BBC to launch iPlayer for iPhone on 27 July

MUMBAI: BBC’s on-demand TV service BBC iPlayer for Apple’s iPhone will launch on 27 July 2008. The announcement was made by BBC director of future media and technology Ashley Highfield.
"BBC iPlayer is a free catch-up service for UK license fee payers," said Highfield. "Your favorite programs from all the BBC’s network TV channels will be available to download over the internet, and watch on your PC without advertising for up to a week after transmission."
BBC Vision director Jana Bennett said, "This is a significant moment as it heralds a new era when viewers will have the freedom to watch programs from the BBC’s linear TV channels when they want."
"It’s a revolutionary service which offers audiences more value, because from now on they never have to miss out on their favorite programs – or those that they didn’t previously have the opportunity to try."
At launch, once viewers have accessed BBC iPlayer at and have downloaded a program, they will have up to 30 days in which to watch it. Once watched, the program file clears itself up by deleting itself.
BBC iPlayer is far more than a standalone application. Later this year, it will become widely accessible across, as well as via links from YouTube and a number of other potential distribution partners (subject to the BBC Trust’s new syndication policy and management’s guidelines).
Users will be able to watch promotional clips of programs, and link back to BBC iPlayer on, enabling them to download the full program. The BBC is also in discussion with a wide range of potential distribution partners, including MSN,, AOL, Tiscali, Yahoo!, MySpace, Blinkx and Bebo.
Highfield said, "We are committed to making it as easy as possible to use BBC iPlayer. Developing a version for Apple Macs and Microsoft Vista is absolutely on our critical path."
"We’re also committed to making it available on the television screen, which is why we are delighted to be working with Virgin Media towards a launch on cable later this year. We are hopeful that other TV platforms will follow soon after."
"Our vision is for BBC iPlayer to become a universal service available not just over the internet, but also on cable and other TV platforms, and eventually on mobiles and smart handheld devices."
"It underpins our Creative Future strategy, to maintain the BBC’s relevance among all audiences in the digital age."
BBC iPlayer is currently in closed environment testing amongst some 15,000 people. It will go live to the general public in open Beta on 27 July, allowing the number of users to increase over the summer in a controlled manner, before a full marketing launch in autumn.
In time, extra features will be added to BBC iPlayer, such as streaming on-demand (allowing users to watch a program straight away), series stacking (which allows users to download episodes from selected series retrospectively) and the highly successful BBC Radio Player.
At launch, BBC iPlayer will include a display settings toolkit for the hard-of-vision and sign language for the hard-of-hearing; subtitles and audio description will be rolled out in the coming months.
BBC iPlayer has been created and developed by the BBC’s Future Media & Technology division in partnership with Siemens and Red Bee Media.
The iPlayer application is also compatible with the Apple iPod Touch device.