BBC One and Two available to watch 'live' onlineFirst UK mainstream channels to be live on the net

25 November 2008

BBC logo

BBC logo

BBC One and BBC Two will become available to watch 'live' on the internet on Thursday 27 November 2008.

The channels will be available to watch on the BBC website and on the BBC's iPlayer service. The move was preliminarily scheduled for launch next year, but has been brought forward as part of a 12 month trial.

Jana Bennett, director of BBC Vision, said: 'Licence fee-payers will be able to watch BBC programmes, live, where-ever they are in the UK on their computers and other portable devices.'

BT and Tiscali ISP

However, ensuring TV licence ownership of all viewers of BBC One and BBC Two online would be a very difficult policy to enforce, and would require the cooperation of the internet service providers (ISPs).

Two of the major ISPs, Tiscali and BT, have already stated that they would not cooperate with the BBC and TV licensing organisation unless they were compelled to do so by a court order or new legislation.

If the ISPs were to assist the BBC and TV Licensing organisation in enforcing this law, then the ISPs would have to provide details of who watches the live web streams. A spokesperson for Tiscali described this level of cooperation as being 'legally and morally unacceptable'.

TV licence not needed for BBC's iPlayer

BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC News, CBBC and CBeebies are already available to watch 'live' online, and also require a TV licence. The BBC iPlayer service does not require the viewer to own a TV licence as licences are only required for people who watch or record programmes as they are broadcast. The simultaneous broadcasting of programmes on TV and on internet streams has been called 'simulcasting'.

Michael Briggs, principal Which? researcher, said: 'This is a major step forward in the convergence of technologies. TV streaming on the internet and internet services on TVs are areas that companies are beginning to focus on. The popularity of the BBC iPlayer is a testament to how popular this technology can become.'

The BBC iPlayer now attracts one in four consumers for at least an hour each week, according to recent research agency YouGov.

LCD and plasma TVs vs laptops and PCs

Michael Briggs added: 'As things stand, we don't expect to see the superior picture quality of LCD and plasma TVs being abandoned in favour of laptops and desktop PCs. Instead TVs like the Panasonic Viera Cast range are being adapted with internet usage in mind'. TVs with exclusive internet features are known as IPTVs, or internet protocol televisions.

Which? has a report on more than 180 LCD and plasma TVs, including the Panasonic Viera Cast. Which? also has a report on laptops and a report on the best internet broadband packages.

For more information on the BBC iPlayer's growing popularity read our recent news story on the iPlayer service. And for detailed advice on what the iPlayer service can offer, visit our iPlayer advice guide.

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