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BBC to share iPlayer technology with BT and ITV

Broadband set top box proposal for on demand TV

BBC iPlayer interface

You can download and watch shows on iPlayer up to seven days after they air on TV

If proposals go ahead, then the BBC may share its iPlayer technology with BT and ITV to create broadband set top boxes that show on demand TV alongside other Freeview channels.

Such set top boxes may become available to consumers in 2010, and are likely to provide viewers with both standard and high definition.

Other third parties are likely to be involved with these developments, which could result in on demand services from Channel 4 becoming available alongside the BBC iPlayer and the ITV Player services.

These future developments will result in making on demand material more accessible on TVs. It is likely to offer viewers a broader selection of films, radio and interactive content as well as the popular catch up service that has made iPlayer so popular.

Michael Grade, executive chairman of ITV, said: ‘This proposal will bring the catch up from the PC to the TV set in your living room, and all for free.’

Dave Holes, Which? researcher, said: ‘Best Buy Freeview set top boxes are very easy to use, and this new product should make on demand services, like the BBC iPlayer, more accessible to consumers who don’t own PCs or are unfamiliar with iPlayer portals’.

iPlayer portals

Existing iPlayer portals include the Apple iPhone 3G, the Nokia N96 and the Samsung Omnia. It has been announced that the service will become available on the Sony Ericsson C905 and the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 next week. BBC iPlayer is also available to Virgin Media customers and can be watched online on any PC or laptop.

Other proposals by the BBC include the sharing of research between networks, and cooperation between BBC Worldwide and Channel 4.

Which? has around 200 LCD and plasma TV reviews, and more than 30 Freeview and Freesat set top boxes reviews online. There is also a useful advice guide explaining the BBC iPlayer service. Information on the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1, the Sony Ericsson C905, the Nokia N96, the Apple iPhone 3G and the Samsung Omnia can be found in our mobile phone review.

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