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The Internet Television

BBC To Create Internet Protocol TV Standard 128

Posted by Soulskill
from the five-years-too-late dept.
Robadob sends word that the BBC has been granted approval for Project Canvas, "a partnership between the BBC, ITV, BT, Five, Channel 4, and TalkTalk to develop a so-called Internet Protocol Television standard." The approval came with several interesting requirements: "Project Canvas must always remain free-to-air but users 'may be charged for additional pay services that third parties might choose to provide via the Canvas platform, for example video on demand services, as well as the broadband subscription fees.' Access to Project Canvas must not be 'bundled with other products or services' and 'listing on the electronic program guide will be awarded in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner." In addition, a preliminary draft of the tech specs for the project must be published within 20 working days, in order to allow broadcasters and manufacturers of set-top boxes to adopt the new standards. Significantly, "Other broadcasters and content providers must have access to the platform."
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BBC To Create Internet Protocol TV Standard

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  • Note to BBC (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gillbates (106458) on Sunday June 27, 2010 @08:45AM (#32708600) Homepage Journal

    You might want to consider this very thing was done with the likes of MPEGII-TS, ISDB-T, DVB-H etc... more than 5 years ago. You don't need to invent a new standard, but merely use the ones already in existence. And these standards are already open, implemented, and well understood.

    Nobody wants a BBC-only internet tv.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nerdfest (867930)

      Nobody wants a BBC-only internet tv.

      Sounds like the BBC does (or certainly doesn't mind).

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Nobody wants a BBC-only internet tv.

      I was going to say that one of the unspoken requirements is that it be made available only to UK citizens who have paid their TV viewing license fees, but it turns out I was wrong. About the unspoken part that is.

      "The BBC Trust has concluded that Project Canvas will deliver significant public value for licence fee payers," said BBC trustee Diane Coyle.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        So they're going to pour tax money into DRM, even though DRM has been proven, both theoretically and practically, not to work? I kind of feel cheated. I thought the licence fee was intended for the production of quality television.

        • by jvillain (546827)

          This will be open to any one running a Microsoft Windows 7 device service pack2. Using IE 9 as their browser using Silver light on i386 hardware with some external proprietary libraries installed.

          You've punked us twice there Beeb. We won't fall for it again.

          • by Paul Jakma (2677)

            Worse, the BBC implementation of Canvas will very likely be built on top of embedded Linux, while at the same time the BBC will do its best to restrict how Free Software can access its on-demand TV (iPlayer), e.g. by blocking all but the lower-res versions, or blocking access entirely. This in addition to the grand-parent's point about how the BBC will use public money to fund development of anti-public-interest DRM.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126)

          The problem is that it is hard to make quality TV without DRM. Take a flagship programme like Doctor Who. The BBC sells it to other foreign broadcasters. They couldn't get as much money for it if they were giving it away freely themselves as the other broadcasters don't want to be competing with free. There are also the DVD sales, the repeats etc. Most shows use other companies for part of the production too and

          Of course they are aware of BitTorrent and DVRs but they is still quite different from the BBC of

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mister_dave (1613441)

      From El Reg: [theregister.co.uk]

      The problem? There's already an industry standards body for British digital TV, and the BBC is a member - along with Pace, Microsoft and Sky. The DTG (Digital TV Group) publishes the "D Book", the product it says of 4,000 man hours of work developing detailed technical specifications for digital broadcasting standards. The Sixth Edition of the D Book came out in March.

      By contrast, Canvas specifications are © of the BBC. The DTG asked the BBC Trust this year to release from BBC copyright cr

    • Re:Note to BBC (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 27, 2010 @10:27AM (#32709038)

      I have no idea why this is modded +5. The standard is not about replacing video codecs, it is about a new platform. It's really a replacement of MHEG rather than MPEG.

      "You don't need to invent a new standard, but merely use the ones already in existence."

      There aren't good standards (modern ones) that deal with the problems at hand.

      The change will make developing applications for IPTV's far, far easier by shifting to a better known and used language, as well as a far more powerful processor (there are specifications for exactly how powerful a box must be for it to call itself a canvas box).

      "Nobody wants a BBC-only internet tv."

      No, that's why this isn't a BBC-only production.

