users and better for slow-connection users, it's also good for quickly checking if the story is something you want to watch/read/listen to.


Quicktime for me please.

I can't wait to see the BBC on the iPhone.

  • 49.
  • At 11:34 AM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Scott wrote:

please, please use something other than RealMedia.

OPEN-NESS please:

1 All BBC TV and all programs on-line.
2 Streaming and video downloads (preferrably iPod compatible - MPEG4 or H264 640x480)
3 News snippets for fast updates
4 Open file standards MPEG4/H264 & MP3 or AAC
5 Links to suppliers of reliable players for whatever platform you use (eg Quicktime for ASX / Windows, Real if you use SMIL, Flash if you chose that). But best of all streams and videos for every platform.

By the way I regularly watch NASA TV, and it work very well (I use the Quicktime MOV or WMV files) at full screen size. Why not be better BBC?

  • 51.
  • At 11:54 AM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Mark H wrote:

Ditto the above comments. I do not like Real player, it has infested my system with is bloated software and I really object to the adverts it insists on popping up all the time. I also suspect it feeds information back to real networks about my viewing habits.

Please can you go to an in-line format like flash as used by all of the popular on-line video services?



What's the current state of play with the BBC Dirac video codec they put up at Sourceforge a couple of years ago?

Isn't it ready for use yet?

My understanding that this codec will be free to all and so can be added to any video player the user happens to have installed.

Therefore allowing the viewer to use any media playing program they have installed and on any computer platform.

So no need to install any other special player.

I love this. "I pay my licence and demand that the BBC provide anything I ask for without regard to cost!"

I'm guessing one reason that we don't see text versions of video reports is that they don't exist unless and until someone sits down and writes them. Which costs money.

An interesting way forward would be for the BBC website user community to set up their own boards, and zealous individuals do their own transcriptions for the benefit of all. But no doubt there'd be copyright problems, as well as the issue of assuring accuracy.

But there has to be some way of mobilising all that energy that goes into disaffecteed whining about the BBC (yes, I'm guilty, too).

The reason that the YouTube approach has been so successful is due to the default 'out of the box' support for Flash by the lastest few versions of Internet Explorer. New users, most of which will be using IE, cannot be put off by confusing prompts for plugins, firewall port requests, or codecs that arent installed on their machine.

Flash is by far the simplest method to get video to the masses but it neither the best quality format nor the smallest file size to store.

As a web developer, I under the pain of the 'format of the month' and the requests to change your entire video library to another format just because your current one isnt supported on someones PDA running Mac OS with the Opera browser!

Stick with the best quality formats until the format war finally resolves itself just in time for the IP-on-demand HD future.

  • 55.
  • At 01:05 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • tel wrote:

For those complaining about having to install realplayer with all is bloatware and advertising,there is an much better alternative.

Just google "real alternative" for more information.

So long as there's an option that doesn't require me to install RealPlayer, I'm happy.

  • 57.
  • At 01:16 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Dave Higton wrote:

Please, please, please, please, please: cease and desist using proprietary formats. No more Real, no more Flash, no more QuickTime. Use MPEG, MP3, and/or any encoders whose corresponding decoders are not barred from any platform.

  • 58.
  • At 01:17 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • lee caller wrote:

to be honest i dont mind what they to the player as long as they get it to work with either safari or firefiox on the Mac.

Always fails to load, nice box and black screen ... Why oh why is only Windows supported.

Just wanted to add my voice to the calls for H264.

I would suggest using a youtube style flash frontend by default but including a direct link to a H264 stream alongside the flash player.

This way the windows using masses will be happy with a system they are already used to and the more technical amongst us can just click h264 link and let quicktime, mplayer or the player of their choice handle it.

  • 60.
  • At 01:25 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

Flash video please !

I echo those who mention compatibility issues and as a Mac OS X user, would welcome a multi-platform and multi-browser option.

i.e. Flash !

  • 61.
  • At 01:30 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Lenny wrote:

To be honest, I would be happy with any format that didn't require me to reboot my PC with Windows when running Linux just to be able to hear some streaming audio.

