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BBC bringing iPlayer to iPod touch / iPhone 'in a matter of weeks'


Hot on the heels of Auntie releasing a selection of videos for sale via the iTunes Store, we somehow missed yesterday's sneaky revelation that the BBC is intending to release some form of the BBC iPlayer for iPod touch and iPhone 'in the coming weeks.'

Why on earth is this important? The much-maligned quarter-billion-dollar iPlayer project has been thus-far Windows only (if you want to download content for the 7 days that it's available) or online-streamed via a Flash player. Astute readers may well also recall that the iPlayer has seen much criticised for its use of Microsoft DRM -- one of the main reasons us Mac citizens lack the ability to download shows from the service.

Quite what the forthcoming release means, in terms of watching the content, remains unclear. Digital Spy reports that the iPlayer will only work over WiFi -- meaning that it may not offer download-and-watch capabilities, choosing streaming or a Flash option like the one currently available. On top of that, this month we're told to expect the iPhone SDK, and that brings up some interesting questions.

Has the BBC signed up with Apple to use the DRM scheme currently found in the movie rentals our American cousins enjoy? Will the playback be done via some form of iPhone app surely not dissimilar to the YouTube app we currently have residing on our iTouches and iPhones, or will those continually-swirling Flash-for-iPhone rumours bring us answers? We'll let you read the tea-leaves, but this is quite an astonishing move from a corporation whose digital effort I had come to disregard in the wake of the initial iPlayer saga.

The iPlayer is, of course, UK-only now [and don't complain, non-British readers: we pays our moneys for the privilege, comprende?] so whatever comes of this, expect it to work only on our fair isle.

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