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BBC to bring iPlayer to Apple TV?

updated 10:20 am EST, Thu January 17, 2008

BBC iPlayer for Apple TV

The BBC is strongly considering offering its iPlayer web video service through the revamped Apple TV, says the company's technology director Ashley Highfield in his Internet blog. Apple's shift from purchase-only videos to a rental model would allow the British network to mimic the functions of the website while providing a more comfortable TV environment, he says. While the shows could still be free to watch, the Apple TV's system would avoid copyright issues by automatically clearing episodes after their viewing period is up, a feature that show producers currently "insist" upon for the website.

Highfield does not say whether the BBC has been in talks with Apple but notes that iPlayer is already enroute to digital set-top boxes such as Virgin's cable service in the spring. The chief obstacle to the BBC accepting a solution is whether it can be simple enough that "my mum can install," the director says. An alternative but longer-term step may be Internet-ready TVs themselves, such as the Panasonic Viera PZ850 series.

An Apple TV solution would require a special exception from Apple, whose rental model for iTunes movies currently demands a small fee and gives viewers up to 30 days to begin watching content and 24 hours to finish any title once it has been started, though the title can be re-rented at any point in the future. iPlayer typically offers shows for less than 30 days before they are removed permanently from the viewing list but allows unlimited viewings of those shows as long as they remain accessible from the website.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Nice for the brits

    Who would actually pay for the bandwidth, Apple or the BBC?

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The beeb

    if the Beeb pays for bandwirh now I'd assume they would pay for it under this proposed model.

  1. neondiet

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Compelling combination

    Now that IS a smart idea. I've not bothered getting an Apple TV in the past because of the lack of content currently available over here. And I've not really got into iPlayer too much on my Mac either, as I'm usually working when in front of the keyboard, and it's more of a one person experience anyway.

    But being able to watch BBC back issues we've missed from the lounge TV would appeal to both myself and my wife. Especially as we could do it together. So I hope they decide to go for it.

  1. macmad

    Joined: Dec 1969


    YES! YES! YES!

    Please do it!

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Not sure if the bbc pays for it now, providers often take care of the logistics for the privilege of having the service on there network.

  1. chas_m



    If this happens ...

    ... it not only guarantees a sale of an Apple TV (for me), but would instantly become my new favourite TV channel. As a resident of Canada, I would be more than happy to pay a fee for access to this service if needed to make it happen.

    I hope the BBC will strongly consider it, I think it's a whale of a good idea.

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