That said, given that more and more BBC content will be higher definition in the future, having a format that can be run full-screen would be a major bonus. Something currently lacking on YouTube and GoogleVideo.

  • 62.
  • At 01:34 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Jonathan Andrews wrote:

If iPlayer is not open and portable then its of no benefit to me.

Introducing DRM crippled non portable crap like this and then pretending its in the "consumers" interest is ill thought out.

As a user exclusively of linux I will not be able to view any of the content. The "DRM" aspect of this venture, limiting consumers to a 7 day window is pointless and artificial, as long is video is viewable it will be copied, this just ensures a two tier system of pirate and non-pirate copies of BBC content. As a license payer I don't see why the BBC should be able to sell me the content i've already paid for - all BBC content should be available in a non rights managed format.

If the BBC is not going to be open and non-restricted then its a commercial organisation and should stop pretending and scrap the license fee.

  • 63.
  • At 01:38 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

I'd be concerned about changes to the delivery of video that excluded any user group. The suggestion that Flash or Quicktime should become the exclusive wrapper for video is laughable - what about mobile users? Unmetered data plans together with 3G and 3.5G connections are giving users comparable access to home broadband, whilst the increasing capabilities of devices running Windows Mobile, Palm and Symbian systems are such that they are likely to make up a large proportion of on demand video services in the future.

  • 64.
  • At 01:39 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Steven Cordon wrote:

May I suggest the BBC develop it's own Radio/Video player - one that would be compatible with ALL platforms - Windows, Mac, & the various flavours of Linux, etc.

Over the last 5 years I've tried dozens of times to install Real Player, but it's never worked satisfactorily (possibly because I object strongly to it's constant attempts to "call home", which I block with good old Sygate Personal Firewall).

I don't even bother to try to watch BBC video any more, & yes, I wholeheartedly agree with everyone who asks for a link to the Text Item next to the Video Link.

  • 65.
  • At 01:42 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Kevin wrote:

Not impressed by Real Player - complete pants!
On Windows, WMP [everyone's got it].
On Mac & Linux, QuickTime.
All Mac users have it and if you're using Linux then you've a fair idea how to get it - right ;).
Do us all a favour and ditch the crud that is Real Player.

Oh, and yes, links to text based versions of audio and video content would be great.


"Lastly, in case anyone thinks this is an academic argument between a load of geeks: well, yes it is."
Obviously :)

"BUT: I think I can honestly say that Youtube would not have been half as successful as it is if it used only WMP/Real like the BBC does. The additional download times would be unbearable."

That's right, it's only been popular and successful because some users already have flash. If they would have picked WMV as the format, it would be as or more popular - just because of Windows' Monopoly.

But we'll never know how well they would've done if all their videos were in an open format like Ogg Theora. Anyone can view those with the correct codec, and that allows them to view it in *any* player.

"BBC: If you want more people to watch your media content, a more effective way even than the new advertising would be to introduce Flash video."

As far as I can see, the BBC has choosen Real and WM formats because they can limit them to streaming only, as in, it's more difficult to download and keep rm files than it is to capture flv files.

The BBC has massive control over what people use on their computers, can't they do something right for a change? Pick an open format.

  • 67.
  • At 02:10 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Kevin Small wrote:

Use MP3 foe Audio and MPEG4 for video the visitors to the site can use their own choice of software to use the content.

Firstly, comment number 50 referring to openness!?mpeg and aac are NOT open standards!!

That out of the way, please support real open standards like ogg vorbis/theora. I think this is unlikely but as these are the only codecs that aren't burdened with patents and poor (or a complete lack of) documentation they are the only options that are perfect for ALL platforms.

  • 69.
  • At 02:14 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • David wrote:

I have for a long time asked the BBC to address the issue of Mac users being easily able to access BBC video content via QuickTime or other high-quality media.

What a waste of time!

I no longer look to the BBC for video news coverage.

And whilst I'm on ... why do we have to endure the massive banners in BBC News24 which often obscure important parts of the picture. Is it to mimic the likes of CNN and Fox?

