27 June 2007

BBC's Slap in the Face of Freedom

So the BBC has brought forward its launch of the wretched iPlayer - it wouldn't be that they're trying to pre-empt things, would it?

This is particularly rich:

Jana Bennett, Director of BBC Vision, said: "This is a significant moment, as it heralds a new era when viewers will have the freedom to watch programmes from the BBC's linear TV channels when they want.

Well, no, darling, not actually: freedom is precisely what it does not offer licence-payers such as myself. It offers only chains - kindly provided by Microsoft, ones of whose boys is joining the BBC (now there's a coincidence).

And not content with that slap in the face of freedom, there's this:

Developing a version for Apple Macs and Microsoft Vista is absolutely on our critical path.

Oh, right, let's make sure every Windows operating system is supported as a priority (don't forget the super-important Windows ME). No point wasting time supporting any of those irrelevant "free" platforms like GNU/Linux now that viewers have the much more important "freedom" to slip on Microsoft's slinky DRM so that they can watch all those groovy "linear TV channels".

Thank goodness for the OSC.


Cristiano Betta said...

I actually had a talk with a BBC guy yesterday and he really assured me that the idea behind the iPlayer has always been to do an incremental release, starting with Windows. As this system really focusses on everyone they will HAVE to go for a multiplatform tool but they first want to prove the project on windows. I am a Mac user, so I am a bit sad. But in the end the important question is how many months/years it will take them to go to Mac and Linux

Glyn Moody said...

Thanks for the inside information.

Even if the BBC does have plans for other platforms (which I'm just about prepared to accept) it really doesn't matter in practical terms.

As we know, first-mover advantage in this market is immense: if the iPlayer becomes established as a Windows-only system, it will encourage other broadcasters to follow suit.

By the time other platforms arrive, Microsoft's DRM will be the de facto standard. Worse, the idea that DRM is absolutely necessary - something that the music industry has finally realised is not the case - will also have been set in stone.

That's why, in my view, the iPlayer in its present form, is doubly a mistake.

Anonymous said...

Interesting pattern: the CEO of the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation (http://yle.fi/) is also formerly employed by Microsoft, and they, too, seem to be moving towards a pure-Windows solution.

Glyn Moody said...

Yikes - it's happening even faster than I feared....

Thanks for that worrying info.