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IP To TV: Your Comments

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Ashley Highfield | 11:34 UK time, Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Thanks for your really interesting comments on my previous post.

Some things we're working on and other suggested solutions I've already followed up on (eg Neuros OSD).

The announcement from Macworld about the effective relaunch of the AppleTV (Jobs: "we tried with AppleTV, but its not what people wanted. So we're back with AppleTV take two - no computer is required") is encouraging.

This, coupled with Apple's (long anticipated) move to a rental model, means that we can look to getting BBC iPlayer onto this platform too, as we should be able to use the rental functionality to allow our programmes to be downloaded, free, but retained for a time window, and then erased, as our rightsholders currently insist.

Some of the solutions for getting IP to the TV set still fail the "can my mum do it?" test. One post asked "what is your problem?", but this misses the point. I want a solution that my mum can install (her "LAMP stack" takes 60 watt bulbs), and to this end, getting BBC iPlayer onto the Virgin cable TV platform in the spring will be an important step for us.

Working with, rather than against, the existing set-up in the typical home is probably the quickest route to mass market adoption of IP-delivered TV. So, a simple, open upgrade from your current TV to an IP enabled one (see CES announcement from Panasonic amongst others), or a simple upgrade from either analogue TV or your first generation DTT/Freeview box to an open hybrid DTT/IP box are forefront of our thinking right now. How the BBC can help make such an open market in the UK a reality (as we did with Freeview and DAB) is an important challenge.

Ashley Highfield is Director, BBC Future Media And Technology.


  1. At 04:48 PM on 16 Jan 2008, Alan in Belfast wrote:

    It would certainly be encouraging to see iPlayer material made available through AppleTV when they get the rental system up and running in the UK.

    Given the current divergence of devices (videos, DVD players, PVRs, home computers, laptops) in the home, users will no doubt start to group around converged solutions - of which there will be many.

    But Apple TV looks like a good candidate to be a keyboard-less network-based don't-need-to-care-what-OS-it-runs piece of kit that could sit in a living room and serve all kinds of media onto a TV. All it needs is an optional DVD player for people still hoarding physical media!

  2. At 05:57 PM on 16 Jan 2008, Barbara Grasset wrote:

    I am one of the disappointed people who live outside the UK (although British) who would be willing to pay for the iPlayer service - what about it? Would it be possible?

  3. At 06:40 PM on 16 Jan 2008, Allan wrote:

    BBC programes are available for free watching on demand via the BT Vision player which is a similar idea to the AppleTV.

  4. At 07:46 PM on 16 Jan 2008, Ryan Morrison wrote:

    How about making the streaming service available as well as the download?

    Is it possible to do something similar with the iPlayer Flash stream that Apple have done with the You Tube streams?

    That way I could watch any iPlayer programme through AppleTv without having to wait for a download - I never use the Windows Download service as I find streaming is a better solution for catch-up shows.

  5. At 08:16 PM on 16 Jan 2008, Simon Gittus wrote:

    This is brilliant news that the BBC are taking Apple and its various devices seriously. We all pay the Licence fees so should all get the same facilities.

    I'm probably one of the few people who have had Apple TV since last year and there's plenty of room for improvement. Movie rentals and iPlayer would be a fantastic opportunity and will really kick-off the product.

    As Apple TV caters for HD - would this mean that the BBC will look into HD downloads for programmes as shown on BBCHD?

  6. At 12:11 PM on 17 Jan 2008, womble88 wrote:

    Very excited about iPlayer possibly coming to Apple TV - I've been looking for a device that will allow me to enjoy my iTunes music first and foremost through my surround sound system, but also play video content from my PC. So please follow this up and keep us updated!

    If only Apple TV included a browser, to let users watch streaming video from any site they want (eg sports footage from specialist sites), it could become the converged device that many people are after - at least, people who have signed themselves up to iTunes as their music solution.

    In the meantime, after much research, it seems the upcoming SlingCatcher from SlingMedia (makers of the Slingbox) might be the best 'one-size fits all' solution - it looks like it will play most video and audio formats, and also will be able to beam whatever is on your PC screen to your TV, so allowing you to watch streaming content from the web.

  7. At 01:39 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Jay Furneaux wrote:

    If you are looking at IPTV platforms then I hope you're also looking at making it available through a free open source Player (BBC iPlayer/AppleTV are closed source) such as MIRO, a free application that turns your computer into an internet TV video/HD player for Windows, Mac, or Linux platforms. The BBC could have it's own branded subscription channels on Miro as a co-branded player.

    The alternative of just directing people to existing Microsoft or Apple monopolies isn't very appealing to many. The Apple TV (v2) is part of the iTunes store. Surely the aim is to make BBC programs as widely available as possible, not simply offer them in a way that is to the commercial benefit of another company.

    Why not support open source as well?

  8. At 02:05 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Dave Cross wrote:
    getting BBC iPlayer onto the Virgin cable TV platform in the spring will be an important step for us

    I've yet to see an explanation of how iPlayer on Virgin Media will differ from the seven-day catch-up services that VM currently offer.

    Is it just a rebranding exercise?

  9. At 02:54 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Andrew Woodall wrote:

    Please, please, please bring the BBC on demand services to iTunes.

