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World news - in broadband

Steve Herrmann Steve Herrmann | 13:02 UK time, Thursday, 26 July 2007

If you are looking at the BBC News website from outside the UK there are some new developments to tell you about.

A graphic of the BBC News websiteWe are upgrading the technical quality of the video on the site for users overseas so that anyone anywhere in the world with a high speed internet connection can watch the BBC’s news reports in broadband quality.

Until now this has only been possible for users in the UK - we’ve been restricted from providing the same level of service internationally by the cost of serving broadband quality video. We did not want the BBC’s UK licence fee payers meeting this cost and in effect subsidising the service for people outside the UK.

Now, with the help of our partners in BBC World, the BBC’s commercially funded international TV news channel, we are making our broadband video news service available internationally. BBC World is funded by advertising and subscription revenue and the cost of the improved video service will be met by advertising around the broadband news clips.

So if you are viewing video from outside the UK you may see a short commercial before your clip plays. If you want to watch clips ad-free, you can still choose to keep the same narrowband video service we have offered you internationally up to now.

If you click on a video link and you are outside the UK you will see a “media selector” pop-up window with boxes allowing you to choose Windows or Real media, narrowband or high quality video. You can use the preferences link on the News Player to change your choices at any time.

If you have chosen broadband video, the News Player will launch and on some occasions a short commercial will play before the clip you've chosen. Adverts will not appear alongside news clips when it would be insensitive for them to do so.

We hope that for most users a short commercial will be a worthwhile trade-off in order to be able to watch some of the best TV correspondents in the business reporting from around the world, in high quality.

For the first time on the website we will also provide a regularly updated video summary of international news from our colleagues in the newsroom of BBC World television. You’ll see a link to it on the front of the international edition of the site.

A decade ago watching video online was the preserve of a small, dedicated and patient group of internet pioneers. Today millions use the web daily to watch and listen to all kinds of audio and video content. Traffic to audio and video on this website has continued to grow as more people switch to broadband.

We want to make sure we can continue to provide all our users around the world with top quality video news, and making these changes will allow us to do that.

I hope that if you are outside the UK you will appreciate the improved quality of our news video. Give it a try and if you do have comments or questions, I’d like to hear them.


  • 1.
  • At 01:42 PM on 26 Jul 2007,
  • Jon wrote:

Fantastic news BBC ..Cheers !

The quality now is much better thankyou thankyou :)...please also provide live news feeds on occasions of importance with the same quality if possible !

The odd advert is not an issue !

Thanks Again..One Happy BBC Camper!

  • 2.
  • At 01:52 PM on 26 Jul 2007,
  • Jon Bright wrote:

Excellent news. It would be nice if you could consider offering a subscription option in the future for those of us who don't want to view ads. (This would also provide a potentially more stable stream of income for you?)

  • 3.
  • At 01:58 PM on 26 Jul 2007,
  • Jane Monk wrote:

What about people with Macs???????!!!

  • 4.
  • At 02:10 PM on 26 Jul 2007,
  • Joe Rotello wrote:

If the "new" video available off of the page is any measure...

Thank you! The video is higher quality, plays or begins playing faster. and the video quality at 100%, 200% and full screen is excellent.

Even IF we need to view a short commercial (or advert in the UK ?), it's well worth it.

Kudos from the colonies to the ladies and gentlemen at the BBC...a job and a quality well-done.

Joe Rotello Tennessee USA

  • 5.
  • At 02:22 PM on 26 Jul 2007,
  • the_birds wrote:

Its about time!

  • 6.
  • At 02:39 PM on 26 Jul 2007,
  • Richard Peach wrote:

Will it be available for Mac users? Page is "forbidden" at the moment...

  • 7.
  • At 03:15 PM on 26 Jul 2007,
  • C.P. wrote:

Yeah!!!!!! Finally! I am very pleased. Thank you.

  • 8.
  • At 03:27 PM on 26 Jul 2007,
  • phil walton wrote:

Very good but please rember the folks like me. Using high end n- series mobiles and make sure any further developments continue to use real player thanks

It's working fine on a Mac for me - try installing the Flip4Mac plugin if you don't already have it.

