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iPlayer petition reached a total of 16,000
Wednesday 22 August 2007 11:30:09 by Andrew Ferguson

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.

Comments

Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
"To date there has been little actual talk about the iPlayer and its use" - it has a forum on the BBC site somewhere, at least for Beta users. I find the restrictions on the service irritating - you have to download something within 7 days of it being shown, then have 30 days to view it. If you are away for a fortnight you can't catch up with missed shows.

It has also been very temperamental and requires two different user names and passwords in a confusing way, so I suspect many will just give up on it.
Posted by keith_thfc over 9 years ago
I have Vista and it told me it wouldn't work unless I had XP.......pretty lame.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
Vista is very much a minority operating system thus far, in any case a small well publicised hack allows it to work on Vista too. XP is a good place to start, then Macs then Linux then Vista ;-)
Posted by Flubster over 9 years ago
it will work in vista, just change your Internet explorer user string to an XP version
Posted by KarlAustin over 9 years ago
You gotta laugh at all these people complaining, it's a Beta people, generally used to see if the technology behind it works and if there is interest.
Posted by keith_thfc over 9 years ago
"it will work in vista, just change your Internet explorer user string to an XP version"

Way too complicated for most users (like me) to think about I'm afraid....

How hard is it to get the first beta to work with Vista/IE7 given the years they've spent testing this already?
Posted by manonbus over 9 years ago
Comment 1-2 due to comment size limits

1) 4OD and VISTA

The latest version (not numbered as far as I can see) can be found at http://www.channel4.com/4od/upgrade.html

This version works on VISTA

Posted by manonbus over 9 years ago
Comment 2-2 due to comment size limits

2) Nasties

There is no way for the average user to stop the UPLOAD that occurs when 4od is in use downloading. This upload (p2p) goes at the maxium speed available - so it wont take long for your traffic limits to be reached.

It is possible to pause your download but this does not affect your upload.

For the technical minded (on Vista) look into the SC facility at command level with full admin privaledges. This lets you stop the kservice and sub processes. It is not ideal but pause is deliberlatly disabled
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
"How hard is it to get the first beta to work with Vista/IE7" - Vista itself came out part way through the BBC Beta, given its flaky state it makes sense to resolve all the issues with XP first then migrate a solid solution to Vista.

Vista is a pointless distraction when you can't download half the programs offered.
Posted by bpullen over 9 years ago
/Way too complicated for most users (like me) to think about I'm afraid..../

It's really not that complicated. Take a look at the blog post I wrote here:-
http://community.plus.net/comms/2007/08/02/how-to-install-the-bbc-iplayer-on-windows-vista/
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Well i signed up and tried iplayer properly last week and to be honest its rubbish and something im unlikely to regularly use. Everything is DRM protected, meaning you have to use WMP to watch stuff. The software you have to install is cobbled together and scatters files all over your hard disk. The wait time on some stuff before it starts to download is stupid (the time i spent waiting i could had grabbed the show of bittorrent) and finally the quality of the downloaded WMVs is to be polite poor, it dont come close to the like of some itunes stuff or apples movie trailers.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
In contrast if you visit the itv website, you can watch their stations quickly and easily with no silly sign up needed or stupid software installed. You cant download (unless you use a stream grabber) and stuff still has DRM but it is a better and simpler point and click and it plays approach.
Posted by g-bhxu over 9 years ago
I know that it's already been posted how to get iPlayer to work using Vista. But, if you've just got to have the damn thing on your computer, all you've got to do is duel-boot your PC in the same way that some computer users still do because there are programs that will work in Win 98 but not Win XP
Posted by baby-frogmella over 9 years ago
It's easy to get it running on vista. you just need to use regedit. start>search>regedit
browse to

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\software\microsoft\windows\currentversion\internet settings\5.0\user agent

now in the right hand pane, right click and select new>string value. name it

platform

and then set the data to

Windows NT 5.1

now the iplayer will install/run fine (you will need to close all IE windows for that change to take effect. simply delete the "platform" key to undo the changes if you need to.


Posted by c_j_ over 9 years ago
"all you've got to do is duel-boot your PC"

Changing the browser ID string using regedit (as shown above) is too complicated for 98% of Joe Public (though maybe some kind creative person might want to do a web-installable ActiveX hack to automate the edit and/or add the PC to a botnet ;)).

Given that, what chance has 99% of Joe Public got of getting their factory-setup PC to to dual boot XP and A.N. Other OS (all they'll have is a "restore partition")? Why should they have to, anyway?
Posted by MCM999 over 9 years ago
"though maybe some kind creative person might want to do a web-installable ActiveX hack to automate the edit and/or add the PC to a botnet ;))." No need. All that is necessary is to download and use the Microsoft Fiddler Tool mentioned in bpullen's blog (see above)which can be downloaded from http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=70356 .
Posted by newmo over 9 years ago
I used Channel 4's iPlayer once and was impressed with its simplicity (you had to watch a quick advert though) - however I complained that it wasn't cross-platform and haven't used it since. The BBC gets the publicity because they don't suffer financially if they exclude minorities - we have to pay them just the same whether we are Linux OSX or Vista.
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