  • 70.
  • At 02:22 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • David Chismon wrote:

Flash is perhaps without signficant load times but shockingly bad quality. BBC is moving towards whole programs on the net, i personally couldnt face viewing them in youtube-esque low res. Flash simply isnt designed for video, its designed for vector graphics. As a fair assumption is that peoples bandwith will increase with time i reckon that wmp is as good a format as any, perhaps with a flash offering for the bandwidth impaired?
Ditch realplayer though, the advertising is just too invasive.

  • 71.
  • At 02:57 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • UNIX user wrote:

More UNIX support. You would do well supporting open standards in audio and video transport. Flash would be sucky, although it would provide better cross platform support than Real. Provide the stream, have your own site based player but let other people develop a stream front-end if they wish. Just a thought,

  • 72.
  • At 03:16 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Liam wrote:

Considering you are meant to be a public service, I still can't fathom why the video is released in proprietary formats. Formats which actually force people to use particular companies products, I assume they aren't giving you any financial incentive for this?
Why not actually provide a service everyone can easily use and release them in a standards compliant format like MPEG?
I see many people are asking for Flash (another proprietary) which doesn't actually provide versions for the type of computer I own.
At the risk of sounding like so many of the other BBC-moaners, please spend my TV licence on something that I can actually watch.

  • 73.
  • At 04:45 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

As this seems to have turned into a "vote for the format you desire" discussion - add another vote for MPEG (please don't lock out those who do not wish to use Flash like 4OD has)

  • 74.
  • At 04:58 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • David wrote:

On the contrary to comment 10, I prefer to see audio/video content in Windows Media Player.

I am a student at 6th form college studying computing and business studies. We often have to make PowerPoint presentations including video and audio, and the BBC's use of WMP means I can embed relevant BBC video directly into PowerPoint. This is not possible with any other format.

And on the contrary to other comments complaining about buffering problems, Windows Media Player 10 has no buffering problems at all on my computer or on college computers. Yet RealPlayer 10 keeps stopping every few seconds to buffer.

  • 75.
  • At 05:07 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Callum wrote:

As someone who recently moved abroad, I have had to seek an alternative to the BBC, and am now using the CNN player (costing just a few $ a month) which is usually excellent. Couldn't the BBC do this too? I would be willing to pay for broadband content from the BBC and I'm sure there are thousands of others who would too. The only way I can get it right now seems to be via BBC World on realplayer which requrires the "Realplayer Superpass" which is very costly and very unreliable. I think the BBC has a large untapped source of income which it seems unwilling to exploit.

  • 76.
  • At 05:14 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Sean wrote:

Another request to please ditch Real Player, it is absolutey awful.

  • 77.
  • At 05:19 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Dick Morris wrote:

Why OH why always these proprietory media players of flash, real player or windows media...?? Most internet radio stations use MP3's..

ALSO and I feel this is IMPORTANT, why limit MP3 to UK ONLY internet reception..?? When I travel not all the borrowed computers have Real Player, so then I cannot listen which is VERY annoying. I have to go and " borrow " someones satellite connection to listen..

  • 78.
  • At 07:02 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Barrie Stansfield wrote:

Please provide a text version along with the video/audio.

  • 79.
  • At 07:42 PM on 16 Jan 2007,
  • Al wrote:

I had the "Flash" player installed on my machine but had to remove it because it lacked an independent volume control and because some sites that ues it for blaring ads. Since I need the volume set to a certain level for working Flash posed more of an inconvience than a benefit. Business that operate their site as a Flash required site just simply lose my business. When I've told sites that I won't be dealing with their web site because the Flash player doesn't have a global volume setting normaly respond with just turn down the volume on your system even though I've told them that I need it left at a specific level.

QuickTime, QuickTime, QuickTime please or Flash, but don't saddle us with Microsoft mediocrity and leave the increasing Mac population out in the cold.

  • 81.
  • At 12:28 AM on 17 Jan 2007,
  • BBCReader wrote:

Fingers crossed that BBC will move away from horrible formats that don't work (very well) on "non-standard" platforms. A flash based solution would mean we don't have to install horrible clunky (adware/spyware) ridden bloated software to view BBC content.

  • 82.
  • At 12:36 AM on 17 Jan 2007,
  • Nik wrote:

BBC, please listen.

