16 October 2007

BBC iPlayer: Converted in a Flash

Well, here's an interesting confluence of two of my pet hates:

By adopting Adobe Flash Player software, the BBC will make its free catch-up TV service — BBC iPlayer — available as a streaming service across Macintosh and Linux, as well as Windows, by the end of the year. The strategic relationship will also allow the BBC to provide a single consistent user experience for the majority of streamed video and audio content on www.bbc.co.uk.

Note that this is only for the streaming service: downloads are still Windows only. Still, it's a neat partial solution for GNU/Linux. Not only that, it emphasises an interesting shift that has taken place with Flash.

Once, Flash seemed to be used only for serving up annoying ads or time-wasting games. But increasingly it's turning into the cross-platform media player of choice, a job it does rather well, I have to admit. And so I'm forced to concede that Flash might not be quite so evil as it once was.


Anonymous said...

I think in the initial days of Flash (and I still see this sometimes), you'd get to visit websites which used Flash for some animation which was useless and forced you to wait while it loaded. (The sites also had a 'skip intro' link sometimes.)

I still cringe when I encounter Flash-only websites because mostly they're not done well. As a cross-platform media player though, I think Flash is doing well, like you said.

Glyn Moody said...

Yes, Flash intros are a real pain.

Anonymous said...

Flash has come a long way. From being a pain in the neck and a tool only for overzealous designer, it's become quite the rich experience.

Adobe has also started reaching out to developers, with Flex (if only FlexBuilder was freely available), and AIR, etc. Picnick is an excellent example of a flex-developed website

For bioscreencast.com, we started out as quicktime h.264 only. It became very evident (and very quickly) that if we wanted to reach the biggest audience, we had to start serving up video's via flash

Glyn Moody said...

Interesting - thanks.