I'm surprised you didn't take this opportunity to introduce / trial the use of Flash-based video distribution. The BBC's continuing strategy of Real and WMP-based streaming is looking increasingly anachronistic... and meanwhile, rivals like Sky and CNN are seeing great results for their embedded Flash video material.

  • 11.
  • At 03:42 PM on 26 Jul 2007,
  • naseer wrote:

Yah! What about the people with macs?....

  • 12.
  • At 03:45 PM on 26 Jul 2007,
  • Gary Allan wrote:

Great ! but ,,, where are the clips ?

  • 13.
  • At 04:04 PM on 26 Jul 2007,
  • Frank Bonner wrote:

This is bad news. One of my main reasons for using the BBC is to avoid the adverts. As such this service is unusable for me.

  • 14.
  • At 04:14 PM on 26 Jul 2007,
  • Curt wrote:

Finally I get to watch the videos on here! Thank you for making this happen for all of us outside the UK!

  • 15.
  • At 04:25 PM on 26 Jul 2007,
  • wrote:

it's 2007 people, where's the support for Mac?

  • 16.
  • At 04:38 PM on 26 Jul 2007,
  • Bedd Gelert wrote:

Mr Herrmann - this is beyond dangerous and must be stopped at once ! What may be the 'unintended consequences' if Americans start to find out what is REALLY going on in the world ?

Once you've opened this Pandora's Box there is no going back...

  • 17.
  • At 04:54 PM on 26 Jul 2007,
  • Bill Langford wrote:

I loathe commercials, but have a simple solution: I avoid reading them if at all possible, and in any case make a point of NEVER buying the product or service being advertised. It's time we wrestled the world back from advertisers.

  • 18.
  • At 06:07 PM on 26 Jul 2007,
  • ron wrote:

The media selector seems to suggest that "high quality" video goes along with Windows Media Player (which is in itself confusing). I guess that is why some users are complaining.

Select "high quality" and go for "Real Player", the least of the two evils instead. That would work on Macs right away (if you have Real Player that is).

I would have preferred flash or mp4 high quality feeds and not these horrible formats, but at the same time I have to thank the BBC for the improvements.

So.. thanks!

Great news.

For all those complaining- the Windows Media feed does work on the Mac, if you install the Flip4Mac plugin someone linked to earlier. It's free.

I'll agree that it's not ideal, though- Flash video seems to be working very well for a lot of people, I'd like to see the BBC at least investigate it. If it would result in higher bandwidth costs and can't be done, then so be it.

And as for complainers like Frank Bonner... what's the problem? Don't like adverts? Don't use it. BBC license-fee payers shouldn't foot the bill for your viewing!

Thanks guys! I've been waiting for a feature like this for a while... Keep up the good work.

I work in Texas, USA and regularly check the bbc website for the latest new from UK & the rest of Europe. The latest video features are much smoother and quick to open. I especially enjoy the 1 minute news condensed version!

Keep up the good work, from a devoted Ex-Pat!

Why not post them on Youtube?

Not everyone are using laptop or PDAs which support those formats. There are many who uses mobile phones to access the internet and we can't install Windows Media, can we?

As a Malaysian, I rely on radio broadcast from BBC Singapore and I seldom watch BBC news as I don't subscribe to paid service. But I read BBC news from the internet regularly.

Therefore, I definitely would like to get BBC news and information from my mobile phone.

  • 23.
  • At 09:46 AM on 27 Jul 2007,
  • Hugo Rossi wrote:

What about BBC World live stream? So far, it seems only available through a costly "Real Player Super Pass", but other news companies such as CNN have made their live news streams available at "no cost" (albeit sponsered by adverts, of course).

  • 24.
  • At 10:31 AM on 27 Jul 2007,
  • JillP wrote:

Well done. mac users can download the plugin as previously suggested. Now, can you up the ante and either 'squish' the video sufficiently for those on dial-up (many millions worldwide) or actively help the provision of broadband to all? I know that is a tall order but everyone, everywhere, deserves high quality news. (Quality at the BBC is another issue but the BBC is a good base.)

I have to agree that it really seems like now would be the time to ditch platform-locked WMP and zero-market-share Real in favour of ubiquitous Flash video.

Great news, indeed! And thank you guys at BBC for making it happen.