    I've been very pleased with the iPlayer so far, even though us Mac users only have streaming for the monent, but offering a service within the iTunes ecosystem would be wonderful!

  10. At 03:22 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Stephen Miller wrote:

    "A simple upgrade" sounds great for those who aren't computer literate, but please make sure the service remains available on normal PCs like it is now.. I don't need the expense of buying anohter box!

  11. At 03:30 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Thomas Bjelkeman-Pettersson wrote:

    Apple TV rental integration would mean that us non-UK living people could get access to the Beebs excellent content, even if we have to pay for it. Please do that!

  12. At 03:37 PM on 17 Jan 2008, John Latimer wrote:

    This would be a fantastic solution for Mac users - and good for Windows users, too.

    How soon do you hope this might come about?

  13. At 03:42 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Roland Young wrote:

    I would welcome the BBC embracing the iTuns and bringing it content to the Apple TV.

    As licesne payer using the iTuens model ocntent can easly to restricted to UK customers only.

    Bring it to us, we love iTunes, we love the Apple TV, this could be big thing,

    as Greg Dike once said

    'Make it happen'

  14. At 05:00 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Justin wrote:

    This is the news I've been waiting to hear for a long time, BBC content on iTunes/Apple TV is a no-brainer.

    It would be pointless and a vast waste of money to try and build a proprietary DRM system for OSX.

    All you need to do now is supply the content. Also if this does happen please allow HD versions aswell.

    Make it happen.

  15. At 05:11 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Asam Bashir wrote:

    It's not just about the Apple TV, once you get your content to iTunes then it's available on any device that can run it, including the iPhone/iTouch, and that is exactly what consumers want. The re-launched iPlayer is a pleasure to use, well done for finally getting it right and once it's on iTunes the future for both the BBC and Apple looks very bright :)

  16. At 05:12 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Adam wrote:

    You need BBC content in itunes and on the apple TV. Itunes can be used on a mac or pc. Also, they could rent the tv shows if the bbc worked with apple.

  17. At 05:36 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Joh Ross wrote:

    Great idea, get the Beeb on AppleTV soonest.

  18. At 05:39 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Pete wrote:

    This would certainly make me seriously consider buying an Apple TV :)


  19. At 06:05 PM on 17 Jan 2008, suresh wrote:


    Im really excited that the BBC is knowing thinking about delivery models for their content on Apple TV / iTunes.

    This just makes simple sense, consumers want choice, they want to watch what they want, when they want, where they want.

    Lets at least solve the WHAT and WHEN for now.... but making this content available on iPods will really drive digital content adoption.

    The BBC is in an enviable position in which it can look at the many digital distribution channels out there for syndication of their content, and i am glad that they do consider Apple a credible option. Hollywood at least thinks so!

  20. At 06:22 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Dave Crossland wrote:

    How can the BBC help make an open market in the UK for hybrid DTT/IP boxes a reality?

    Simple, really - support the development of GNU Gnash, the most advanced free software Flash player.

    Here's why:

    Adobe's Flash seems set to become the "de facto" standard for delivering IP TV for the next few years. However, Adobe's massive license fees are holding it back for set top box vendors.

    Microsoft is offering them its "Flash killer" Silverlight software at a discount, - but only initially, as it is sure to be just as ruthless as Adobe if the strategy pays off and it became as dominant for IP TV as it is on the desktop.

    Apple has focused on the patent-locked H.264 format, and although Flash can transport this format, Apple also won't pay Adobe'e ridiculous fees either and uses their own QuickTime transport. (That's why there is no Flash on the iPhone too.)

    To support any of these proprietary software platforms would be to give illegal state aid to those companies.

    But without doing that for some companies, how can hybrid DTT/IP boxes become a reality?

    Free software is the answer. "Free" doesn't refer to price, but to freedom - freedom for all companies operating in the UK, large or small, to innovate new IP TV technology.

    The BBC lobbied to make sure that Freeview and DAB were DRM-free, and this is part of the reason we license fee payers who are concerned with software freedom felt betrayed when the DRM Downloads iPlayer was announced.

    Being DRM-free means that businesses that write their own software, and businesses that make software available to the public and respect the public's freedom to share and improve it in a community

    The GNU Gnash project is developing a Flash player that runs on all the different kinds of hardware that set top box makers use.

    It is working to write software that supports the Adobe Flash transport at both ends, with the Gnash player and the Cygnal server. Most importantly, it also support free software formats like Theora and Vorbis in addition to patent-locked formats like H.264 and MP3.

    Many set top boxes are built using GNU+Linux these days, and GNU Gnash is primarily developed for "embedded devices" like them. It doesn't require GNU+Linux though, just a Unix-like environment, so Apple would also be free to support iPlayer steams on its AppleTV devices with GNU Gnash.

    The Xbox Media Center, which you included an image of running on Ubuntu GNU+Linux in a prior blog post, will support iPlayer when Gnash can support it, as will community developed media centers for the PlayStation 3.

    But Gnash is under heavily development today, and needs support.

    The BBC could make a real difference to the project by contributing.

    One simple way is found in the BBC's so-called "10% time" for its engineers, similar to that of other leading software engineering firms, and it could easily put those developer resources to use. It could also publish an API and documentation about how to query the iPlayer catalog and access the RTMP streams. More elaborate contributions could be direct funds, or assigning a full time engineer.