      Disclaimer: IAMA dev in the BBC working with these boxes.

      • Surely any device that can understand MRSS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_RSS) can do the job? Consider an MRSS feed a "Channel" that can contain Video, Audio and Image items as well as links to other channels. From (http://www.reelseo.com/mrss-rss-mrss-video-syndication/):

        RSS and MRSS have changed the way video distribution works. The specification can be used by anyone. The process is very simple. Just add the MRSS extensions to your RSS feed and you can deliver video content to your audience

      • As far as I understand it, it's not an open standard at all in that it's not going to be available, even to purchase, without signing some sort of agreement on restricting its implementation.

        Much as you don't get access to the Freesat or Freeview HD Huffman tables without signing up to the BBC (sorry, "industry"), restrictions on the products you can produce.

        I realise it isn't entirely the BBC's fault that it's got a political mandate to create the fiction of an independent "meeja" industry in the UK, but i

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jwdb (526327)

        I have no idea why this is modded +5. The standard is not about replacing video codecs, it is about a new platform. It's really a replacement of MHEG rather than MPEG.

        Because none of the three examples he listed - MPEGII-TS, ISDB-T and DVB-H - are video codecs. All are ways of packaging A/V streams together with program and other types of data for transmission. This is an integral part of any TV distribution platform and will definitely be part of what the BBC is working on.

      • ITOOCANWRITEINALLCAPS!

    • Re:Note to BBC (Score:5, Informative)

      by Alsee (515537) on Sunday June 27, 2010 @12:15PM (#32709732) Homepage

      A quote from a few months ago: The BBC has indicated that third party content owners are seeking to ensure that reception equipment will implement ... copy protection. Because [these] requirements are not mandatory, representatives of content owners have asked the BBC to take steps to ensure that reception equipment will implement the specified content management arrangements.

      The "standards issue" is that certain parties want the government to define and impose a DRM system and for the government to make it MANDATORY for all hardware to include and enforce this DRM system.

      The guardian.co.uk story contains a link to dtg_bbc_trust_canvas_response.pdf [dtg.org.uk] were they say they want a new Digital Rights Management expert working group (diagram on page 2), and where they want a "high integrity receiver conformance regime" for receivers. That is a fancy way of saying want all receivers to the securely welded shut and they want circuitry and software securely locked down to prevent device owners or third party services from unscrewing the box to upgrade them in unapproved ways. And most of all it means strictly prohibiting any open platform such as MythTV or or a generic GPL Linux PC reception where people can modify the software. On page 10 they have a section explicitly titled "Conditional Access and DRM" where they explicitly state their concern is for Canvas to ensure the inclusion of DRM components in receivers.

      The EFF has a good article [eff.org] discussing how it's the same thing that went on in the U.S. with the same people demanding the "Broadcast Flag" and demanding the FCC to make it mandatory for all receivers to include a government imposed DRM system on the entire public. There were the same demands for "high integrity receiver conformance regime" to lock down the hardware and software against modification by owners or third party services.

      -

    • ...ITV, BT, Five, Channel 4, and TalkTalk...

      Doesn't sound like BBC only.

    • MP4 does it all (Score:3, Interesting)

      by StandardCell (589682)
      The MPEG-4 Part 12 standard or MP4 container is capable of nearly everything that one needs from a standards perspective to set up any kind of streaming A/V media. The metadata boxes/atoms are totally customizable and extensible even to the point of custom device application delivery. All major CODECs are supported within the container. It can be muxed in real-time (with some trickery). All one needs to do is choose the audio and video CODECs and to define the custom metadata if/when necessary, gear you
    • by rawler (1005089)

      Ehm, no?

      MPEG2-TS, muxing format. Does nothing whatsoever for internet media-delivery, except could possibly be shoehorned into being the payload muxer, although better options exist. (Native RTP-muxing, MP4 ...)

      ISDB-T, are you high? It's a broadcasting-specification, and -T stands for terrestial, that is, developed for fixed terrestial antenna transmission.

