BBC iPlayer for Linux/Mac “by the end of the year” — without DRM?!
(Disclosure: I have recently accepted a job at the BBC.)
The BBC has also confirmed that users of Apple Mac and Linux machines will be able to use its TV catch-up service from the end of the year.
The article focuses on a scheme for free access to BBC wi-fi hotspots via The Cloud, but slips in the above statement regarding iPlayer. This is indeed great news for Mac/Linux users in the UK, myself included (I run the latter), who thus far have had to resort to running a Windows virtual machine to even get a glimpse of the iPlayer.
And how will the content be delivered? The answer: Flash video. Meaning the BBC’s initial push for DRM controlled content are now out the window.
By using Flash, one must assume even relatively non-technically savvy users will be able to download the linked-to FLV video content and keep copies of videos for later viewing (i.e. longer than the 30 day restriction currently in place). Of course this will probably violate stated terms & conditions of the service, but at least it will be a possibility for those who really want to keep something for a short while to do so without resorting to ugly DRM hacks.
Also mentioned in the article is the possibility of programmes to be downloaded and stored on portables like the PSP. Again, with no reference to controlling the storage via DRM.
Will this lessen sales of BBC DVDs, at least in the UK? The article also mentions the possibility of “HD download” content in the future… so, very possibly I would speculate.