I live in an area where there is no TV signal, yet I have broadband.

1) I want to watch the BBC live through the Internet. I don't want to make a cable company rich just so I can watch your fine programming. I have no need for the other 30+ channels that getting cable would result in.

2) Get rid or real-player.

3) Please, please, please, don't DRM the life out of what you put online. If people want to pirate content, they will anyway. Portability is going to be a key issue, and I don't want to have to connect to the internet to gain a license to play an audio/video clip.

I hope the iPlayer works out. The IMP was a failure which made many people angry. I hope this offering is better, more usable, and available to everybody.

The BBC should be leading the pack in the digital age, I hope this offering is worthy of the fine name of the BBC, which is one of the best institutions in the UK.

  • 83.
  • At 01:13 AM on 17 Jan 2007,
  • Scott C wrote:

Another vote for Flash, please... as long as there's an alternative when I'm using my PDA (which doesn't run Flash) which I can watch.

Also - I'm really pleased you've remembered about the annoying Video tab on the homepage not remembering to stay shut. I remembered you'd made that promise the other day, and was going to mail and remind someone about it...


  • 84.
  • At 07:59 AM on 17 Jan 2007,
  • Paul Francis wrote:

Flash Flash Flash!! I would watch the BBC website more than I do now if you used Flash. Real Player is no longer the top dog it used to be (being a web developer I work with these technologies all day, everyday). I can watch CNN, Reuters etc any time of the day without buffering problems, yet the BBC jerks, stops, pixelates, and basically ruins the whole viewing experience.

What adds insult to injury, is the fact that the only reason I have the invasive Real Player installed on my system is for the BBC and no other website! Surely the BBC can save money on Real Player license fees and put the money into a more effective distribution method. I rate the BBC's online viewing experience as the worst on the net!! This is because of the delivery method, not the content. I've been meaning to say this for quite some time, and feel much better now. Thank you.

  • 85.
  • At 09:30 AM on 17 Jan 2007,
  • Paul Harvey wrote:

I would like to add my vote to the many above, regarding a shift from the current media player technology. Please 'open up' to more platforms/options: Microsoft is not the only way anymore, even though they still have a large majority, this majority has dropped significantly in the last 1-2 years.

People want more open standards. There are plenty examples of these standards being professional. The BBC leads the way with their level of information on the website, now bring the video / audio option up to date as well.

REAL is old, it's dying, nobody talks about it anymore as a media format.

  • 86.
  • At 09:31 AM on 17 Jan 2007,
  • Jon T wrote:


The BBC uses the name iPlayer, stealing the iName from Apple.

And then it builds its iPlayer with software from... Microsoft?

Sue the BBC Apple.

  • 87.
  • At 09:36 AM on 17 Jan 2007,
  • Ben Walmisley wrote:

#1 - Text equivalents of video stories. I may want to read about the story rather than listening or watching it. I may be in a place where I can't listen to audio (which makes video pretty useless).

#2 - Open Codecs or Flash. RealPlayer is awful.

  • 88.
  • At 09:52 AM on 17 Jan 2007,
  • Alan Taylor wrote:

The BBC always used to pride itself on being a universal broadcaster. It would have been inconceivable that the BBC would have started a service that would only work with one brand of receivers, but not with others.

But since the BBC signed the memorandum of understanding with Microsoft, there has been a trend away from universally compatible standards towards formats that only work on Microsoft's operating system.

It's quite unacceptable that one manufacturer's products should be exclusively supported while others are excluded and that's certainly not how the BBC should operate.

As a national Broadcaster, the BBC should have certain principles and being universally accessible should be very high on that list of principles.

If the BBC chooses not to be universally accessible, then it needs to be funded in a way that is not universally paid. I would have thought that it would be beneficial for the BBC to be seen to be as universal as possible and restrict it's products to be viewed solely on Microsoft's systems.

  • 89.
  • At 10:29 AM on 17 Jan 2007,
  • Adam Edge wrote:


You are supposed to be a public service, however, although I use a modern computer I am forced to use Real Player to view the majority of content as I refuse to use WMP as it involves using it in the main with ActiveX, the most unsecure technology known.

