MP4 file download hole in iPlayer filled
The joy of software development is finding out when it will do things you never originally intended it to do. Some people apparently have been exploiting a way of downloading content from the BBC iPlayer that was meant to be streamed onto the iPhone and iPod platforms using a plug-in for the Firefox browser.
The BBC News item labels the people doing this as hackers, but it raises an interesting point about the use of a myriad of tools available that will let users get hold of streaming content as a file so that it can be played back on devices that would otherwise not play the streamed content.
A wide range of portable audio/video devices are available that will support the MP4 format, but are not able to access the iPod and iPhone content due to how the BBC iPlayer site streams the content. The cat and mouse game of plugging the holes that will appear in Digital Rights Management formats and streaming services will mean that the BBC iPlayer will have ongoing development costs beyond the costs of creating the variety of formats it currently produces. As some online music stores appear to have decided it may be better to encourage people to download content and leave them free to decide which devices they can play it on.