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Carefully, Correctly Wrong

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BBC: No Change on Internet Streaming Fail [Jan. 8th, 2012|07:03 pm]
Carefully, Correctly Wrong
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[mood |cynicalcynical]

In June 2010 the BBC published a consultation on streaming technologies. For people like me who support open formats and eschew proprietary software such as Windows and Flash, this was a good opportunity to propose a model in which the BBC does not attempt to develop and deploy proprietary software to a necessarily limited range of devices, but instead provides open interfaces to its content using open formats, which could be used under certain license terms (such as not allowing the content to be manipulated in ways that didn't make it clear it was BBC content).

The original consultation result was supposed to be published in "early 2011" IIRC; the website for it is broken so I can't double-check that. I noticed recently that it was published in November 2011, after the provisional findings came out in January. And of course, it's grim reading. The BBC will go on developing shitty in-house software for a fraction of available platforms (seriously, have you tried using the PS3 iPlayer application? Appalling.) rather than letting the ingenuity of the Internet provide great interfaces to appropriately-denoted BBC content. There would be uproar if the BBC restricted broadcast of its content to BBC-brand single-vendor TVs that only worked in some houses but not others, but streaming to BBC-brand single-vendor proprietary software which only works on some computers but not others is apparently OK.

Along with the news that Lovefilm are switching from Flash to Silverlight, with Windows-specific DRM which excludes even GNU/Linux users able and willing to use proprietary Flash, it's a grim time for freedom lovers and Windows-eschewers to access content legitimately.

I'd love to pay content creators for the film, TV and music I consume. Not out of any legal obligation, just because I think it's the right thing to do. But there's increasingly less point in me having a TV license (since I can't watch broadcast TV), or a LoveFilm subscription (since goodqueenmolly can't watch films on her laptop where she's most comfortable, particularly when her CFS is bad).

For shows that aren't broadcast in the UK at all, I've taken to torrenting them at broadcast time and just buying the DVDs when the region 2 box sets come out. Piracy doesn't just beat legal acquisition of content on price, it beats it on convenience too. Given the dearth of practical options for UK TV and movies, I may adopt this model for BBC content and movies - though then I'll end up with a bunch of DVD boxes that I need to keep somewhere!