I use Real Player begrudgingly (with all options turned off), although the picture quality is mediocre at best.

Why can't you use an open source solution, which anybody can use - say, ogg vorbis/thedora. Are we being subjected to Real for commercial gain and are we being subjected to WMP because of the BBC's "Memorandum of Understanding"

Or am I being cynical?

  • 90.
  • At 10:48 AM on 17 Jan 2007,
  • Alan Taylor wrote:

In #88, I omitted a 'not' from my final line. I hope that I don't need to point out precisely where it was intended to be.

I'm another who would like clearer links to the text versions of articles, and who hopes the BBC never moves towards providing web content solely in video or audio formats.

  • 92.
  • At 11:16 AM on 17 Jan 2007,
  • Ally wrote:

Use flash. Suggestions of Ogg codecs etc. are all very well, but many PC users are in the dark about installing codecs etc- using Flash would make it simple for everyone, just look at YouTube.

  • 93.
  • At 12:22 PM on 17 Jan 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

I back the call for open source. Forget Flash, the little lemmings that go for it just because trendy social sites use it are not people to take seriously. Like one of your other posters, I too have worked in IT for over 25 years and know the value of open source and the place it leads to. Flash has always been a hate of mine as it is abused on nearly every site you go to. Waiting 60 or more seconds for some marketing garbage to load just so you can click "enter site" is the ultimate insult to a surfer. If you use Flash on your site your marketers will avail of it and alienate many visitors, make no mistake.

  • 94.
  • At 12:39 PM on 17 Jan 2007,
  • simon wrote:

please don't use real player or at least offer the option for use to view video or listen to audio via a different player.

Real player is horrible, tries to encourage you to buy rather than use their free version, the free version pesters you to allow it to be your preferred player, and is just a general pain.

  • 95.
  • At 01:03 PM on 17 Jan 2007,
  • David M wrote:

I would just like to have a video link launch a video, and nothing on the side. If Realplayer is to stay, then I would very much like the video link I click to launch straight into the Realplayer app. I don't care for other stories or video links.

  • 96.
  • At 01:42 PM on 17 Jan 2007,
  • Vince wrote:

In response to all those that think Flash works across all platforms, Flash is only available for 32bit versions of Windows, Linux & MacOSX which leaves users of 64bit Windows, 64bit Linux & PowerPC Linux (and even Playstation 3 Linux in the near future) unable to access Flash based streams without complicated workarounds.

Currently RealPlayer is available for a few more platforms than Flash, as they also include support for mobile devices, Unix & Mac OS8/9...

...and this is the problem with relying on a proprietory distribution technique, only the manufacturer (in Flash's case Adobe) has the source code, so only they can make the software available for whatever platforms they choose.

BBC already has a good thing going with the open development of the DIRAC codec which can be made available for ALL platforms because it's open source (therefore it can be recompiled onto any platform and then made available for anyone to use and redistribute). It's already being made available to us Linux users via repositories on a number of distros.

This should be the way to go as it would be an easier installation process than RealPlayer currently is and would enable the BBC to host the codec on their own site for downloads (rather than having to link to RealPlayer's website).

  • 97.
  • At 01:50 PM on 17 Jan 2007,
  • James Boulter wrote:

"Forget Flash, the little lemmings that go for it just because trendy social sites use it are not people to take seriously."

Yes, but the very reason these "trendy social sites" use Flash is that it works best. It reaches the most people. It does not carry "bloatware". It just works.

Those calling for open-source: this is all very well, and I understand the point. Open source formats are ideal, if you know what you're doing. But for the average computer user, whose default setup does not recognise .ogg's but plays flash automatically, they are impractical. Please have a little commercial reality.

Finally: Flash is not a flash in the pan. Every Windows (and Mac) computer I have come across in the last 5 years has been able to play Flash. A lot more than can be said for Real, certainly.

  • 98.
  • At 02:08 PM on 17 Jan 2007,
  • Graham Howell wrote:

Why are you people, so keen on using Flash and Quicktime?

They're just as bad as Real and WMV.

