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MacBytes
May 17, 2005, 03:08 AM
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Category: News and Press Releases
Link: BBC invests in "iTunes for the Broadcast Industry" (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20050517040803)

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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Lacero
May 17, 2005, 03:22 AM
It'll only succeed if one can download a TV show before it was released. Who's going to want to watch a week-old show?

dejo
May 17, 2005, 03:35 AM
Who's going to want to watch a week-old show?

Maybe somebody that missed it when it was aired?

coolfactor
May 17, 2005, 03:40 AM
It'll only succeed if one can download a TV show before it was released.

How can someone download it [legally] if it hasn't been released yet?

BBC is hoping to ride on the coat-tails of iTunes' tremendous success, and even borrowing the elegant naming scheme "iMP"... Apple should'a patented names that start with a small "i", followed by a capital letter. :-)

Getting the technology in place for this service will be a huge hurdle, and Apple is already working on that, so we'll see where this goes.

Applespider
May 17, 2005, 03:55 AM
Or the person who didn't watch it but then heard all their work colleagues talking about it or read about it in the paper.

I'm interested to see how this turns out (and if it would be free to UK IP addresses given the licence issues). The BBC are pretty good about streaming some video/audio anyhow; it sounds more like an expansion of their current offerings than anything wildly new.

Squire
May 17, 2005, 04:22 AM
Maybe somebody that missed it when it was aired?

Yeah, my wife did this 5 years ago. When she missed one of her favorite dramas, she'd just download it a few days later. It's a good idea but not really revolutionary.


Squire

winmacguy
May 17, 2005, 04:58 AM
At least it is a trial step in the right direction.

AlmostThere
May 17, 2005, 06:56 AM
BBC is hoping to ride on the coat-tails of iTunes' tremendous success, and even borrowing the elegant naming scheme "iMP"... Apple should'a patented names that start with a small "i", followed by a capital letter. :-)

Getting the technology in place for this service will be a huge hurdle, and Apple is already working on that, so we'll see where this goes.

I think there is very little coat-tail riding going on here, the two situations are just too different.

Although SJ is head honcho at Pixar, Apple remain firmly out of the content production loop. How many bands have Apple signed to an iTunes music label? When iTV (or whatever) is launched by Apple, they have to repeat the process of all the licensing rigmarole that has held up ITMS in so many different countries.

The BBC's goals are very different. From a UK perspective, their goal is not to profit from the content that they have created. It is the BBC's stated aim and responsibility, accorded to previous DG Greg Dyke, to ensure that the license payers have fair access to the programming that they have funded - Greg Dyke actually wanted the whole archive made available online!

Naturally, this needs to be coupled with some DRM mechanism so that non-licence payers (i.e. Johnny Foreigner) can't just get hold of the content, as these would cost the BBC a significant source of revenue.

Furthermore, iTunes and similar services are based upon a client server model; Apple may have ideas of their own but little published seems to suggest they are going to change tack (links?). iMS, however, aims to leverage peer-to-peer technology in order to distribute large files in a cost effective manner. Technologically, they are looking at a more advanced model than ITMS - how many commercial ventures currently use P2P to distribute content? (You then get a key from the BBC website to unlock the content).

What is even more promising is that this could provide a platform for the content producers to deliver direct. There is no reason why Fox, NBC, ABC, TF1, Canal+ etc. etc. shouldn't use the same platform. TV content is massively popular over BT and this software gives a mechanism to control subscriptions and, as the creators maintain control, they can retain advert revenue by inserting these into programmes (or removing it for a premium subscription). Why would any of these companies want to go through negotiations with Apple (or Real or whoever) when they can take charge of the content themselves. Why go to BT when so content can be obtained faster, legally and at an assured quality level through the distributors own networks? (BT will obviously stay but as with Kazaa now compared to ITMS, it just offers a much lower quality service)

That is not to say that Apple have a tough fight ahead - I would imagine Apple's target market to be movies rather than TV. TV programmes, by and large are associated with channels, movies, like music, are form an amorphous whole (when was the last time you thought about seeing an MGM film or a listening to a Virgin artist but happily turn to Comedy Central or Sky1?) that is well served through the central distribution that Apple offer in ITMS. Secondly, Apple offer the full purchase of music and one would assume movies, whereas TV content is viewed much more as a temporary source of entertainment, better suited to time limited files - especially, as in this case, it is free at point of download.

It'll only succeed if one can download a TV show before it was released.
You can set iMS to download programmes a week in advance, so it acts like a normal VCR, recording content as it becomes available. Think PVR over internet.

Applespider
May 17, 2005, 07:50 AM
You can set iMS to download programmes a week in advance, so it acts like a normal VCR, recording content as it becomes available. Think PVR over internet.

I'm sold on that description! OK... so how do you get to be on this trial! ;)

840quadra
May 17, 2005, 07:56 AM
It'll only succeed if one can download a TV show before it was released. Who's going to want to watch a week-old show?

Me, and many other people that work nights and can't watch TV when at work (well enough tv to keep up with a series).