  21. At 06:42 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Chris wrote:

    Yes please - iPlayer on Apple TV is probably the single best idea I've ever heard. I hope you follow through and chase the brilliant simplicity of the idea.

    I'll even pay a one-off special access fee I want it that much!

    It's a perfect place to have it and I'm sure Apple will help make it super special and truly accessible to ordinary users. If you use the same system Apple are using to protect rental content then users could 'drop to their ipods' too!!..very cool - and that's 90% of the youth market right there!

    It would be a jewel in the BBC's internet distribution model and realistically the only way the iPlayer can get to the mainstream audience who will, for the most part, always watch 90% of their TV in the living room.

  22. At 06:50 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Mark Burgess wrote:

    Yes, please do allow us to access BBC content on the AppleTV. As an expat in the USA it would cheer me up to no end!

  23. At 07:42 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Christopher Mahon wrote:


    Yes please, iPlayer though iTunes and onto my iPhone is a deal done in heaven. Make it so!

  24. At 07:58 PM on 17 Jan 2008, J Mainwood wrote:

    This would be an excerlent step forward. I hope that the BBC and Apple read these comments as this would be a HUGE hit. Apple's interface for the Apple TV is amazing and the rental model could be adapted easily for UK TV. I beg the BBC and Apple to come together on this and bring this to reality. It is THE best solution.

  25. At 08:40 PM on 17 Jan 2008, James wrote:

    Please, please please! iPlayer through AppleTV would be such a neat solution to a tiresome problem. Don't hold back get the team working on it now!!

    I'm sure they have more fun than trying to get it working on Vista!

  26. At 08:55 PM on 17 Jan 2008, David Haworth wrote:

    I think that a version of iplayer for the appletv would be a great idea, but I'd like to see it with the ability to stream.

    However, if you're considering the appletv as a platform, what about the PS3? I'd think that there are likely to be a lot more of them in the UK, they're already fully HD compliant (for all that HD programming you'vve got that I can't see) and it's supposed to be coming out with it's own TV tuner in a couple of months. I think the PS3 would make an ideal platform for the iplayer. (appletv is good too, but it's HD tops out at 720p whereas the ps3 can cope with 1080p.

  27. At 08:56 PM on 17 Jan 2008, editblog wrote:

    This is a great idea for the BBC. If we can see Top Gear then it is well worth it.

  28. At 08:59 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Patrick Mooney wrote:

    Remember this is not only AppleTV, but iTunes, iPod, iPhone and iTouch. It's BBC on the go and at home, a great move. I'd love to see BBC worldwide get involved with this. As a current paying BBC cable viewer in Ireland, I've love to be able to buy missed shows on iTunes or via my own AppleTV. Killer app!

  29. At 09:06 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Lee wrote:

    It would be incredible to see iPlayer content available through iTunes. BBC programming would then be available to PC users with Windows and Mac users using an interface which many would find better and more familiar than the current iPlayer Library.

    A 'download with iTunes' link could be added to the Flash pages on the iPlayer website making downloading really simple for many people.

    If downloads then had the same 'rental' periods as the current Windows iPlayer, a separate Mac version of the downloading iPlayer wouldn't even be necessary.

    As well as fulfilling your aim to get BBC programmes on demand straight to the TV using the Apple TV, many people would take advantage of being able to load up their (recent) iPods or iPhones to watch programmes on the go.

    Obviously something non-proprietary would be even better, but while DRM remains necessary, a move like this would help alleviate the sour taste many of us still have from the Microsoft-only iPlayer.

  30. At 09:18 PM on 17 Jan 2008, GAVIN BLUR wrote:


  31. At 09:24 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Jon W wrote:

    Hi there. Please can I add my voice to those begging you to bring BBC content to the Apple TV platform. It's such a great device for watching TV; I've yet to show it to anyone who hasn't loved it. Having access to the BBC's output would be absolutely amazing.

  32. At 09:27 PM on 17 Jan 2008, jamaku wrote:

    Since it seems really difficult to receive BBC at all abroad or even with iplayer, i would suggest to sell licensees for one year to receive all bbc programs. Fine if this is done trough itunes and/apple tv. Just do something about it will you, and fast!

  33. At 09:27 PM on 17 Jan 2008, S Harvey wrote:

    Yes please.

    Let's see the BBC getting ahead of commercial channels, and giving the license payers something that we deserve and we've been asking for for so long -BBC programmes available via iTunes / AppleTV rentals would be amazing!

    Great news!

  34. At 09:28 PM on 17 Jan 2008, craigb6 wrote:

    Please allow iTunes to download television shows from the BBC using the rental model - this would allow us to watch BBC videos on our macs, pcs and iPods. Since it would be using the rental model the content would stay protected by time limits and copying restrictions. Thanks!

  35. At 09:33 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Justin Grevich wrote:

    Here is one more person that would love to see the BBC iPlayer and AppleTV integration. It sure would help to make up for the lack of iPlayer support for Mac and Linux thus far.

    Let's make it happen :)

  36. At 09:41 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Daniel Lucas wrote:

    Your mum would certainly be able to use an Apple TV.

    Look at that remote. 6 buttons..

    My TV's remote has 60!

