BBC gives mixed signals on Mac compatibility

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Two bits of interesting news today from the BBC. Firstly, BBC content will be available free of charge from some wireless hotspots in the UK. And secondly, thanks to a deal with Adobe, it looks like Mac and Linux users will be able to use the iPlayer to download programmes, something that only XP users have been able to do.

Except…

But Mr Highfield [the BBC’s director of Future Media and Technology] said the BBC had not committed to offering the iPlayer to Mac and Linux users who want to download and keep content on their machines for a limited period.

He said: “We need to get the streaming service up and look at the ratio of consumption between the services and then we need to look long and hard at whether we build a download service for Mac and Linux

“It comes down to cost per person and reach at the end of the day.”

Erm, no. It comes down to equality of access for a service that is funded by a license fee. Something that is enshrined in the BBC’s charter.
I pay the same £10 charge every month for the BBC as an XP user. Saying it comes down to cost per person is like saying Sony TV users are a different breed from Samsung TV users. The BBC (and Highfield specifically) have changed their tune on this before – telling reporters that they couldn’t offer Mac users a download service because of Apple’s ‘restrictive’ DRM system while plumping to use Microsoft’s platform-specific and therefore even more restrictive system.

Why has the BBC got someone so obviously ignorant about IT matters as the head of ‘Future Media and Technology’?

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