There are many more examples of why this would be a good idea.

asif786
May 17, 2005, 09:59 AM
I'm sold on that description! OK... so how do you get to be on this trial! ;)

not gonna happen :p

looks like the lovely bbc have decided to leave out mac users:

Macs aren't supported, at least during the trial period. A BBC spokesman told Macworld: "We won't be able to offer the IMP pilot to Mac users during the three month trial, I'm afraid."

i dont blame them, it is a small trial, but still kinda annoying. the bbc tend to be fairly mac-friendly normally.

tek
May 17, 2005, 10:09 AM
the question is... will there be mac support in the final release?

from previous testing phases iMP has been through, it was windows 2000/XP only using windows media 9 DRM.

AlmostThere
May 17, 2005, 10:11 AM
I'm sold on that description! OK... so how do you get to be on this trial! ;)

Don't know but I believe it is Windows only at the moment :-( Good luck trying to figure out the website http://www.bbc.co.uk/imp/ (I assume it is intentionally opaque)

[EDIT]
Broadband users who would like to be considered for a place on the pilot should send an e-mail to imptrial@bbc.co.uk including their name, contact details, age and postcode. from http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2005/05_may/16/imp.shtml (now featuring on /. )

The beeb seems a bit half and half with it's technology developments ... they have some pretty favourable terms for non-commercial development using BBC content (see http://backstage.bbc.co.uk) and develop stuff like this online delivery but then are quite happy to flog all their hard work to Siemens.

AFAICT (can tell) the actual software, certainly the backend, has been developed by a third party, "kontiki", and while the BBC does tend to give non-windows stuff a decent amount of coverage (considering the broad spectrum of readers / viewers / listeners) this particular aspect might be out of their hands.

Overall, I really hope that this system all works well but I guess we'll just have to wait and see...

asif786
May 17, 2005, 10:23 AM
the question is... will there be mac support in the final release?

from previous testing phases iMP has been through, it was windows 2000/XP only using windows media 9 DRM.

considering we all pay the licence fee, dont they have to give it to us? i dont really think it's fair that we should be discriminated against..

obviously we're assuming here, and we wont know till the final release comes out, but the beeb are gonna piss off a whole lot of people if they make this windows only. :rolleyes:

looks like all uk mac users will have to refuse to pay our tv licences :D

shamino
May 17, 2005, 02:47 PM
This is deja vu all over again.

Sherman, set the way-back machine to 1995. Time Warner Cable is trying to roll out their Full Service Network (http://lw.pennnet.com/Articles/Article_Display.cfm?Section=Archives&Subsection=Display&ARTICLE_ID=32013&KEYWORD=Full%20Service%20Access%20Network), promising to bring movies on demand to the masses. After a seemingly successful technology test in the Orlando area, the system failed to even come close to their plan of nationwide service by 1998. The pilot network of 4000 customers worked beautifully (I got a chance to try it out at a demo in Epcot Center at the time) but it obviously couldn't scale to a large network for a price cusomters could afford.

This was 10 years ago. Others have tried the same experiment since then, but obviously, none have succeeded, since nobody is selling such a service. The closest thing you have now is TiVo, which is really just an advanced VCR. You can watch your program "on demand" but only if you schedule it to record the program at its usual broadcast time.

The problem is that if you have 10,000 customers, each watching something different (different programs, or just seeing different parts of the same programs), you're looking at 10,000 streams of video. This is a huge load on the network - much more so than a broadcast network, which only requires one multicast-stream per channel.

As the number of terminals (and you are likely to have more than one terminal per subscriber) increases, the number of simultaneous streams servied by the network has to increase as well. Scaled to the size of a typical cable company's network, you're talking about a staggeringly huge cost.

Today, bandwidth is cheaper (but still not "free", despite what some pundits would have you believe), there are much better compression schemes (like H.264), there's lots of advanced caching tech, and computers are cheaper, but I'm still extremely skeptical when a service provider (even one as large as the BBC) decides they're going to succeed where others have failed.

My prediction is that their 5000-home test network will work great, but it will cost more than planned. I'll be very surprised if they're able to make this a commercial success, even if it is a technological success.

But even if they manage to get the system running without going bankrupt, their plans for DRM are likely to kill it:
Inbuilt digital rights management software is designed to ensure that users cannot keep the programmes for longer than seven days, transfer them to disk or send them to friends.
So, you're going to be able to do less with this content than you can from an ordinary TV broadcast. When something is broadcast, I can record it on my VCR and keep it forever. But with this service, the content will self-destruct in 7 days, even if you keep up the subscription payments.

I understand that they want to prevent piracy. I understand that they don't want subscribers to redistribute the content. But preventing subscribers from keeping what they paid for? Nope. That's going too far.

Customers are not stupid. They're not going to pay extra for a service that gives them less than what you get from a cheap VCR or a (slightly more expensive) TiVo.

Applespider
May 17, 2005, 03:06 PM
The problem is that if you have 10,000 customers, each watching something different (different programs, or just seeing different parts of the same programs), you're looking at 10,000 streams of video.