      DVB-H, again, physical transmission-technology for Handhelds, only with related technologies such as DVB-IPDC even touching some kind of Internet service

  • I'm working with a contractor whose contract is ending at the end of this month. He's had a couple of calls about jobs from agencies whose clients are "large media companies" about a massive ongoing project. I guess this is what it is. He's a Linux specialist too, so I guess there'll be a lot of Linux experts needed in the coming months.
  • by Aladrin (926209) on Sunday June 27, 2010 @08:54AM (#32708632)

    Standards need to be COMPLETELY open, even to those who don't want to follow your rules, if you want them to do well. Restricting this to companies that wish to play by your rules is a great way to ensure that others will create a competing standard and basically nullify any real forward progress this might have.

    Also, this line is screwy:

    "In addition, a preliminary draft of the tech specs for the project must be published within 20 working days, in order to allow broadcasters and manufacturers of set-top boxes to adopt the new standards."

    What the hell kind of timeline is that? What broadcaster or manufacturer is saying "We're making new boxes in 20 days, so you had better have the draft ready by then." That's a ridiculous amount of time for such a massive standard. In addition, a preliminary draft of the tech specs for the project must be published within 20 working days, in order to allow broadcasters and manufacturers of set-top boxes to adopt the new standards.

    Unless, of course, the standard is so generic as to be useless. If so, let me write it for you:

    Equipment or software rendering this service must support video with synchronized audio delivered via internet protocol.

    There, saved you 20 days.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by 91degrees (207121)
      The BBC does have a lot of clout. If the BBC doesn't support a UK TV standard then that standard is not going to catch on in the UK.

      And the BBC is a big international name. If the rest of Europe is looking for a solution they're quite likely to go for the same one simply for compatibility as long as it's a reasonably decent system.
      • by mister_dave (1613441) on Sunday June 27, 2010 @09:46AM (#32708872)
        If the rest of Europe are looking for a solution, then OpenIPTV [openiptvforum.org] is likely to be attracting their attention.
        • by 91degrees (207121)
          Perhaps. It looks like it may be possible to use the same specification for Canvas as well.

          The way I see it though, is that ability to use common equipment for transmission and receiving has so many benefits that if the first major broadcaster chooses a specific platform then all others would be wise to follow.
      • If the rest of Europe is looking for a solution they're quite likely to go for the same one simply for compatibility as long as it's a reasonably decent system.

        ...unless you're French.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jadin (65295)

      Makes a whole lot more sense if you read it as:

      "Any changes to the standard must be published in a preliminary draft within 20 working days, in order to allow broadcasters and manufacturers to adjust to the new changes."

      And yet, I see zero evidence that they intended anything other than what they wrote. Oh well, Just a thought I had reading your post.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by petermgreen (876956)

      Standards need to be COMPLETELY open, even to those who don't want to follow your rules, if you want them to do well.
      How about HDCP? Getting the stuff needed to implement the standard requires you to agree to enforce thier rules. That hasn't stopped nearly all HDTVs and a lot of monitors from supporting it.

      BBC, ITV, C4 and Five are the main free to air broadcasters in the UK and all of them have ondemand services on computers. For a TV or STB vendor selling in the UK access to ondemand TV from all the majo

  • by NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) on Sunday June 27, 2010 @09:03AM (#32708672)
    I mean look, my Tivo is basically a computer and I can use it to watch youtube. However the one thing I really want to do is use my tivo to watch on demand stuff. You'd think all they'd have to do is write an app to use the "IPTV" standard and then have my Tivo connect to one of Comcast servers to request an on-demand program. I mean seriously, my Tivo is hooked up to the ethernet, that's hooked up to the internet through Comcast so I'm inside their network and I'm using their cable cards on top of it. They can't have a stupid server that would let me watch stuff on my tivo and instead they've got to hack together some stupid switched video system to implement on demand?
  • Waste (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wowsers (1151731) on Sunday June 27, 2010 @09:04AM (#32708674) Journal

    So the BBC have found a new way to waste my BBC tax money. This is not their business.

    • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Sunday June 27, 2010 @09:16AM (#32708730)
      I rather think it is precisely their business. The idea that the BBC should be restricted to radio broadcasting is ridiculous. I guess that when FM started, people like you would have suggested that the BBC be limited to AM broadcasting. And when the first video was transmitted, that they should be restricted to audio only.
      • by Wowsers (1151731) on Sunday June 27, 2010 @10:21AM (#32709014) Journal
        Using your example, the BBC and other UK broadcasters have been pushing to get rid of FM in favour of DAB radio [wikipedia.org] (digital audio broadcasting). DAB has terrible audio quality, terrible error correction, and pretty bad reception compared to FM. The rest of the world is dumping or not implementing DAB and implementing DAB+ instead. DAB+ is a more up to date CODEC which is more efficient, better audio quality, better error correction, cheaper to transmit than DAB, etc. etc. So the BBC are trying to get people to accept inferior technology (just like the DVB-T "Freeview" system).

        The BBC have long since given up the pretense of quality transmission, the last decent innovation of theirs being the contribution to the NICAM 728 project [wikipedia.org].... Stereo transmission of audio in the analogue TV signal....
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by BasilBrush (643681)

          Your example does't help you. DAB was not developed by the BBC. If it is a failure, then perhaps thats a good reason for the BBC developing it's own standard this time, rather than adopting an existing standard. It certainly not any kind of argument that the BBC shouldn't be in the standards development business.

          DAB has been under development since 1981 at the Institut für Rundfunktechnik (IRT). In 1985 the first DAB demonstrations were held at the WARC-ORB in Geneva and in 1988 the first DAB transmiss

        • by chrb (1083577)

          DAB has terrible audio quality, terrible error correction, and pretty bad reception compared to FM.

          And compact discs have terrible audio quality, terrible error correction compared to vinyl...

          The rest of the world is dumping or not implementing DAB and implementing DAB+ instead.

          The BBC began broadcasting DAB in 1995. DAB+ wasn't released until 2007. Maybe everyone everywhere is making a mistake, and we should be holding out for DAB++ in 2022?

        • I think Ofcom are to blame for the DAB choice. [theregister.co.uk]

          Despite DAB+ solving DAB's numerous problems, Ofcom has scuppered any hopes of seeing it anytime soon. Channel 4 has made a serious investment in digital radio, and wanted to use DAB+ for stations on its national DAB multiplex, due to launch later this year. But light-touch regulator Ofcom wouldn't let them, and Channel 4 was ordered to use DAB instead.

        • by evilviper (135110) on Sunday June 27, 2010 @03:52PM (#32710870) Journal

          DAB has terrible audio quality,

          DAB use MPEG-1 Layer2 audio at any bitrate. DAB is indistinguishable from CD audio at 192kbps. Admittedly, many DAB broadcasters IN THE UK use lower bitrates, but that's a simple question of how much money each broadcaster wants to spend on their digital transmissions...

          terrible error correction,

          See above. The level of error correction is selectable. If it's not enough, complain to the broadcaster that they need to select a higher level.

          and pretty bad reception compared to FM.

          I expect this is mostly related to the above. Though I will note that DAB uses a slightly higher frequency than analog FM. However, DAB+ will do the same, so there's no relevant difference there.

          The rest of the world is dumping or not implementing DAB and implementing DAB+ instead.

          Much of the rest of Europe is indeed broadcasting in DAB right now. The adoption rate was just so slow that after a couple decades, something better came along, and the installed base is small enough not to hold up migrating to something entirely non-compatible... Would you advise never adopting anything, and just sitting around hoping something better will come along?

          And why are you complaining about DAB, and not about DVB? After all, you're stuck with MPEG-2 codecs, instead of the newer and better H.264... Shouldn't all of Europe have held-up on that one, waiting for MPEG-4?

          DAB+ is a more up to date CODEC which is more efficient, better audio quality, better error correction, cheaper to transmit than DAB, etc. etc.

          DAB+ uses HE-AAC, which does a better job of compressing audio to somewhat lower bitrates, without as many apparent artifacts. At high bitrates (192kbps) HE-AAC is no better than MPEG-1 Layer2. In-fact, maximum sound quality will be slightly worse (but probably not enough for the general public to care).

          The error correction isn't really inherently much better, either. The only reason they changed it was because the old method that worked on CBR wouldn't work on VBR... The only reason you can say it's improved is that they require more of it, and that is only to make-up for deficiencies in HE-AAC versus MPEG-1 Layer2.

