BBC iPlayer Desktop Application

So with iPlayer hitting 1 year old last week “iPlayer Day: A year under the hood”), it’s great to see that there is now a cross-platform iPlayer downloader available (albeit as a beta) from the BBC iPlayer Labs (download the BBC iPlayer Desktop here) – a BBC news story about the release is available atBBC iPlayer now available on Mac .

According to Andrew Shorten, an Adobe Air evangelist: “The application was built using the Flex 3 framework, runs on top of AIR 1.5 and makes use of the Flash Media Rights Management Server (FMRMS) to DRM-protect content which is downloaded to the user’s desktop.”

So what?

So because it’s an Adobe Air app, it runs on Macs, Windows and Linux boxes…

If you’ve signed up for the BBC Labs experimental services:

(hmm – programme recommendations…)

…you’ll that some iPlayer programmes now have a download link… :-)

Here are a couple more screenshots – downloading:

The “General Settings” panel allows you, among other things, to set a limit on the amount of space that can be used for storing downloaded programmes. The original limit is set quite sparingly, at 0GB… I downloaded an episode of Dr Who (or as it is know in BBC speak, Doctor Who), at 200MB (0.2GB) without issue but trying to download another programme met with an error until more memory space was allocated. (So if iPlayer desktop refuses to download a programme, check you have enough free allocated space as far as iPlayer is concerned…)

You can also specify a download location (or opt for the sensible default). If you’re on an eee PC with a limited memory allocation, plugging in a USB memory stick and using that as the target destination seems to work fine (hat tip, Liam;-). It so

(“Allow BBC iPlayer Desktop to send usage statistics to the BBC” – that’ll tie in with the programme recommendation engine, possibly, and maybe also some future social features around the iPlayer itself? See also iPlayer 3: New Social Functions Outlined For Q1-Q2 2009. It’s worth bearing in mind that iPlayer programmes typically come with a “SHARE” link already, and some of them are even available with an embed code: Embedding BBC iPlayer Music Videos – Foals. A lot of the content on the Britain from the Air website is embeddable in your own pages – and I guess also in Google Earth, if this example is anything to go by: BBC Class Clips Video – in Google Earth.)

“Parental Guidance” controls:

iplayer desktop parental guidance

And finally, downloaded content menu:

Also on the iPlayer front, it looks like next year could be an exciting year. A BBC review document published last week opened up the possibility that the iPlayer platform might be offered to other public service broadcasters, and potentially other agencies too (the OU was noticeably not mentioned anywhere in the report though…): “BBC’s iPlayer ‘could be shared’ “ (read the full report here: “Public service partnerships: Helping sustain UK PSB”).

Also announced last week was the poosibility of an iPlayer hosting broadband set-top box, code named “Canvas” (Count them – three IPTV Platforms, BBC, ITV and BT plan broadband Freeview service).

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

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