They're all closed source.

Use open formats like DivX and or MPEG.
They offer decent rates of compression and picture quality and are available to users of most Operating Systems rather than just the big three (Windows, Linux and MacOS).

  • 99.
  • At 03:43 AM on 18 Jan 2007,
  • Bernard wrote:

Just a quick word.

For the folk who don't like 'Windows Media Player' and/or 'Real Player'. There is an alternative, and it is FREE (Hooray). It is called 'Media Player Classic'

It plays nearly all types of files. It does not support .fla.

Hope this helps.


p.s. Here's the download link:

The changes to the way audio and video is presented on the BBC News, Sport and Weather websites which I mentioned above were completed yesterday after a morning of hard work by our technical and audio/video teams. There’s a detailed explanation here of what has changed and why. Have a look and see what you think.

Thanks to all who’ve sent in feedback so far – I’ll post responses to your questions and comments as soon as we’ve gone through them all.

  • 101.
  • At 07:01 PM on 19 Jan 2007,
  • Sean wrote:


I found the old news player much easier to use... I will really miss the story and category options on the right-hand side.... I dont want to have to go hunting around for video/audio content... Used to just get home watch a couple of stories from each category... all much easier than the new set-up!

  • 102.
  • At 09:53 AM on 21 Jan 2007,
  • Chris Rowe wrote:

Re-introduce DOUBLE SIZE within the news player asap.

  • 103.
  • At 01:54 PM on 22 Jan 2007,
  • Peter Bourne wrote:

Please leave News/Sport/Weather/Radio players alone.
They are what they should be a quick glance at whats happened/happening with the option to bypass sensationalism and trivia.

  • 104.
  • At 01:49 PM on 23 Jan 2007,
  • Roy wrote:

I've been watching the One O'clock News from the BBC, on my PC in the office, for years. Makes a nice lunch break. I go away on business for a week, come back and it's gone! What happened? Now, I just get the option of a two- or one-minute summary.

I'm not getting into all the techie stuff (I use Real Player, and get little or no buffering) but I just want my 30 minutes of lunchtime BBC news back. Can anyone throw any light on what's happening?

  • 105.
  • At 06:54 AM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Tex wrote:

Do a search on the internet for Realalt. Download it, install it, and use it instead of Real. Also try Quicktimealt instead of Quicktime.

I'm sure you do have an investment to return on, but using DRM and patent heavy Windows formats means I can't view the service I pay for on any of my primary computing platforms, which do support Flash and/or Real.

  • 107.
  • At 07:53 PM on 24 Jan 2007,
  • Andrew Mcall wrote:

Please don't use any obscure open source nonsense software, or listen to the loud minority of thick spectacled nerds that bleat on about it constantly.

These are the same people that 10 years fantasised that we'd all be using linux..guess what beards..nobody bothered. Life is too short to bother having to compile or install software by command prompt, or figure out a hundred different ui's or forks or distros etc

The general public will never, never accept the mess of impossible techo-jiggery pokery and non-functionary that geek losers get high on when using open source confuseware.

Nobody cares about linux or be-os or dungeons-and-dragons-saddo-os. They don't need to be supported, they made their choice to not have fun on the internet when they installed their o.s.

Just use flash. It's easy, small, non-intrusive. It annoys beards too :)

  • 108.
  • At 11:31 PM on 30 Jan 2007,
  • Eddie Duggan wrote:

Why doesn't the BBC provide the licence payers with some real choice: encode audio and video with open source codecs (ogg vorbis for audio; theora for video) and make them available for download.

In addition to downloadable content, provide some choice in streaming media. One streaming option is unlikely to satisfy all needs, so it would be a good idea to spend a trial period (perhaps 18 months to two years) offering several: FLV and Quicktime versions that will play in the browser, together a BBC-branded player (without any garishness, please: try to make it look like it's something other than a box of downmarket washing powder) that will support a widely available codec like Xvid.

If it isn't possible to offer multiple formats in perpetuity, finish off the trial period with one of those "give us your views" type of surveys and match the views against the logs to help determine which format(s) get most usage.

