Bypass navigation and jump to page content

BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

Accessibility help
Text only
BBC Homepage

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to people's most frequently asked questions about this service. If your question is not on the list or you have any other enquiries, then please email us.


What is Multicast?

Multicast is an alternative way of delivering video and radio channels at a much higher quality. It's a smarter way of serving large numbers of people. This means more live channels will be available for popular events like the Olympics.

What sort of things can I do with my Multicast connection?

A Multicast connection means you can watch live channels of popular events like the Olympics at a better quality. Currently the availability of these services is low because they become very expensive to produce for huge numbers of people.

How does it work?

Certain UK Broadband Service Providers are teaming up or 'peering' with the BBC to provide this new technology. To watch channels, you need the latest version of a media player.

What are the benefits of Multicast?

Multicast efficiently distributes our channels, enabling us to increase the data rate. This improves the quality of channels online. Videoconferencing, video serving and news distribution will also become more easily available and at better quality.

How do I get Multicast?

Multicast content is only available to UK licence fee payers and currently only through a limited number of ISPs. If you want your service provider to provide you with Multicast, please contact them and let them know. For our international audience there may be some international versions available at a later date with World Service and News programmes.

Almost all modern computers are capable of receiving Multicast. You just need to first check that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is working (or peering) with the BBC to allow you to use services through Multicast. If they are, it's simple - just click on the relevant link and it should work in RealPlayer. If not, you can always ask them why and encourage them to provide the service. You may also need to check that your home broadband router is defaulting to Multicast. If not, it may need configuring.

If you aren't lucky enough to have an ISP that has configured Multicast, or you know you are configured correctly and have the right ISP - please give us your feedback and we'll see if we can help.

If your modem or router is supplied by your ISP and they say that they support Multicast (eg. one of the ISPs listed here), you might like to speak to them first before contacting us. We're certainly interested, but having more information when you contact us will help.

What equipment do I need?

Computer and Software

Your computer need not be the latest model - each service provider provides details of the specifications they support. You will already have a browser and other necessary software (such as a web browser) installed if you access the internet from home, and use it to view web pages and send emails, for example. In addition some broadband services may require the installation of special 'Plug-In' software to view them. For example BBC Broadband requires the free RealPlayer plug-in to access audio or video content. Browser software and plug-ins are available free and the most commonly used will probably be installed on your computer already. Your computer will need to be equipped with a video card with the latest drivers and an audio card with speakers to hear the audio of the channels.

High Speed Modem

Your PC will already have a modem installed if you access the internet from home. However, it will probably not be suitable for the high connection speeds necessary for a broadband service. High speed modems will be available to rent or buy from each service provider, although you can of course arrange your own if you know what you require.

Broadband Connection Point

Your modem will need to plug into the network of your service provider at an ADSL rate of 500k or more. You may already have a broadband connection point in your house but it is more likely that the service provider will install this once you have signed up with them. They will also supply the appropriate cabling to connect it to your high-speed modem. The equipment you require may differ slightly depending on which broadband service provider you choose. Please ensure you check the information provided on their website or speak to a representative for the exact equipment specification.

How can I give my feedback?

We welcome all feedback, please use our feedback form.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy