Mac users to get iPlayer in 2008BBC to launch download version by end of year

11 February 2008

A screenshot of the BBC iplayer

New iPlayer service from the BBC

The BBC has said Apple Mac users will be able to download programmes from its iPlayer on-demand TV service later this year.

The iPlayer, which was launched last autumn, was initially criticised because programmes could only be downloaded by people with Windows PCs.

The BBC later released a version of the iPlayer which let all computer users watch programmes but only in a web browser.

Now BBC Director General Mark Thompson has said it’s aiming to launch a download version specifically for Macs later in 2008.

Online TV

In a blog posting on the BBC site he explained why the broadcaster had initially decided to launch a service only for Windows users.

‘We chose to begin by serving the greatest number of licence-fee payers possible, and to follow up on that work to extend the service to other operating systems at the earliest opportunity.’

He added: ‘I recognise that to many people’s minds making this service available to only a proportion of users was not the correct decision, and I accept that for some there is nothing I could say to justify this choice. 

'I hope, however, that those people might at least appreciate why the BBC believed that making the service available in the shortest time frame to the greatest amount of users was the most effective and responsible way of serving our licence-fee payers.’

Apple TV

Which? Technology Editor Matthew Bath said: 'The announcement by the BBC Director General Mark Thompson is good news for Apple Mac users, who are currently denied the same access to online content that Windows users enjoy.

'The move can't happen soon enough to ensure that all licence-fee payers, regardless of which PC system they use, have the same access to programming.

'The BBC's Director of Future Media & Technology, Ashley Highfield, also said the corporation could explore delivering iPlayer content with Apple TV, the Mac-maker's foray into online film rentals. All this spells good news for Mac users wanting to view TV over the internet.'