  37. At 09:43 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Stoo wrote:

    BBC iPlayer on Apple TV is a fantastic idea, as it's probably the easiest of the IPTV units to install and operate (especially v2.0 which is video content focused) and is a dedicated IPTV box.

    Similarly, perhaps the BBC should also deliver it's programming to other IPTV rental services such as the ones on Microsoft's Xbox Live and Sony's Playstation 3 store, both of which provide SD and 720p/24 content with similar Rights management as Apple TV.

    Interesting times ahead, I really hope the BBC can work with Apple and get it's excellent programming on their platform.

  38. At 09:48 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Ed wrote:

    This would be really great. My family would love to be able to watch iPlayer content on the TV - I don't think the current iPlayer quite passes the 'can my mum do it' test, an Apple TV implementation probably would - if Apple are involved anyway.

    Sounds like a great idea!

  39. At 10:01 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Jules Burt wrote:

    Dear BBC,

    As a British person, living here in Canada it would be great to see real UK TV programming available (even for some reasonable fee)! There's just something about authentic UK programming that can't be matched!

    I've held off buying AppleTV previously due to lack of 'content', purchasable or otherwise and no apparent way to play anything actually HD.

    Well that's all changed now...with AppleTV 'take 2'. I've now ordered Apple TV - as a few TV shows are finally available for purchase in Canada - and Steve said international movie renting this year also!! Plus picture content and iTunes video podcasts, youtube...etc.

    I would certainly be a regular customer of BBC content internationally - and certainly more so if it was available on my soon to arrive Apple TV device.


    North Vancouver, Canada.

  40. At 10:27 PM on 17 Jan 2008, DJ wrote:

    Please... this would be a fantastic service if you added to AppleTV. I have had the AppleTV since May 07 and love it. Our family watches it regularly. We would certainly enjoy your programming as a great value.

  41. At 10:47 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Matthew Johns wrote:

    Weirdly this is a quick-win that would benefit both Apple and the Beeb.
    The programmes get added to the Itunes platform that has DRM all over it but means that they can be played on Iphone, Ipod, AppleTV, Mac and PC computers via itunes!
    Apple fanatics in the UK get some content for their devices!

  42. At 10:51 PM on 17 Jan 2008, David Babsky wrote:

    "..we should be able to use the rental functionality to allow our programmes to be downloaded, free, but retained for a time window, and then erased, as our rightsholders currently insist.."

    ? ..Huh? ..No "rightsholders" have been round knocking on my door asking me to erase any videotape recordings or TiVo recordings of BBC, or any other, programmes. And some of these are several years old.

    So what's all this about "rightsholders" insisting that recordings must be erased?

  43. At 11:13 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Antony Watts wrote:

    I am all for Apple TV too. But I would make some comments

    1. Apple TV is better because it does NOT need a computer, it downloads/quick-starts streams directly from the internet. People can sit at their fireside, infront of the TV and simply chose the program they want to watch which will then play directly on the TV.

    2.Ironically this would mean the BBC has tried Microsoft DRM (Windows PCs, downloads), then Adobe DRM (for all platforms, streaming), and now Apple DRM (dedicated player, downloads)?

    They have to chose a standard. I am in the camp that favours H264 and no DRM. Lets see how many others agree... Then I can download and keep the program. Trust me, I won't put it on Bit Torrent.

    3. The BBC has to become a world wide broadcaster. I have seen some claims that the BBC is one of the 'most democratic broadcasters in the world' - but its not, its UK only. Although there is talk of a possible WW Kangaroo system..

    Millions would like to have iPlayer world wide now, this is another issue for the BBC to face up to.

    4.All the trouble with DRM and world broadcasting is to do with rights. The rights people are slow learners, they have lost music DRM (eg on Amazon, etc) soon they will loose video too, but they are putting up quite a fight.

  44. At 11:57 PM on 17 Jan 2008, Asam Bashir wrote:

    PS, There is an existing very easy way to get BBC content into iTunes and then AppleTV/iPod/iPhone/iTouch with no DRM restrictions and easily moved, you simply add a DTT USB stick to your Mac and using EyeTV have it exported and shared to your iTunes folder.

    But, if iPlayer content is available through DRM time protected format in iTunes then don't need to go the TiVO way.

    "Enhanced Wi-Fi Access:
    Wi-Fi Access makes it possible to watch your recordings in Safari on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or on your Windows PC or Mac. EyeTV 3 also adds support for playback on a variety of smart phones. You can now choose low resolution formats designed for cellular use, as well as the standard iPod/iPhone formats. EyeTV 3 makes your recordings available in more ways and in more places than ever before. "


    The market will get what it wants, when it wants, so if BBC wants to protect it's content it should just get into iTunes straight away so it can still control this flow....

  45. At 12:05 AM on 18 Jan 2008, Ross wrote:
    but retained for a time window, and then erased, as our rightsholders currently insist.

    Surely the BBC are aware that no system is fool-proof and that it's relatively simple to download the existing iPlayer content in a DRM-free form (albeit initially in FLV format) to any Mac/Windows/Linux computer...

    Look at how the music industry has gone, more and more companies are abandoning DRM because, simply, it doesnt work... people want to be able to access content when and where they want.

