updated 09:30 am EDT, Mon September 10, 2007
BBC iPlayer for Mac OS X
The British Prime Minister's office has responded to calls for broader support in its BBC iPlayer software, opening the path to a Mac OS X version. A petition last week called on the British government to go beyond Windows XP, currently the only operating system for which the iPlayer beta is available. "The BBC," reads the petition, "should not be allowed to show commercial bias in this way, or to exclude certain groups of the population from using its services. The BBC say that they provide 'services for everyone, free of commercial interests and political bias'. Locking the new service's users into Microsoft Windows whilst ignoring those members of society who use other operating systems should does not fit in with the BBC's ethos and should not be allowed."
The iPlayer allows users in the United Kingdom to watch the last seven days of BBC TV on their computer, a move to make the BBC more relevant in the digital age. It is also a service to British citizens, who must pay license fees to receive programming. The software is otherwise free.
In its reply, the Prime Minitster's office says that "...the [BBC] Trust noted the strong public demand for the service to be available on a variety of operating systems. The BBC Trust made it a condition of approval for the BBC's on-demand services that the iPlayer is available to users of a range of operating systems, and has given a commitment that it will ensure that the BBC meets this demand as soon as possible. They will measure the BBC's progress on this every six months and publish the findings."
Accordingly, the iPlayer beta website tells visitors that development is in progress for "Windows Vista, Apple Macintosh and Linux operating systems." The client should also eventually appear on "portable devices," and less direct Internet platforms such as Video On Demand services.