  • 109.
  • At 07:50 PM on 05 Feb 2007,
  • ian wrote:

I now have to work between at least 2 windows to navigate to video clips. Previously related content and menu same as main news site was provided within video player window. I fail to see how this is considered a usability improvement.

My prime method of navigation through clips has been removed and it takes a lot longer to see what i want or know what's available. Opening pages in different windows without telling the user is generally felt to be bad usability practice. All links now seem to affect video play, whereas before only a direct request to play a video had that affect.

I care little for the format of video as long as i can browse through the clips ok, I feel this had been made a lot more difficult.

  • 110.
  • At 05:00 PM on 06 Feb 2007,
  • r wrote:

broadcast in non proprietary standards please.

  • 111.
  • At 06:34 PM on 12 Feb 2007,
  • David M wrote:

Changes to the video player made in the last couple of days have made it totally useless!!! The screen size is smaller - too small to see any detail, the quality of the image is appalling and the soundtrack is like someone talking through a sock!! Please change the video player back to the way it used to be - and please do it immediately!!!!

  • 112.
  • At 01:16 PM on 21 Feb 2007,
  • nigel wrote:

I have just read the shocking news that you have chosen Windows Media 10. A closed format unavailable to many viewers. I have to admit that I was worried a few months back when I read that the BBC and Microsoft had entered into a partnership. And now my worries have been justified. Microsoft has cleverly induced the BBC to endorse its products, and eliminate free and open alternatives in one fell swoop. Shocking that the BBC could be so gullible.

  • 113.
  • At 10:21 PM on 11 Mar 2007,
  • William Roberts wrote:

Hi, as an Apple Mac user, and a licence fee payer, I sincerely hope that the BBC will make the streaming audio and video accessible.

At the moment, I have to really work hard to stream the audio, when it should be simple and easy to use, based on quicktime or flash.

Yr player should be compatible with safari as well as Firefox browsers.

As for the video - so far I've not been able to make the player play anything on my mac. Hopefully you can turn your attention to this obvious problem.



  • 114.
  • At 01:45 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Dennis Holdroyd wrote:

I am not at all impressed! You have spent millions if not Billions on the latest up to date technology and now your using it as if it is a steam train. Your equipment is new, your people and management are old and out of date. Radio seven with a lot less and old programmes gets a better listener group, other than stupid insipid soap's, than any of your other stations. You need 28 to 30 year olds brought up a little on the rough side of life to get through to the public. Not University Graduates with conditioned brains. it used to be called Institutionalisation. That is the BIG BAD CABBAGE.

Please please please can you start using a more standard format for video. I would recommend flash video. The reason is that anyone (like me) that own a Mac cannot always play the content through the flip for mac plugin for quicktime. And we do not want to have to install more nasty microsoft software. Flash would be a great solution for all platforms including windows and mac os x. It seems as though reading the comments of others I am not the only one wanting this change!
Hoping that you will take our comments on board - Mark.

  • 116.
  • At 12:55 PM on 27 May 2007,
  • Oswald Kelso wrote:

I would urge the beep to go for an open standard as a linux user on ppc flash does not exist! realplayer does offer some ppc support at least sound works so I can listen to five live though the version is several years old. Ogg and dirac would be great then anyone could use it, and it would have no licensing problems so may help keep the tv license fee down :)

I'm sure if you implemented dirac as an option the coders would respond and improve it further. Plus you would avoid application lock in and help to reassure viewers that "outside forces" are not influencing you in anyway.


  • 117.
  • At 08:46 PM on 27 May 2007,
  • Tony H wrote:

Why use a format that suits only Microsoft users when one that is compatible with a wider audience is available?
Please change to flash, as a user of Ubuntu Linux it would make my life so much easier.

  • 118.
  • At 01:53 PM on 21 Jun 2007,
  • Elwyn Watson wrote:

I would like to second the post above. As a user of Debian Linux, I find the Linux port of Real Player a real pain. They haven't bothered to port it properly and Linux users have to put up with severely limited functionality. Why don't I give up and use Microsoft Windows? Ha! Don't be silly...