At last, we will have this available in US. I am sure people would recognize that the world does exist beyond the atlantic and pacific oceans!


  • 27.
  • At 07:19 PM on 27 Jul 2007,
  • Martin Mallinson wrote:

Oh dear. Dont you get it? The reason I, and I am sure many more, access the BBC is the absence of Adverts!

Why didnt you ask if we would pay a nominal fee first before opting for an advertizing based revenue stream?

  • 28.
  • At 08:29 PM on 27 Jul 2007,
  • Ndamnsah Blaise Nkfunkoh wrote:

I especially enjoy the one minute news condensed version but still soggest the use of flash-based video distribution.

  • 29.
  • At 09:16 PM on 27 Jul 2007,
  • Derek Bollam wrote:

Great stuff! Working fine here in New Zealand with Linux Ubuntu and Mozilla plug-in.

  • 30.
  • At 10:44 PM on 27 Jul 2007,
  • Vijay wrote:

Could you make the online video service avaialble to people in other countries at a price please?

Your content and programming is surely worth paying for and it may help reduce the license fee on UK users.

Great news, well done BBC. But I would like to see BBC World streamed online, like N24.

  • 32.
  • At 06:19 PM on 28 Jul 2007,
  • Ion Michaelides wrote:

I used to get a small hesitating screen. Now I get a continuous blank white screen. Some might say it's an improvement. Not I.

  • 33.
  • At 11:34 PM on 28 Jul 2007,
  • Wayne wrote:

Thank you for the excellent quality news pictures.

As for Real, the BBC site is a big part of the reason they're still going.

Isn't your News Player a big free ad for them and WMP anyway? MS and Real could foot part of the bill for the streams, surely?

- Starved for news in Canada

  • 34.
  • At 10:51 AM on 29 Jul 2007,
  • Ethan Allen wrote:

Excellent improving the technical side, but hope about the editorial side too? I alternate between the BBC international service & CNN. The BBC usually privides greater in depth coverage than CNN, but CNN often provides greater immediacy & can therefore be marginally more interesting.
But the BBC's sports cverage is where it falls down. When England is
doing well at a sport, partiucularly cricket, there is little mention of it, eg the recent series in which England beat the West Indies 3 - 0 in a 4 match Test series. Again, when England were only beaten by the rain in their first Test match against India recently, there was very liitle mention of it. But when England made a bad start in the current Test match, India's good start was given plenty of praise & attention by the middle-aged British-race female presenter who I watched at GMT midday + 7 hours! Why is this?

Well done, India indeed, but why is the presenter seeming to back India, against England. The BBC does not seem to me to be very patriotic over British sport. Yet British people are pasying expensive licence fees to watch any British TV even when its on non-BBC channels! If the BBC does not want to be patriotic, then 2 things shouls happen:
1. It should abandon the name British in BBC, &
2. It should cease to have a licence monopoly, & should instead share its licence fees with its competitors!

Sort out this UK patriotism issue in Britain's favour, & you've got my backing. Fail to do so, & the licence fee issue becomes a very relevant one indeed!

  • 35.
  • At 09:53 AM on 30 Jul 2007,
  • John Fredrick wrote:

I just, don't agree with this!

  • 36.
  • At 08:39 PM on 30 Jul 2007,
  • Callum wrote:

This is great news, however I am finding that the 1pm, 6pm and 10pm news bulletins don't play in broadband, whereas individual reports do. Also I now can't watch BBC news 24 at all (in either broad or narrowband). It may be just my computer or something, or is it deliberately designed so that we cannot watch longer bulletins?

Many thanks anyway, and I for one would be happy to pay for BBC news 24 and the TV bulletins!

  • 37.
  • At 10:22 AM on 31 Jul 2007,
  • Disappointed Kiwi wrote:

I didn't know that Microsoft had also bought the BBC...

Operating system: Windows XP SP2
Browser: Internet explorer 6.0 or above
Media Player: Windows Media Player 10 or above
Net connection: Broadband

That's realy something to crow about BBC !

  • 38.
  • At 06:29 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • brian wrote:

To quote the song:

"Is that all there is ...?"

One-Minute News!

Is that as short as you can get it?

Pathetic from a once great institution. How sad.

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