The BBC Trust is currently carrying out a consultation exercise into their new “On Demand” TV services over the Internet in which they ask “How important is it that the proposed seven-day catchup service be available to consumers who are not using Microsoft software ?” (see question 5).
The accompanying PDF says:
In respect of the seven-day catch-up over the internet service, the files would require DRM to ensure that they were appropriately restricted in terms of time and geographic consumption. The only system that currently provides this security is Windows Media 10 and above. Further, the only comprehensively deployed operating system that currently supports Windows Media Player 10 and above is the Windows XP operating system. As a result of these DRM requirements the proposed BBC iPlayer download manager element therefore requires Windows Media Player 10 and Windows XP. This means the service would be unavailable to a minority of consumers who either do not use Microsoft or do not have an up-to-date Microsoft operating system. However, over time, technology improvements are likely to enable even more efficient methods of delivery. Further, it is our understanding the BBC Executive are working towards the iPlayer download manager being able to function on other operating systems.
and go on to say:
We also note that the Microsoft-based strategy for rights management will limit usage. Normally, we would expect BBC services to be universally available, as universal access to BBC services is in the public interest. However, as set out above, other mainstream technology platforms do not currently provide the appropriate security.
So the BBC Trust do want greater usage, but don’t seem to understand that DRM will stop that even if people do have access to Windows.
People may want to make their feelings known on this..
I spent a few minutes the other day responding to the consultation.
I think I pondered aloud whether the BBC is seriously considering spending license-payers money to promote a vendor whose own government successfully prosecuted an antitrust case within the last decade based on their misuse of a coercive monopoly.
I might have even called the “not running microsoft software” question both “repugnant” and “culpably naive”, oops, silly me.
A public service broadcaster should have a remit to support all, not one popular operating system for its video on demand. This also means the new Amiga Workbench 4.0 and Mac OS X, as well as all Linux distros and Solaris.
Stuart, probably the best way to do that would be to support open codecs that are not patent encumbered and fully documented with free implementations. Perhaps Annodex?