          DAB+ is no cheaper to transmit than DAB. It's really the same technology on the back-end there. In fact the added ECC overhead would make it a bit more expensive. The only thing that will make it "cheaper" is the ability to use lower bitrate HE-AAC audio, and therefore smaller channels.

          However, any way you look at it, you're really stuck at the same problem... Broadcasters were interested in cutting costs, so they reduced quality to just tolerable levels. Even if DAB+ was adopted in a day, what makes you think they won't do the same thing, and reduce quality to barely tolerable levels?

          I don't blame you for having no clue, though. This is pretty much what happens when people get their information from heavily biased articles Wikipedia, of which the DAB article is one of the worst I've ever seen. Of course there are other interested parties who stand to make a lot of money on DAB+, who are also loudly spouting an impressive amount of misinformation, sadly much of it from within the EBU.

      • by Paul Jakma (2677)

        The problem is that the BBC will use public money to develop DRM, and the BBC has the clout to ensure it gets deployed. Management in the BBC at the moment are very much sold on the idea of "content protection".

      • The idea that the BBC should be restricted to radio broadcasting is ridiculous

        How do you justify a coercive monopoly without a natural scarcity?

  • Live TV is so passe (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mrsam (12205) on Sunday June 27, 2010 @09:14AM (#32708726) Homepage

    What's really needed is some sort of organized access to downloadable broadcast content. I rarely watch live TV. I really don't care when the shows are on.

    Right now, if you want a particular show, you have to figure out where to download, if it's even available for downloading. But usually, all you get is a postage-sized streaming window.

    Many new TV sets coming out today can grab video contents from a small collection of online content. This needs to be scaled up, so that people can simply ditch the old-style cable and satellite monopolies. I want to turn on my TV, and select from a choice of live streams, from the news channels, or available list of archived shows.

    Oh, and since most folks have multiple sets, it would be nice to have a standard by which your server in the basement can retrieve the shows on your behalf, and your TV sets fetch the video from it, instead of having all your TV sets waste bandwidth downloading the same show.

    • by mSparks43 (757109)
      No No No No NOOoooooo.
      You don't understand.
      This is state television we are talking about, they don't want you to have a choice. They want to decide what you watch so they can forward and manage public perception of the government agendas.
      • by gfreeman (456642)

        The BBC have had plenty of run-ins with the government recently. I really don't think they're in the business of promoting government agendas over those of the opposition, regardless of who is in power.

  • by bradgoodman (964302) on Sunday June 27, 2010 @09:17AM (#32708732) Homepage
    I thought BBC had already standardized on Bittorrent :-O
  • Why all the negative comments, sounds good

    "The service will see a range of set-top boxes available to access on-demand TV services such as iPlayer and ITVplayer. "

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      As a U.S. BBC fan this doesn't sound good AT ALL, actually. You can almost guarantee that somewhere in there is region control... the exact same problem U.S. fans have with iPlayer.

      Region control on the Internet is a step BACKWARDS.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I wish to region control my job before gets sent abroad ;)

      • by Pazy (1169639)
        I dont usually agree with Region Control at all but in the case of the BBC iPLayer it makes a little more sense. The BBC is funded by the Tax Payer so everyone in Britain gets free access to iPlayer, though one could argue we deserve more access to the BBC's content, since we are paying for the content. This is a different situation than the company who produce, for example, "The Corbert Report" limiting the free streaming on their website to US only since they are getting funded by the Ad revenue of the vi
        • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Sunday June 27, 2010 @09:58AM (#32708926) Homepage Journal

          I understand the issue with the License, but there are big fans (like me) in the U.S. that would gladly pay for a British TV License so they could see their favorite shows at broadcast. The fact is the BBC (and some of the government bureaucracy) so far has simply just cut off other fans around the world when the technology is there.

          Plus, as someone else has mentioned already, region encoding is simply an artificial way for broadcasters to keep their advantage from the time when NTSC to PAL conversions cost thousands of dollars and physically had to be shipped to the U.S. There is no reason for the time lag any more...

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by gbjbaanb (229885)

            sure, but if you could embed paid-for content in there too, the BBC Worldwide (or BBS America) could then legitimately sell the content to you. Currently, the standards don't allow for that which means they have to block you entirely.

          • by jez9999 (618189)

            I understand the issue with the License, but there are big fans (like me) in the U.S. that would gladly pay for a British TV License so they could see their favorite shows at broadcast.

