He mentions a wealth of brilliant-sounding features, including a sign-in system, an online library, and a system that lets you talk about BBC programmes with friends. Essentially, they’re making the iPlayer social. Your friends will be able to deliver recommendations and ratings and discussions will only be shared with that friend network – not the whole userbase.
Also, apparently, “this month” will see a new roll out of cross-platform desktop software. That’ll be music to the ears of Mac and Linux users, who until now have had to use a Flash-based streaming app. They’ll run both apps for a while, but the Windows-only client will be withdrawn at the end of February.
“At peak times”, says Rose, “the BBC iPlayer now accounts for almost 10% of UK internet bandwidth.” As the BBC adds HD content, and the ‘social’ features kick in, that usage is going to skyrocket. Expect to see ISPs limiting iPlayer traffic to people on cheaper broadband packages, but offering ‘unlimited iPlayer’ to those on higher-end deals. How that’ll square for the public with the fact that they’re already paying the license fee remains to be seen.
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