  46. At 12:29 AM on 18 Jan 2008, Stoo wrote:

    BBC iPlayer on Apple TV is a fantastic idea, as it's probably the easiest of the IPTV units to install and operate (especially v2.0 which is video content focused) and is a dedicated IPTV box.

    Similarly, perhaps the BBC should also deliver it's programming to other IPTV rental services such as the ones on Microsoft's Xbox Live and Sony's Playstation 3 store, both of which provide SD and 720p/24 content with similar Rights management as Apple TV.

    Interesting times ahead, I really hope the BBC can work with Apple and get it's excellent programming on their platform.

  47. At 12:45 AM on 18 Jan 2008, digiguru wrote:

    I see the BBC is contemplating backing apple on the road to Downloadable domination. I'm a little concerned that the BBC has the ability to strengthen already major corperate industries. i was very intrested by the comments left by Dave Crossland about supporting open source GNU Gnash, however this endevour favours the poeple at Adobe Microsoft. Is there really no true open source standard for Media & Broadcast in this digital world?

  48. At 02:00 AM on 18 Jan 2008, Steve F wrote:

    A fantastic idea. I think apple's products are everybodies dream of what a human/machine interface should be like and including BBC material, I think the best there is, will make this an amazing proposition.

    Please BBC take a bite of the apple

  49. At 02:15 AM on 18 Jan 2008, Wills wrote:

    I can only echo the above thoughts. While I don't have an Apple TV at the moment, I would purchase one the second rentals come to iTunes in the UK/the iPlayer launches on it. Whichever is first.

  50. At 03:08 AM on 18 Jan 2008, Marc wrote:

    I'm British and living in Montreal, Canada. Would love to be able to access iPlayer content from here, even if I had to pay for it.

  51. At 06:02 AM on 18 Jan 2008, David Paxton wrote:

    The Apple iTunes Movie Rental sounds like a useful service. It's good to hear they are starting to go global with the UK. So people outside the USA can also experience good download speeds.

    I read from MAcWorld that the iTunes Movie Rentals allow you 30 days to start watching the movie. When you start watching you have 24 hours to finish it.

    Hopefully the rental cost won't be too high compared to video stores considering the large download required.

  52. At 08:00 AM on 18 Jan 2008, chris wrote:

    The use of iTunes and AppleTV would seem to be an ideal solution. Being able to view content on everything from a handheld to a HD plasma TV would be fantastic.

    Just do it!

  53. At 08:54 AM on 18 Jan 2008, nads wrote:

    I am with Barbara Grasset, as a former UK-tax (and license fee) payer, the thing I miss most on the continent is BBC programmes, and I would certainly prefer to pay for
    "Planet Earth" than "Zoolander"! All you need to do is get it onto iTunes, free for UK, charging for everyone else...

    you'd make a lot of ex-Pats happy!

  54. At 09:39 AM on 18 Jan 2008, Curnsie wrote:

    Yes, do it. No doubt we in the uk will get limited movie rentals/downloads if the current iTune music store is anything to go by. Adding BBC programs to apple TV would add welcome extra value.

    I'm not a fan of watching TV on my computer, so bringing it to a TV would be great.



  55. At 09:49 AM on 18 Jan 2008, Rog wrote:

    I think it would be a good idea for BBC content to be made available to the iTunes store. In fact, I would scrap the BBC tax and replace it with the pay per view model.

    I find it amazing that I can record digital TV without DRM on my PC or PVR, but if I use the iPlayer I get lots of DRM and restrictions.

  56. At 10:07 AM on 18 Jan 2008, Robert Prior wrote:

    The moment you have BBC programs on the Apple TV I will be one happy bunny. I love so much on the BBC but as a Mac only person I end up having to watch the streamed content from the BBC on iplayer use my MacBook Pro - this solution would allow me to watch the BBC on my TV through my Apple TV that has sat there very lonely until now. FANTASTIC!

  57. At 10:15 AM on 18 Jan 2008, robert prior wrote:


    The sooner I can watch the BBC on my AppleTV the better. I love the streaming iplayer on my Macs and this would be incredible watching the BBC on my flat screen tv.

  58. At 10:25 AM on 18 Jan 2008, Will Brocklebank wrote:

    As someone who installs and maintains household technology (with an emphasis on the convergence of the traditional visual formats like TV, Video & DVD with digital music, photos and movies) this is a HUGELY encouraging post.

    My clients are crying out for a simple way to interface with the forms of high quality content on the web. Apple's 10-foot interface for the AppleTV was always excellent but it was let down, as everyone knows, by limited content and the hoops needed to get that content onto it. With the iTunes movie rental store the filmic side of the issues disappears.

    If Mr Highfield can bring BBC's (truly excellent) iPlayer to the Apple TV then we will have the highest quality broadcaster on British TV front and centre.

    I believe my clients (ABC1's across the southern UK) are representative of a large proportion of BBC stakeholders and I can guarantee that this move would be widely praised.

    Please do it, Mr Highfield.

    Yours sincerely,

    Will Brocklebank

  59. At 10:26 AM on 18 Jan 2008, Rog wrote:

    I think it would be a good idea for BBC content to be made available to the iTunes store. In fact, I would scrap the BBC tax and replace it with the pay per view model.

    I find it amazing that I can record digital TV without DRM on my PC or PVR, but if I use the iPlayer I get lots of DRM and restrictions.