            No, then it wouldn't be a BBC-style licence.

            In order for the US to pay the licence, you would need to force ALL americans to pay the licence, so that the ones who liked BBC stuff could watch it. The others could go fuck themselves and pay up the cash anyway.

            Your proposal sounds more like paying a subscription for BBC content

        • This is a different situation than the company who produce, for example, "The Corbert Report" limiting the free streaming on their website to US only since they are getting funded by the Ad revenue of the viewers

          The problem isn't that Comedy Central doesn't think they can make money by showing ads to foreigners; the problem is that in they have given other TV channels the exclusive rights to broadcast shows like "The Colbert Report" in foreign countries. If they started streaming their shows for free to countries where the rights to broadcast them belong to another company, they would be violating the terms of the licensing agreements. The only company there is to blame for not streaming the Colbert Report in yo

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by caluml (551744)

        the exact same problem U.S. fans have with iPlayer.

        You guys started it with your stupid DVD region encoding, and releasing films over here weeks or months after they are released in the US.
        Sauce, goose, gander, etc?

        • That was corporate decision making. Don't get me confused with the corporate wankheads. I'm not in favor of THAT, either.

      • Maybe that lesson will sink in to bloody American video hosting sites that region-lock the clips people post in Slashdot and Techdirt. There's nothing more annoying than a post to the effect of "Look at this - it's AWESOME!!!!" above a black box saying "This video is not available in your area". What *is* the point of region locking a trailer? I can understand region locking a whole movie, even if I don't agree with it, but locking people out of a trailer is just plain perverse.
        • by evilviper (135110)

          There's nothing more annoying than a post to the effect of "Look at this - it's AWESOME!!!!" above a black box saying "This video is not available in your area".

          Region locking is nothing next to all web video being locked-up in Flash format, which anyone not using Windows/Mac/Linux on x86 (or just can't subject themselves to the insecurity) is locked-out from. This even though there are many open source players that would handle the video just fine if it was simply "embed"-ed in the page, rather than using

          • by Peet42 (904274)

            I think your priorities are a bit off... There are far more important issues at hand.

            Of course, you're right. It's far more important to make sure that the 1% of users on non-standard hardware have the opportunity to see the video than that the rest of the world gets to see it.

            • by evilviper (135110)

              Of course, you're right. It's far more important to make sure that the 1% of users on non-standard hardware have the opportunity to see the video

              You'll find the majority of computers in the world are not x86 compatible. Remember ARM? You know, that thing in your cell phone, DVD player, toaster, etc.?

              And even with x86, Adobe simply doesn't provide a plugin for many OSes.

              And on platforms where it does, there are innumerable legitimate reasons for people to refuse to install it.

              than that the rest of the worl

              • by Peet42 (904274)

                Your only concern is what YOU get out of it, and are perfectly happy to be short-sighted about it all.

                I live in the UK, and was responding to a post about people outside the UK being region-locked from seeing BBC content. I *get* that content. (Oh, and I *don't* have a cell 'phone.)

                You would rather make sure that someone who really wanted to see something could jump on a 'plane with any device and watch it when they arrive, rather than walking to the closest computer that can run Flash or firing up an

                • by evilviper (135110)

                  Region-locking can be worked around by technical methods, like using a proxy (of some sort). Proprietary locking cannot.

      • by IrquiM (471313)

        There's a reason why there are region locks. It is because iPlayer is there to support the UK citizens, as it's their money being spent producing the programmes. Yes - it's free for them online, but they've already paid for the shows with taxes.

        • by mdwh2 (535323)

          As a licence payer, I'm happy for Iplayer to be open to all.

          And the licence fee doesn't really work consistently. A UK person who only watches non-BBC TV has to payer the fee. But a UK person who watches BBC content on Iplayer, but doesn't watch TV as its broadcase, doesn't have to pay the fee!

  • I prefer on-demand content for my TV shows, for which BitTorrent is the perfect solution. For sports live streaming is required, as I came to realize with the football[1] World Cup, and there is no good open standard today. I hope GoalBit [sourceforge.net] gets momentum, but so far only proprietary applications[2] have some live content available (mostly copyright infringing channels from asia).

