Advanced Television

iPlayer P2P switch off

November 27, 2007

Ashley Highfield, future media director of the BBC, has said BBC iPlayer has cost around £4.5 million (E6.5m), as part of a £130 million, five-year plan to transition from tape to digital. On bandwidth management, Highfield told Groklaw, the open source site, he had added the ability to iPlayer users to turn off bandwidth sharing when not using the P2P software in response to “a lot of unsolicited user feedback”. He conceded the BBC needed to look further at giving users more control and flexibility over allocating their own bandwidth.

The BBC wants to move to “a world beyond DRM”. and technology unit director Ashley Highfield told Groklaw two additions to iPlayer and Microsoft DRM were under consideration – an open-source DRM for the interim and a long-term hope to abandon rights limitations altogether. That's an ambitious plan that would require another license agreement be struck with independent producers. Highfield said: “We want to get to … a much more flexible world where the content would be free of DRM…We've got to find ways in which that would not harm the rights holders' business.” But he said the parties had “already started these conversations”.

Meanwhile, an anonymous former iPlayer developer has tole The Register: “The disorganisation was incredible. The management had lost track of where they wanted [iPlayer] to go. It was the biggest mess I've ever worked on.”

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