  • 119.
  • At 10:03 PM on 30 Jun 2007,
  • Diederik van der Staay wrote:

It might seem as if this issue has died sometime after 27 May, but alas, the problems still persist! I just put in this email to the editor, but placing a copy here might do no harm:

Dear BBC, Would it be too much to ask to make any video content of the BBC websites also available in formats that can be read by non-microsoft windows run computers?
It would enhance the image of quality and especially the independence of the BBC (of Microsoft) greatly.

Thanking you in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Diederik van der Staay

  • 120.
  • At 10:31 PM on 11 Jul 2007,
  • Jim wrote:

WE NEED OPEN FORMAT video and audio. I cannot use Real Player, Windows Media Player Nor FLASH. Give us .wav audio and .avi video! Everyone can listen/view these files.

  • 121.
  • At 06:41 AM on 16 Aug 2007,
  • Richard Holland wrote:

What an interesting discussion. I use linux gentoo and I am testing my media plugins. The BBC site has proved the most difficult I have found worldwide to access streaming video,and from what I see it's going to get worse.There is something very odd about your implementation of Realplayer.
It's therefore a great test site as anything that works here will work anywhere.
Keep up the good work!!
Can't get realplayer properly up yet on all pages but intermittent success.

Why dont you just do what the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation ) does. They have great streaming video with a choice of Realplayer or Windows Media,both of which I can stream faultlessly in Linux Firefox ?

Joe"Windows"Public would still be happy

  • 122.
  • At 08:21 AM on 19 Aug 2007,
  • Stephen B. Streater wrote:

I have made a video of the recent Free Software Foundation protest against the proprietary nature of the BBC iPlayer, which includes interviews and comments from the leaders of the Free Software movement. You can see the video here.

It seems as though there is a lot of conflict over what player and formats to use for the news player.

Personally I would go with Flash, however I can appreciate those that do not want to use it. Yes people are right in that whatever platform you choose it needs to be installed on a machine. However with Flash, if you are using the web these days it is almost essential to have flash in order to view many web pages correctly and therefore most have it installed. With Real Player for example (and I don't particularly dislike it I might add!) the BBC News video clips is the only thing that I use it for.

The main platforms that people are using the BBC News Site on are probably Windows, MAC OS X and Linux (I would assume - maybe I am wrong!). Therefore pick a couple of formats that will play on either. The two that I would opt for are Real Player and flash. Both would work on all formats. There is the option of two players now (Windows Media Player and Real Player) so why not keep the option in the future?

  • 124.
  • At 07:45 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • shayne wrote:

I cant watch these videos because the microsoft crap doesnt support my platform

PLEASE consider an open source platform , or if you must, something like Realplayer or Apple Quicktime, that at least we can get a reliable , eve open source, alternative for on Linux and Apple machines.

I want to be informed too, but Im not buying a broken windows machine to do it

Please stop supporting monopolies

  • 125.
  • At 11:37 AM on 02 Oct 2007,
  • Erik wrote:

I understand that some readers are fond of Realplayer or WMP, but more and more people in this world use alternatives like Linux or OS X and have none available. Also many companies have WMP disabled. As such it would be much more convenient if the BBC uses a platform independent tool, preferably an online tool as flash. The disadvantage of flash can be that using flash 9.x makes it not work on a platform with flash 7.x or 8.x. Pitty Adobe hasn't made backward-compatibilety in flash.

However most disturbing is the fact that public funded BBC has choosen for commercial tools, missing the opportunity to promote their own Dirac codec or other open source codecs and tools!

  • 126.
  • At 12:50 PM on 04 Oct 2007,
  • Richard wrote:


  • 127.
  • At 09:06 PM on 14 Oct 2007,
  • Brad wrote:

I think you guys should use Flash video instead of Windows media or Real Player, and increase the video quality. The rest of your news site is great, with the comments system and related links. But your video quality is still woefully stuck in the 20th century.

please just put all your videos into the H.264 codec-
this will give high quality at low bandwidth.

also you should archive things in some legacy codec-
like MPEG. all platforms have some media player that plays this format, but the quality suffers...

BBC is a public service, and the world needs its voice.

forget proprietary players like windows mediocracy player AND flash.


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