    I feel really guilty about wasting all that bandwidth with that Flash streaming crap.

    [1] football: the sport played with the feet, n

  • or should I say, Standards brough to you by the BBC? My answer is no, don't do it. They are pro DRM and proving to side with the likes of the RIAA and MPAA and similar. I don't want DRM being part of a standard at all! If anything, standards should be developed by indpendent working groups, not by corporations with corporate interests. Independent working groups ensure that standards are open and I am thankful that Wireless N was developed this way. When companies develop standards, we get patents and
  • by phil holden (897733) on Sunday June 27, 2010 @11:39AM (#32709448)
    I do not pay a TV licence. I do not own a TV. About once a year there is a program that everyone is talking about that I would like to see. I emailed the BBC to ask if it was legal for me to use iPlayer if I did not have a TV licence. They said this was perfectly legal, a licence is only needed if I owned a device capable of receiving live broadcast quality TV. They said I would only need a TV licence for my Internet PC if the BBC started live streaming the signal to the Internet. I am guessing there are a good number of people who do not have a TV and do not pay licence fee because they do not like what the BBC produces. It is important for us to be able to opt out of 'being able to receive' live BBC TV without having to disconnect from the Internet. I know this announcement is about on demand content but the format may pave the way for live Internet broadcasts. If the BBC make it 'free' to access what they may really mean is they are making all UK internet users liable for a TV licence.
    • Actually, the BBC already provide live streaming via iPlayer, called 'simulcast'

      http://iplayerhelp.external.bbc.co.uk/help/about_iplayer/tvlicence [bbc.co.uk]
    • by KlaymenDK (713149)

      > PC users liable for TV licence?
      Yup. Last year, the Danish broadcaster (DR) was very happy to see a new bill passed, that makes every household required to pay the full license fee (~£300/year) if they have at least one of:
      - a television (even if used only with a C64; if it "can" receive a signal, it is assumed to do so)
      - an internet connection of 265kbit or faster (apparently, that's all you need to watch best-quality live tv; I wouldn't know, it only works on Windows, and they only offer a few s

    • You actually don't need to pay a license fee if you own a TV, as long as you don't use it to recieve live broadcasts (IE, you just use it for DVDs/Videos/Games Consoles). With the internet, you can use iPlayer as long as you don't use the live streams and it will be the same with this new protocol, unless new legislation is passed (which I doubt, especially not with the conservatives holding the most power at the moment)
    • by Artemis3 (85734)

      Imagine that, having to pay "fees" for watching public TV... Talk about backwards.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      I am guessing there are a good number of people who do not have a TV and do not pay licence fee because they do not like what the BBC produces.

      Well, I'm guessing that there are a good number of people who do not pay the license fee because they're fucking leeches, and that almost all of them do have TVs.

      You are the exception that proves the rule, I suppose.

  • by gilesjuk (604902)

    They really waste too much money thinking about things other than the terrestrial TV service.

    We pay money to own a TV capable of receiving over the air TV, not for websites, IPTV or other pet projects.

  • what this is (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DaveGod (703167) on Sunday June 27, 2010 @12:36PM (#32709848)

    Just to clarify, since the description isn't exactly clear, basically they're doing for IP TV what they did for free-to-air digital television with Freeview [wikimedia.org].

    That is, bundling it together for convenient free access on a cheap box to go under the TV.

    Like Freeview, this is not "a BBC project", but a coalition between all the major broadcasters in the UK plus a few others on the technology/infrastructure side. Again like Freeview, a company (apparently "YouTV" is most likely) will be set up to manage it and each broadcaster will have a share and board representation. BBC will probably take lead, because they initiated it and because the other broadcasters trust it more than they trust each other.

    They have stated that it will be an "open standard", but no, not "open" in the sense of what /. would call open with respect to internet standards. They mean open in that any manufacturer can make the hardware and relatively light editorial controls over standards of the TV on it (no, don't expect channel 4chan to be on there). That probably doesn't matter much though since this is a TV box-set thing: consider it more a relatively open consumer product rather than a relatively closed internet standard.

