The BBC iPlayer is still in beta release after being made available to the public on 27th July 2007. For many people, a big problem with it is that it only works on Windows XP, other home computing platforms such as Mac OSX, Windows Vista, and games consoles are currently unable to use the new free service.
The iPlayer, and other services which are based around a core technology from Kontiki have drawn criticism over the peer to peer (P2P) delivery nature. A number of providers have warned that the traffic will be shaped or possibly blocked if the usage of these services explodes. Whether this is likely to happen is hard to tell. 4oD and Sky Anytime have been out there for some time, but it is possible with BBC content now appearing that demand may increase drastically.
The latest twist in this story is that an e-petition has been submitted to the government with 16,000 signatures calling for the iPlayer to be made available across a wider number of platforms. A common problem with iPlayer, 4oD and Sky Anytime is its dependency on the Digital Rights Management (DRM) in Windows XP Media Player, which is not available for Mac OSX or Linux, let alone potentially more commonly connected platforms such as games consoles. The fact the software will not work on Windows Vista also shows how much work will be needed in the short term.
While the pressure clearly seems to be on the BBC, it should be remembered that Channel 4 also has a public remit. To date there has been little actual talk about the iPlayer and its use, suggesting either it is going smoothly or not many people are using it yet.