BBC iPlayer download feature available on Linux & Macs

The BBC has released a beta of its popular iPlayer service that will allow Mac and Linux users to download programs and keep them for up to 30 days (or seven, after playing for the first time). The new version has been developed using Adobe AIR, one of Adobe's latest applications, allowing content to run outside of the browser, instead of it being embedded in a Flash player.

As each platform requires a different DRM technology, mobile, Linux, and Mac users have been missing out on the download feature that Windows users have had for over a year now. Whilst programmes can be streamed by any platform which will run Adobe Flash player, the download feature has had to be customised for each platform.

When plans were first made for the iPlayer service, the BBC Trust stated that it must be "platform neutral", which means that other, unsupported platforms can hope to receive support in the future. The BBC has also been working with ISPs in order to reduce the bandwidth demands of the service, by means such as using caching boxes ? stores at the ISP's end which cache copies of the most popular programs in order to reduce bandwidth usage.

The software beta is available from the BBC iPlayer Lab section, and a finished version is expected in February 2009, although it's not clear whether the Adobe AIR version will replace the current Windows one or not.

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18 Comments

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Ikshaar said,
am I wrong or this is still limited to UK ?

Yes. We pay the license fee that gets the programs made and the iPlayer developed, so we get to use it.

A benefit for Windows 7 testers / pdc attendees too: because it's AIR based and doesn't have an annoying version check insisting on xp or vista, it now works on Windows 7 now

I guess that means embedded browsers like PS3 and Wii will never be able to watch iPlayer then... They were waiting on Flash 9 in Opera, but I doubt AIR will run on a console.

GreyWolfSC said,
I guess that means embedded browsers like PS3 and Wii will never be able to watch iPlayer then... They were waiting on Flash 9 in Opera, but I doubt AIR will run on a console.

erm the iplayer has been working on the ps3 via the browser for some time now , since the ps3 two firmwares ago had adobe flash 9 support added

How many people actually download now, instead of just using the flash player??
It wouldn't really bother me if they removed the download service from all platforms.

Hows about an xbox version please??????

Its about time, I love the iplayer download function its perfect so I dont have to fit my life around TV. Glad Mac and Linux users have the same service now.

MightyJordan said,
Great step forward. They can touch the majority of users now!

They could do that as soon as they released the windows version

kravex said,
You've spelt 'minority' wrong.

No what I mean was that they can now reach 99% of computer users now that they've got support for Mac and Linux on top of Windows.