Except that they're not talking about streaming - they're talking about downloads and using P2P to distribute with a DRM key to access them

They're not going to pay extra for a service that gives them less than what you get from a cheap VCR or a (slightly more expensive) TiVo.

The BBC aren't asking for people to pay extra; at least in the UK where this service will be aimed. They're classing it as another channel for which people already pay their BBC licence fee. They already put some of their key events online - UK viewers could watch the Olympics online via the BBC if the sport they wanted to see wasn't on TV at that point. No extra charge - just the BBC trying to justify their Charter and the continuance of the licence fee in general.

Wai_TungLeung
May 18, 2005, 11:51 AM
It'll only succeed if one can download a TV show before it was released. Who's going to want to watch a week-old show?

People never cease to amaze me... I spent the last 10 minutes thinking over that post while reading the rest of the thread and I still finding it difficult to understand how someone could actually ask that question seriously. I've now convinced myself that this must either be a joke, a good attempt at provoking people or a person whom life is lived out very differently from normal people. :eek:

Yeah, my wife did this 5 years ago. When she missed one of her favorite dramas, she'd just download it a few days later. It's a good idea but not really revolutionary.

True but let us be fair here, no one is going to digitally record University Challenge and distribute it over the web. Hense if I feel like watching last nights episode I can pop over to iMP.

So, you're going to be able to do less with this content than you can from an ordinary TV broadcast. When something is broadcast, I can record it on my VCR and keep it forever. But with this service, the content will self-destruct in 7 days, even if you keep up the subscription payments.

Fair do. It would be nice if I could keep a programme, only a few days ago I had the difficult choice between digitally recording Doctor Who Confidenial or Top Of The Pops where Oasis were performing, if the iMP service was up and running at the time I could re-watch TOTP but wouldn't have been able to keep a copy.

However to be fair people (including myself) tend to watch things once and once is enough. I don't exactly want to keep a copy of University Challenge on my hard drive forever. But it would be nice to have the choice of keeping it.

I understand that they want to prevent piracy. I understand that they don't want subscribers to redistribute the content. But preventing subscribers from keeping what they paid for? Nope. That's going too far.

Customers are not stupid. They're not going to pay extra for a service that gives them less than what you get from a cheap VCR or a (slightly more expensive) TiVo.

*falls out of his seat in surprise*

You what? What subscription? Customers are not stupid? If they try and subscribe to this new service they must be more stupid than a balloon full of air. I mean your post has some good information about past attempts yet you let the post fall apart. Did you seriously read the article? :confused: This is the BBC we're talking about! Oh why bother? The thing that tends to happen in forums is that someone says something strange, someone corrects them, but they never reply back to acknowledge/argue back. :(

shamino
May 18, 2005, 05:41 PM
Fair do. It would be nice if I could keep a programme, only a few days ago I had the difficult choice between digitally recording Doctor Who Confidenial or Top Of The Pops where Oasis were performing, if the iMP service was up and running at the time I could re-watch TOTP but wouldn't have been able to keep a copy.
I realize that most TV shows are not going to be kept. But sometimes, I won't get around to watching for over a week. Like when I set my VCR's timer to record a show while I'm away on vacation. If I get back a week later and don't have time to watch the tape for another week after that, I don't care - the program is still on the tape.

And there are some things I do want to keep for a long time. Like when a band I really enjoy performs on a late-night show.

*falls out of his seat in surprise*

You what? What subscription? Customers are not stupid? If they try and subscribe to this new service they must be more stupid than a balloon full of air. I mean your post has some good information about past attempts yet you let the post fall apart. Did you seriously read the article? :confused: This is the BBC we're talking about! Oh why bother? The thing that tends to happen in forums is that someone says something strange, someone corrects them, but they never reply back to acknowledge/argue back. :(
First off, I don't have personal experience with the BBC, so I'm not going to preface everything I say with "the gang of morons that are going to drive the entire media industry into the dark ages before the end of the year" or whatever you think about them.

Second, I didn't say the BBC wasn't stupid. I said most customers are not.

Sure, people often buy things they don't need, but they're not going to buy expensive set-top boxes and digital recorders if the result is worse than what they already have right now.

Wai_TungLeung
May 19, 2005, 05:18 AM
I realize that most TV shows are not going to be kept. But sometimes, I won't get around to watching for over a week. Like when I set my VCR's timer to record a show while I'm away on vacation. If I get back a week later and don't have time to watch the tape for another week after that, I don't care - the program is still on the tape.

And there are some things I do want to keep for a long time. Like when a band I really enjoy performs on a late-night show.
First off, I don't have personal experience with the BBC, so I'm not going to preface everything I say with "the gang of morons that are going to drive the entire media industry into the dark ages before the end of the year" or whatever you think about them.

Fair point. And I was recently sent a PM telling me about this website that does actually offer University Challange as a download lol! I couldn't believe my amazement at that! Anyway I think once this service kicks off there will probably some brainbox who figures out how to make the equivalent of Audio
Hijack for video. :D