Big plans are rumoured to be afoot for the BBC’s online plans. Only a week after the new iPlayer 2.0 was unveiled in beta testing, there are new proposals being talked about that could change the nature of the service completely.
The BBC iPlayer is already a fantastic service available to everyone in the UK, allowing viewers to stream or download any BBC programmes from the last seven days.
The improved version of the iPlayer is already a big step up, integrating radio and television in to the one service, a larger playback window, and an automatic bookmarking feature.
Pre-Booking Function On Way
One of the other features, allowing you to view programmes coming up in the next three days forms the basis for the first of the new improvements. In my article about the iPlayer 2.0, I suggested this would lead to bigger things, and that is now happening.
According to Digital Spy, the BBC has now formally proposed to add a download pre-ordering function to the iPlayer. The proposal first be consulted in public, before hopefully being approved by the BBC Trust.
Taking Over From Traditional TV
If this does get approved, it would allow users would be able to book either single programmes or full series up to seven days before they air on normal television. The iPlayer would then download the programme at an optimum time for all parties.
The chances are that this would happen before the show was broadcast on television, but thanks to the DRM employed by the BBC, the programme would be unviewable until after it has aired. The BBC said:
“Pre-booking is a relatively simple addition to the iPlayer that will bring benefits for users and, in terms of reduced costs, for ISPs, and that would have limited potential for negative market impact.”
BBC1 To Go Live Online
The second big piece of news, which I somehow missed last month, is the rumour that the BBC want to broadcast BBC1 live online. If this turns out to be true, then the implications are quite far-reaching.
As Pocket Lint has suggested, this would raise question marks over the licence fee, as while computers are already included in the range of devices subject to a licence fee charge, a strict system would need to be in place to ensure no-one in any other country was able to view it.
Television is certainly evolving and digital content online is at the forefront of that revolution. The BBC are doing a brilliant job of staying one step ahead of the competition and raising the stakes for other broadcasters to try and beat.
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