BBC may open source iPlayer

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BBC may open source iPlayer

Because geeks need web telly too.

The BBC has confirmed that it is having talks to develop an open source version of its iPlayer software. 

Members of the BBC Trust have agreed to meet representatives of the Open Source Consortium (OSC) to discuss building a player that will run on open source code.

The player will work only with Windows computers at the time of its launch in July, and an Apple version is scheduled for the autumn.

"It is unacceptable that a publicly funded organisation, which surely has the resources and capability to deliver a platform-agnostic digital media player, has adopted a technology that indirectly excludes access to its content to around 25 percent of the IT-enabled public," said OSC chief executive Rick Timmis.

"Imagine if the BBC were to launch new digital channels, but only make them available on a certain make of television. There would be uproar."

The OSC has already complained to the BBC Trust, the former Department of Trade and Industry and broadcast regulator Ofcom over the decision.

The BBC Trust has said that it intends to offer the iPlayer service to everyone, but was starting with the most popular operating system.

"I am fundamentally committed to universality, to getting the BBC iPlayer to everyone in the UK who pays their licence fee," said Ashley Highfield, BBC director of future media and technology, at the iPlayer launch.

"This is the approach we have always taken but we have always started with the platform that reaches the most number of people and then rolled it out from there."

The iPlayer service allows UK licence fee payers to watch TV programmes shown in the previous seven days.

Once a programme has been downloaded viewers will have up to 30 days to watch it, and the file deletes itself from the user's PC once it has been seen.
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