BBC iPlayer comes to Mac and Linux via Flash streaming

There’s some interesting developments in the progress of making the BBC’s iPlayer available to more than just those people running Windows XP. The BBC announced that they are partnering with Adobe to make a streaming version of the iPlayer based on Adobe’s Flash player which will make the service available to people running Mac OSX, Linux and Windows.

This solution won’t bring exactly the same experience that current Windows XP based users of the iPlayer get, users will simply be able to play the files whilst they are connected to the internet whereas the full iPlayer allows people to download shows and keep them for up to 30 days. It is still definitely a step in the right direction though, the use of Flash for the video format was a no-brainer really as it is the most cross-platform solution out there.

Previously I’ve blogged about whether Flash was a viable alternative for the iPlayer so it’s good to see that my thoughts weren’t really off-track. It will be interesting to see how Adobe moves in future, will they try and enable some kind of DRM system in order to try and get the BBC to drop the Windows Media DRM system that the main iPlayer system uses? or will the BBC forego the use of DRM altogether and make the transition to a Flash based iPlayer even easier?

Head in The Clouds…

The BBC also announced a deal with WIFI network The Cloud to offer access to all of their online content without the user having to pay a subscription to The Cloud. This makes the Flash-based streaming iPlayer even better news in that you will be able to watch BBC video content without paying for WiFi access at your local coffee shop, oh, except if you’re on an iPhone as there’s no Flash player!

Joking aside though, I wonder if the BBC will choose to make content available using the H.264 video codec and make use of the latest Flash Player 9? If they did then this could allow the content to be published and made accessible on devices that can’t run Flash player. That’s just one more reason why the BBC needs to drop the Windows DRM based iPlayer as it’s just profoundly inaccessible.