  60. At 10:42 AM on 18 Jan 2008, Nick Collingridge wrote:

    It's great to hear the BBC thinking so openly and laterally. AppleTV is an excellently executed product as far as it goes and a great platform for the BBC to employ. Clearly the rental framework needs to be flexible enough to support charging nothing or a fee, which would enable the BBC to offer material both in the UK and abroad at differing prices. I'm sure that Apple would go along with that to get the boost that would result from making BBC content available through AppleTV.

    Roll on the day! I'm already looking forward to renting movies through AppleTV - being able to access BBC material as well would be the absolute icing on the cake.

  61. At 10:58 AM on 18 Jan 2008, Mark K wrote:

    You mentioned xBox 360 in your previous post- it would be nice to see iPlayer pop up on that as well, much as BT Vision are bringing their service to it.

    It would probably be better Public Service Value to piggyback on existing networks as well, rather than putting all your eggs in the otherwise currently unestablished AppleTV basket, as well as reduce the need for 'new' equipment in homes.

    If Top Gear can be delivered in Gran Turismo on PS3 then you're obviously open to the idea of bringing BBC TV to consoles, and it comes with the added bonus of being able to promote your content to a group of people who, like myself, have already begun to leave television behind- or at least, those whose gaming sessions have over-run by five minutes...

  62. At 11:04 AM on 18 Jan 2008, Jon T wrote:

    I proposed to the BBC that iTunes was a much more cost effective route for the BBC to go down over one year ago.

    They have been taken in by Microsoft and ended up spending a fortune and still it isn't multi-platform.

    Let's hope the BBC starts taking Apple and its fast growing user base a bit more seriously.

  63. At 11:04 AM on 18 Jan 2008, Nigel Curson wrote:

    Can I ask a question about iPlayer picture quality from Virgin Media? I have a six-year-old plasma screen (not quite ready for the HD plunge). Although things have moved on a lot it's still a good screen and actually handles SD DTV pictures from Freeview and Virgin very well. However on the occasions when I use Virgin catch-up on demand the material is clearly re-encoded at a lower bit-rate and doesn't look very good at all. Would the introduction of iPlayer as a platform offer any improvements in this area? I assume that Virgin are doing the re-encoding for their catch-up service.


  64. At 11:24 AM on 18 Jan 2008, Ben wrote:

    I'd like to second the earlier comment regarding how BBC iPlayer on Virgin cable will differ from the existing service. You say that you want to work with what people already have in their homes - well in the case of cable, that's a digital box that can already access a library of content from many UK and US broadcasters, including the BBC. This includes the last 7 days of TV, and a variety of series that have previously been shown.

    All the BBC need to do is to ensure a reliable delivery of all content onto this platform, making sure all programmes get on there, and that they aren't captured off-air as some are now.

  65. At 02:08 PM on 18 Jan 2008, Laughing John wrote:


    I just wanted to add my vote to the person who mentioned the PS3. It's a box that lots of people have already got and many more will end up with.

    As you said "Working with, rather than against, the existing set-up in the typical home". I don't know anyone who has an Apple TV, but I know loads of people with games consoles.

    Myself and others have already tried using streaming via the PS3 browser, but this doesn't work for some reason. The PS3 already supports blue ray, media streaming, divx etc. and the addition of the IPlayer platform would be great.

    The same could also be said of the XBOX and Wii.


    P.S When someone comes up with a wifi enabled freview PVR - imagine the possibilites (streaming to/from, Iplayer etc etc).

  66. At 02:16 PM on 18 Jan 2008, Roger Coleman wrote:

    I recently moved house and found myself unexpectedly out of range of Freeview until 2011. Unfortunately, since our old house, just two miles away, was in the freeview zone we have upgraded to digital gear which won't be any use in our new house for another 3 years! I'd lived with Freeview long enough to forget there was a time without a dozen decent channels and a programme guide.

    Whilst we have now managed to cobble together a solution that enables us to watch TV, the real problem we have is recording - something we took for granted with our lovely Freeview HDD recorder and really miss now. To be honest our needs for TV are modest - Eastenders and ceebeebies account for 90% of what we watch, but the fact that EastEnders conflicts with my daugher's bedtime means we now miss it.

    There is no TV aerial on the new house (they had Sky), so we face a cost of a few hundred pounds just to get up to speed with even the basic 'old fashioned' analogue signal to give us the ability to use our old VHS recorder. We could subscribe to Sky+ but I resent paying a monthly fee for something I should be able to get for the licence fee I'm already paying. The most appealing option is a new HDD recorder with an analogue tuner, but it seems daft spending money on out of date technology.

    The revalation to us in the last few days has been that BBC iPlayer works as advertised and allows us to watch EastEnders via the internet! This alone satisfies 50% of our TV watching need and we have not had to spend anything on new equipment. The reliability of the service is astonishingly good, even over our wireless network so we can at least put it on a laptop and watch it from the sofa.

    Honestly after the prospect of spending several hundred pounds just to go back to the headache that is recording onto VHS tape, the iPlayer is a wonderful discovery. I feel cheeky asking for more, but what we really need is for iPlayer to appear on our TV and not on a computer, and we need the interface to be as simple as a TV. That way my wife can initiate watching EastEnders without assembling the equipment and appropriate technical support first.