    Personally I think it's about time. Just like they did with Freeview (and iPlayer, and well, quite a lot of TV/radio throughout history), the BBC have sat back, given capitalism the first opportunity, saw the lacklustre efforts going nowhere then stepped in to get the job done. It's really quite absurd that a non-commercial entity is consistently the one pushing media technology forward in the UK with any enthusiasm, and even more ridiculous that they are the one that comes across as consumer-focused. Don't get me wrong, I still think they do things around the time I would expect a non-profit "me too" organisation would, what is strange is that capitalism isn't already there. Nearly all the traditional media companies seem to just crap their pants at the sound of the word "internet".

    Not sure exactly where this leaves the cable and satellite operators though, what with this + Freeview HD all that infrastructure is starting to look redundant.

    There's some apparently independent wiki-type site with lots of info here [projectcanvas.co.uk].

    • It's really quite absurd that a non-commercial entity is consistently the one pushing media technology forward in the UK

      The BBC get a £3 billion subsidy from the British taxpayer.

      • by jabuzz (182671)

        No it does not.

        • I said The BBC gets a £3 billion subsidy, the BBC says it gets £3.3 billion, The Times say the BBC gets £3.6 billion, The Guardian say the BBC gets £3.4 billion. It's a big subsidy.

          From The BBC [bbc.co.uk]

          Our total investment in the creative industries during the year was £1.1billion, or 33% of our annual licence fee income

          From The Times: [timesonline.co.uk]

          BBC executives openly admit that the report, which will mean the reassignment of £600 million of the £3.6 billion licence fee

          From The Guardi [guardian.co.uk]

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No it is really nothing like Freeview.

      Freeview is a marketing organisation for Digital Terrestrial broadcasts in the UK.

      The D-Book is the standard collaboratively created for these broadcasts and it is managed by the DTG.

      Canvas intends to dictate most details of the receivers and OWN and CONTROL the application level software and UI.

      The Freeview device market is highly competitive with a wide range of products available. TVs, recorders, DVD recorders, combination IPTV devices and probably a few more I have

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      what is strange is that capitalism isn't already there

      Contrary to the accepted wisdom on slashdot, capitalism isn't always the best solution to everything.

  • by gavron (1300111) on Sunday June 27, 2010 @04:17PM (#32711072)

    I'm so glad that the future "Internet Standards" will be put together by the BBC. I hope they get good input from the MPAA, RIAA, BSA, etc.

    Good things we don't leave Internet Standards in the hands of those pesky idiots at the IETF, NANOG, or vendors like Cisco, Juniper, et al.

    I was going to say more but I think I'll go write a Broadcasting Standard.

    Ehud
    Tucson
    P.S. Please don't mod me down. It's my birthday.

  • This is the BBC that developed the open source DIRAC codec, talked about open source, then proceeded to create a Microsoft-only iPlayer restricted by country IP and based on h263? If somebody is judged on their actions rather than their words, the BBC are not to be trusted.

    Phillip.

    • by Malc (1751)

      What's this Microsoft-only iPlayer you speak of?

      Most of my iPlayer watching is via my PS3. None of the other broadcasters in the UK support it - thanks BBC for producing something convenient. Sometimes I use my Mac instead, where it's based on Adobe's technology.

  • There is no such thing as truly fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory in software. This is known an 'RAND' in other circles, and what it usually means is: (patent) license fee applies, same rate to everyone. This instantly discriminates against free implementations, because they're basically excluded. This famously came up in Web standards back in 2000, with the W3C being pro-RAND. This nearly resulted in them being disbanded, because their entire purpose was a free web, not a closed one.

    The word 'Open'

  • by Nyder (754090) on Sunday June 27, 2010 @09:31PM (#32712844) Journal

    I'm not ever paying for anything you produce.

    Just thought you should know.

  • My impression of this project from the media coverage over the last year or so was that it is a standardisation effort for Internet connected set-top boxes. i.e. consistent user interface, applications, widgets, hardware capabilities, etc, and a joint effort between all the UK television channels (with the notable exception of Rupert Murdoch/News Corp, who are un-surprisingly a little bit anti) and some hardware manufacturers.

    i.e. it's not so much about creation of new technologies, more about making sure t

  • Does that mean we won't be forced to use a flash-based clusterfuck that doesn't work half the time, like the BBC currently uses?

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov

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