BBC iPlayer

BBC iPlayer

If the rumours are correct, shortly, the BBC iPlayer service may be going international !

The BBC iPlayer service

It must cost a substantial amount of cash to run the BBC iPlayer TV service. Programming is streamed out live over the internet and then, stored on servers for UK users to watch - as and when it suits them. Programmes can be downloaded, then watched or, streamed directly.

Internet bandwidth is not cheap !

Whichever way you choose to watch, every method of delivery uses substantial amounts of internet bandwidth running on masses of expensive cabling and hardware infrastructure which doesn't come cheap. This is all being funded by a percentage of the total TV license fees and there are plenty of people that pay and don't use the service !

Access is restricted to Uk residents

They don't use the on-line BBC iPlayer service because they they are using alternative means to receive BBC programming. When travelling abroad - a time that the service might be handy to these people - they can't use it because access from abroad is not allowed !

BBC iPlayer to launch on iPad ?

Article first published 22-01-2011
Apple posted record financial results for the last quarter of 2010, helped along with record iPad sales of nearly 7.5 million units during the Christmas period.
The iPad is proving to be a winner for Apple and if, the rumour is true, that the BBC plans to launch their iPlayer TV service to international audiences using the iPad, it's a new technology that many British Expat's living abroad may be interested in acquiring in the very near future.
Everyone in the UK is familiar with the BBC's iPlayer service that allows UK resident, TV license payers to watch Live and Catchup TV on the internet.
It is illegal for a UK resident to use the BBC iPlayer service without a TV license and the TV licensing authority will prosecute anyone that does.
Equally, non-residents living abroad (with or, without a TV license) are also, not supposed to access the service.
There are however, many British expat's living abroad who, using a VPN connection to the UK, are able to
overcome this restriction and gain access to the BBC's on-line TV service.
There are literally hundreds of independent companies offering this type of service and typically, a VPN connection to the UK costs about £5 per month.
The BBC actively blocks IP addresses that are being used for this purpose, but nevertheless, thousands of expats regularly access the service without any real difficulty and if, an IP address is blocked by the BBC, users of that IP address can easily change their provider, obtain a new VPN connection and IP address, and continue to use the iPlayer service.
The question is whether, once the service is made available to an international audience, the BBC will employ newer, more up-to-date, geo-locating techniques to enable it to identify the actual location of all its BBC iPlayer's users so, that they can ban all users that are not located in the UK.
Why would they want to do this ? Well,if the other rumour is true, that they may charge as much as £7 for international users to access a programme, there is certainly a financial incentive to block unauthorised users who then, presumably, will have to pay.
In a bid to attract as many users as it can however, it is more likely that the new service will be by subscription. Whether the cost will include a charge to cover the cost of a UK TV license is unknown at this stage, but some sort of provision will have to be made for existing TV license payers who want to access the system from abroad - from their holiday home, for example.
It's all set to happen later this year so, watch this space, and we will bring you more details as they are released.

Regarding BBC iPlayer

Article first published 29-01-2011
I read your article on the BBC iPlayer with interest , but was sorry to note that it appears to relate only to TV. There are several people who cannot afford time and/or money for TV, who nevertheless enjoy BBC radio - or would do so if they knew how! I wonder if you might consider doing an article on iPlayer Radio and including the BBC's plans for its future in your iPlayer updates.
Frances Allen
Frances, most of the UK's radio stations (including the BBC) are freely available on-line and anyone, no matter where they are located in the world, can tune in and listen to the BBC's live feeds to the internet.
There may be some broadcast restrictions on certain programmes such as live sporting events etc., which, if produced by an independent company, maybe subject to rights agreements, restricting them to being broadcast in the UK.
You can buy a radio that connects to the internet through a wireless router and this can be pre-configured to tune into all your favourite radio stations. I did a quick search on Amazon and found that there are 288 different types available to buy and prices start at around £50. The main advantage of using one of these types of radio is that they work independently of your computer and access to your favourite
radio stations is instant, at the touch of a button.
Internet radio also can be accessed through your computer which, using a single audio cable, can be connected to an amplifier, your sound system or, your TV. Using either a wired or, wireless system. You can then, distribute the audio around your home enabling you to listen to your favourite radio station in every room in the house.
Finding your favourite radio station is quite easy too. Of course, you can visit the
BBC iPlayer web site where you can listen to the live feed from your favourite BBC radio station using Windows Media Player.
You can also use the search facilities on web sites like to find the internet feed from your local, independent radio station.
If you experience any difficulty in accessing any of these services here, such as the audio
breaking-up or, the Norman Collier effect, as I like to call it, it's likely that the problem will be internet connectivity at your end.
When you connect to a live radio feed, you are using your internet download bandwidth to bring in the audio. In ideal conditions, even a 512kbps internet connection is sufficient to do this. Usually, live radio feeds come in two different qualities: 48 kbps and 128kbps. The higher the streaming rate, the better the sound quality.
Most of us here, are using wireless internet systems to access the internet and sometimes, there can be a shortage of internet bandwidth or, another problem that causes us to experience slow ping times to the (international) internet or, data packet loss on our wireless internet connections. These are all things that affect the quality of any sort of streaming media from the internet.
If you find that your internet radio feed breaks up regularly, it's time to get your internet connection checked, but don't forget, the location of your home in relation to your ISP's base station is critical. The nearer that you are to their base station, the better the connection you will have to the internet. For good internet radio, what you need are fast ping times to the internet and no data packet loss on your wireless internet connection.

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