    It is almost too good to be true that it looks as if the new AppleTV is the hardware piece of the puzzle and this hint from you that the BBC may support it directly is the icing on the cake!

    Please do this! You know it's the way forward! All the hard technical problems have been solved (streaming, the content conversion to flash video (it must be a nightmare for you guys to manage that), content expiry, the simple interface). The only problem left must be you two talking to each other and making it happen!

    I would be much happier spending my money getting an AppleTV than I would an analogue TV aerial. Both are about the same cost (astonishingly), only one is the way forward.



  67. At 02:21 PM on 18 Jan 2008, Simon Thorpe wrote:

    Just another voice calling for this to happen. Perfect. Not just for OS X users but for all the various Windows systems iTunes supports. Think of all those with iPods and iPhones on the way home from work/college. I hope Apple lets this happen, thy would sure shift a few Apple TV's!

  68. At 03:30 PM on 18 Jan 2008, Terry wrote:

    I hope you are going to charge none license viewers for this service if it ever happens.

    I for one would not be happy paying a license fee only to see none UK residence have access to possible free content.

  69. At 03:54 PM on 18 Jan 2008, Tim de Ville wrote:

    The refresh for the AppleTV has made it a very interesting box.
    The best thing it has going for it is that its very easy to use and brings dead easy music/film/podcast content to the living room.
    For me, there is little point in getting a HD optical format if I can get 720p downloadable content, even if its a worse bit rate.

    iPlayer on this easy to use box would be fantastic. Now all we need it for channel4 and ITV to join up with you on one platform that can go on the AppleTV and our iPods.

  70. At 04:44 PM on 18 Jan 2008, Jeffery Lay wrote:

    I'd be *VERY* keen on getting the BBC service into AppleTV version 2 and the iTunes rental TV model. Not only does it have the capabilities to solve most of the DRM and/or geographical restriction requirements, but it's also a very nice device for other uses with its new facilities. If Apple is as keen to get more marketshare in the UK, as has been hinted, this might be a very worthwhile partnership.

    The same DRM used for AppleTV would also work in iTunes, which works on all Windows and Mac platforms (though it doesn't satisfy the needs of Linux users yet, unless they're prepared to get very technical with Wine or some such).

    I'd love to see this come to fruition!

  71. At 06:54 PM on 18 Jan 2008, matt wrote:

    Sounds like a great idea! I'd love to be able to watch BBC content on Apple TV, iPod, itunes etc. I guess international users would have to watch advertising just like bbcnews.com has when you visit the site from abroad.

  72. At 07:19 PM on 18 Jan 2008, Don Andrachuk wrote:

    BBC on Apple TV? Yes, please!

  73. At 11:52 PM on 18 Jan 2008, Martin Abbott wrote:

    This sounds an absolutely fantastic idea. I have been using it on my Mac and it is without doubt the future. To see it on Apple TV in my Living Room (in HD) would convince me completely that this New Media Digital Revolution is the future. I cannot encourage this concept enough.

    Go for it BBC.

    Go for it Apple.

    Hey Go for it everyone!

  74. At 01:54 AM on 19 Jan 2008, jordi wrote:

    Would be wonderful to have iPlayer in Apple TV and its whole catalog of programs available, i would happily pay for a subscription.

  75. At 06:41 PM on 19 Jan 2008, Will wrote:

    A Windows Media Center application would also be worthy addition.

  76. At 09:32 PM on 19 Jan 2008, Zak wrote:

    I would like to add my voice to those already excited about the prospect of BBC shows coming to the AppleTV. This implies that it will be available on Macs via iTunes and iPods too, just as the proposed movie rentals are.

    Although the current streaming solution for Macs is good, the browsing features of the Apple TV are better and can be done from the armchair, and if leveraged for BBC shows would also prove a hit.

  77. At 08:35 PM on 20 Jan 2008, Rick Lawson wrote:

    I'm yet another person that would absolutely love to see the use of the new "movie rental" option in iTunes and the Apple TV to give access to BBC programmes.

    I'm sure that the team at the BBC can see the potential benefit here - can Apple? Who do we all need to be requesting Apple to put the effort in to develop this? I can see that Apple need to guarantee a user base in Europe before signing those contracts for out-of-the-US movie downloads. Mass access to the BBC might just be a big deal.

  78. At 12:43 PM on 21 Jan 2008, Stephen wrote:

    Have to add my YES please.

    As other people have commented - I'd like to see content in iTunes for download to my iPhone as well as direct access via my Apple TV woudl be ideal.

    I don't see how this would be too hard if Apple provide access to the store and I already download all my BBC podcasts through iTunes.

  79. At 11:44 AM on 22 Jan 2008, Greg wrote:

    I'm a bit suspicious of Apple and all the hype that surrounds it. Somehow people seem to have developed an impression that they love their customers more than Microsoft when alot of their behaviour (think bricking iPhones and rendering existing TV out cables useless for people buying new iPods) is worse than anything Microsoft would ever attempt to get away with.

    The fact is, however, I own an iPod Touch, an Apple TV and an iMac. Why? Because (and I hate to say it), Steve Jobs is right-they just work. You never have to battle to get them to talk to each other. You press the button and it has the desired effect. I haven't tried the "mum test" with the Apple TV, but she can work her iPod and iTunes and at 63 claims to be petrified of technology.

