BBC iPlayer Beta Review

I know this is not completely related to Astronomy, but it is sort of when I am trying to watch The Cosmos which I missed on TV the other day.

After waiting for 6 hours for an email saying I could try the BBC iPlayer, I then logged in and tried to download The Cosmos, but I have been having problems.

When I first logged in, every screen after that was asking for my username and password, I think I was asked 3 times for my details before I got to the section where I could download a TV program.

I then found I had to download a client iPlayer to watch the TV programs, for that I needed a second username and password. How many usernames do I need? Hopefully when the BBC release the iPlayer fully they will remove one of the username and password pairs.

I was doing all this on Windows Vista, but found I required Windows XP, so I moved to my laptop to download the program. The download was quite fast, the 124mb program took less than 5 minutes. I then turned off the laptop last night, as I was going to watch the program with the laptop attached to my TV the next day.

I then rigged everything up to watch The Cosmos and the BBC iPlayer told me I did not have the rights to play the video – great, DRM problems! I then tried to re-download the program, but it kept failing, so I deleted my original program and then it downloaded successfully – this time with DRM rights intact.

There appears to be bugs in the beta, but at the same time the Channel 4OD player is flawless and works really well, I can choose to download or stream programs from Channel 4OD, and as long as I have a ‘good’ signal from my wireless router I can watch streamed programs from 4OD on my laptop with no problems and only login once!

But instead the BBC have gone with downloads only, which are fast, but if you download the content the BBC don’t want you to keep the file for longer than 30 days plus if you have watched your downloaded program once then the BBC iPlayer program will be useless after 7 days, so DRM is used, which I don’t like, can’t you just keep the download as long as you want? You can if you record the program off of the TV.

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