Finally, streaming media that isn't YouTube!
Not a day can go by it seems without the BBC improving its iPlayer service even more. The latest pending update to be unveiled, though, is definitely one that should be of interest to many – the iPlayer is coming to the iPhone and iPod Touch.
There is, as always, a small caveat in that the service won’t be accessible over EDGE as the connection speed is too slow given the length of most programmes. However, as long as there’s a WiFi connection in range, users of Apple’s latest and greatest devices will be able to stream recent BBC broadcasts at will.
This might not be as restrictive as it sounds, as the BBC has a deal with The Cloud allowing users access to the BBC website and iPlayer for free at any hotspot. While having to hunt for an access point is still not as convenient as EDGE, it does at least mean the service can be used on the go, as opposed to in the users own home – a restriction which would probably negate the usefulness of the service.
The news comes alongside the announcement that the BBC is looking to encode video into the newer H.264 codec as well as Flash video currently used on the streaming site. As a more advanced codec, H.264 allows for better compression and thus could enable the BBC to offer higher quality video than currently available.
Rumour also has it that HD downloads might make their way onto the iPlayer at some point, although there isn’t any timescale for such a move. As it is, the new iPhone and iPod Touch versions of the iPlayer should be available ‘within the next few weeks’ so keep an eye out.