    Apple TV (as well as iTunes) is such an obvious home for iPlayer. Surely if there's already a Microsoft backed delivery method and a Flash one, then any commercial success that Apple gained from BBC being on iTunes would be far more to do with the fact that their products work better than their competitors' than the fact that the BBC had offered unfair support?

  80. At 12:18 PM on 22 Jan 2008, Chris Dunbar wrote:

    Another 'yes please' to your thoughts about adding iPlayer to the apple TV.

    I would prefer the streaming service to the download arrangement, but either would do for me.

    Also can I suggest that you revise the current iPlayer interface, for people with a PC or mac connected to their television. It would be nice if an interface could be developed which was browseable from the sofa.

  81. At 02:12 PM on 22 Jan 2008, Chloe Davies wrote:

    My name's Chloe Davies - I'm the product manager for the BBC TV iPlayer.

    In response to Nigel Curson's comment (no 63) I thought it was worth mentioning that the current BBC catch-up package on Virgin is a short term solution recorded off air, and is therefore subject to variable picture quality.

    When it launches, BBC iPlayer on Virgin will offer significantly better picture quality than this - comparable with what is broadcast on Freeview.


  82. At 04:37 PM on 22 Jan 2008, D Edge wrote:

    I've found tying to use iplayer horrendus and totally frustrating, its so slow to stream that on the three times that I've tried to use it I've given up. My broadband connects at around 5.4 - am I doing something wrong or is this a general problem?

  83. At 08:14 AM on 23 Jan 2008, speedyrite wrote:

    BBC iPlayer on Apple TV? Yes please! A perfect accompaniment to online movie rental when it comes to UK...

  84. At 12:34 PM on 03 Feb 2008, Andrew wrote:

    To get the Iplayer and in fact channel 4 and five go to

    Works with the PS3 browser

  85. At 09:43 PM on 07 Feb 2008, Kees Puttock wrote:

    As someone who is very fond of BBC programmes, but who has no possibility to receive any of the BBC channels anymore since the introduction of digital television in The Netherlands, I welcome this idea very much.
    I don't own a television set anymore. I sold it when my cable company stopped offering BBC1 and 2 to make room for digital broadcasting.
    We all know IPTV is the future. And I think Apple is the first to come up with a platform that simply works and that anyone can use.
    If the BBC were to start delivering their content via iTunes tomorrow, I would buy an AppleTV today. And, as I don't live in the UK and as such don't pay a TV licence, I would be very happy to be able to pay a subscription fee to have access to the same content as UK viewers.
    This idea is so much 'the obvious thing to do' to me, that I think there should be very little talk about it. Just do it ... and revolutionise the way people view television programmes. The means to do so is just there for the taking.

  86. At 07:59 AM on 08 Feb 2008, Rocco wrote:

    Free time-limited downloads would be awesome. Sign me up.

  87. At 04:04 PM on 08 Feb 2008, Simon Tompson wrote:

    iPlayer on Apple TV (and iPod) - PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do this :)

  88. At 06:37 PM on 08 Feb 2008, PBGlendenning wrote:

    BBC America just doesn't cut it.

    I will gladly pay to watch the content I want to watch when I want to watch it on whatever device I chose to watch it. I know that concept scares the hell out of programming executives but let's face it, technology is changing the marketplace. Adapt or die.

    American TV programming is sorely lacking by comparison to what I've seen when I've been in the UK.

    Perhaps posts such as mine and the ones above will serve as a fire under the seats in certain programming committee meetings within the BBC to actually respond to the pent up demand out here in the real world for the content they produce.

    It's about making money. You have a massive market of people outside the UK who will pay MONEY for watching quality BBC programming. I am not pleased with the limited edition version paraded as BBC America and eagerly look forward to seeing the BBC change their ways and start marketing the hell out of the amazing library of content they own.

  89. At 11:55 PM on 19 Feb 2008, Dave Addey wrote:

    Some thoughts - based on Ashley's comments - about how the iPlayer might work on a Mac...


  90. At 06:02 PM on 29 Feb 2008, Mike Nash wrote:

    The discussion is very interesting as consuming iPlayer content through the appletv would be a match made in heaven.

    I know that it is BBC international who are planning to sell content through itunes but it would be good if they let it go for free to UK residents as indicated in our apple itunes store accounts.

    I am really impressed with the BBC and its iPlayer, now if this can continue to allow iTunes / appleTV to consume content (Free for the UK as we have already paid for it!) then they would open up a worldwide market for their amazing quality content

  91. At 06:42 PM on 29 Feb 2008, Jacob wrote:

    I know this isn't an opinion poll but I thought I'd voice my support for iPlayer functionality over iTunes/Apple TV.

    Good quality content and an industry-leading HMI is what the market needs. BBC & Apple could offer just that.

    Bring it on!

  92. At 05:46 PM on 01 Mar 2008, Internet TV wrote:

    The convergence of the internet and television is unstoppable. The demand of on demand video entertainment is growing daily and there is a short supply of sites they can provide this. The recent closure fo Stage6.com due to massive bandwidth usage is an good example of this.

  93. At 06:58 AM on 27 Mar 2008, bishan wrote:

    thanks for the post..your posts are really informative........

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