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BBC To Create Internet Protocol TV Standard

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the five-years-too-late dept.

The Internet 128

Robadob sends word that the BBC has been granted approval for Project Canvas, "a partnership between the BBC, ITV, BT, Five, Channel 4, and TalkTalk to develop a so-called Internet Protocol Television standard." The approval came with several interesting requirements: "Project Canvas must always remain free-to-air but users 'may be charged for additional pay services that third parties might choose to provide via the Canvas platform, for example video on demand services, as well as the broadband subscription fees.' Access to Project Canvas must not be 'bundled with other products or services' and 'listing on the electronic program guide will be awarded in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner." In addition, a preliminary draft of the tech specs for the project must be published within 20 working days, in order to allow broadcasters and manufacturers of set-top boxes to adopt the new standards. Significantly, "Other broadcasters and content providers must have access to the platform."

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THIS IS NOT A PROBLEM !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32708552)

This is a good thing for all concerned !!

Note to BBC (3, Insightful)

gillbates (106458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708600)

You might want to consider this very thing was done with the likes of MPEGII-TS, ISDB-T, DVB-H etc... more than 5 years ago. You don't need to invent a new standard, but merely use the ones already in existence. And these standards are already open, implemented, and well understood.

Nobody wants a BBC-only internet tv.

Re:Note to BBC (2, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708618)

Nobody wants a BBC-only internet tv.

Sounds like the BBC does (or certainly doesn't mind).

Re:Note to BBC (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32708666)

Nobody wants a BBC-only internet tv.

I was going to say that one of the unspoken requirements is that it be made available only to UK citizens who have paid their TV viewing license fees, but it turns out I was wrong. About the unspoken part that is.

"The BBC Trust has concluded that Project Canvas will deliver significant public value for licence fee payers," said BBC trustee Diane Coyle.

Re:Note to BBC (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32709778)

So they're going to pour tax money into DRM, even though DRM has been proven, both theoretically and practically, not to work? I kind of feel cheated. I thought the licence fee was intended for the production of quality television.

Re:Note to BBC (1)

jvillain (546827) | more than 4 years ago | (#32710930)

This will be open to any one running a Microsoft Windows 7 device service pack2. Using IE 9 as their browser using Silver light on i386 hardware with some external proprietary libraries installed.

You've punked us twice there Beeb. We won't fall for it again.

Re:Note to BBC (2, Informative)

mister_dave (1613441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708748)

From El Reg: [theregister.co.uk]

The problem? There's already an industry standards body for British digital TV, and the BBC is a member - along with Pace, Microsoft and Sky. The DTG (Digital TV Group) publishes the "D Book", the product it says of 4,000 man hours of work developing detailed technical specifications for digital broadcasting standards. The Sixth Edition of the D Book came out in March.

By contrast, Canvas specifications are © of the BBC. The DTG asked the BBC Trust this year to release from BBC copyright crucial parts of the Canvas spec including the presentation engine, metadata, IP content delivery and many other key parts of the spec

.

Re:Note to BBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32708808)

already open

which is exactly what's "wrong" with it.

Re:Note to BBC (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32709038)

I have no idea why this is modded +5. The standard is not about replacing video codecs, it is about a new platform. It's really a replacement of MHEG rather than MPEG.

"You don't need to invent a new standard, but merely use the ones already in existence."

There aren't good standards (modern ones) that deal with the problems at hand.

The change will make developing applications for IPTV's far, far easier by shifting to a better known and used language, as well as a far more powerful processor (there are specifications for exactly how powerful a box must be for it to call itself a canvas box).

"Nobody wants a BBC-only internet tv."

No, that's why this isn't a BBC-only production.

Disclaimer: IAMA dev in the BBC working with these boxes.

Re:Note to BBC (1)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 4 years ago | (#32709994)

Surely any device that can understand MRSS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_RSS) can do the job? Consider an MRSS feed a "Channel" that can contain Video, Audio and Image items as well as links to other channels. From (http://www.reelseo.com/mrss-rss-mrss-video-syndication/):

 

RSS and MRSS have changed the way video distribution works. The specification can be used by anyone. The process is very simple. Just add the MRSS extensions to your RSS feed and you can deliver video content to your audience without forcing them to check on the website every now and then.
What is more, you can add advertisements (both banner and discrete text) in the feeds. With advertisements in place, the content generator can earn some money and this incentive allows him to improve the quality of video content.

I just hope that DRM'ed licenced feeds are only allowed on Canvas and that user mashed up cc-licenced WebM/Ogg-Vorbis Channels are also able to be easily added to the "EPG" by the click of a web link.

Oh, and MRSS has been around since 2004, why has this taken so long and why does the BBC seem to think this will cost hundreds of millions of GBP to re-invent?

Correction (1)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 4 years ago | (#32710020)

Idiot me, should have been:

I just hope that not only DRM'ed licenced feeds are allowed on Canvas

Re:Note to BBC (1)

cardpuncher (713057) | more than 4 years ago | (#32711484)

As far as I understand it, it's not an open standard at all in that it's not going to be available, even to purchase, without signing some sort of agreement on restricting its implementation.

Much as you don't get access to the Freesat or Freeview HD Huffman tables without signing up to the BBC (sorry, "industry"), restrictions on the products you can produce.

I realise it isn't entirely the BBC's fault that it's got a political mandate to create the fiction of an independent "meeja" industry in the UK, but it is disingenuous to pretend that it's promoting open standards or even innovating when all it's seeking to do is to carve out a chunk of money for self-appointed luvvies.

Re:Note to BBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32711784)

For Freeview the Huffman license is with the BBC only. They wrote it and are the people to negotiate with.

The Canvas project is far more than one of standards, it is a complete power grab for the whole device user interface.

Re:Note to BBC (2, Interesting)

jwdb (526327) | more than 4 years ago | (#32712052)

I have no idea why this is modded +5. The standard is not about replacing video codecs, it is about a new platform. It's really a replacement of MHEG rather than MPEG.

Because none of the three examples he listed - MPEGII-TS, ISDB-T and DVB-H - are video codecs. All are ways of packaging A/V streams together with program and other types of data for transmission. This is an integral part of any TV distribution platform and will definitely be part of what the BBC is working on.

Re:Note to BBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32709430)

Nobody wants a BBC-only internet tv.

They're not planning a BBC-only internet tv but you're wrong anyway. I do my tv watching through iplayer, which effectively gives me a BBC-only internet tv. Works for me.

Re:Note to BBC (4, Informative)

Alsee (515537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32709732)

A quote from a few months ago: The BBC has indicated that third party content owners are seeking to ensure that reception equipment will implement ... copy protection. Because [these] requirements are not mandatory, representatives of content owners have asked the BBC to take steps to ensure that reception equipment will implement the specified content management arrangements.

The "standards issue" is that certain parties want the government to define and impose a DRM system and for the government to make it MANDATORY for all hardware to include and enforce this DRM system.

The guardian.co.uk story contains a link to dtg_bbc_trust_canvas_response.pdf [dtg.org.uk] were they say they want a new Digital Rights Management expert working group (diagram on page 2), and where they want a "high integrity receiver conformance regime" for receivers. That is a fancy way of saying want all receivers to the securely welded shut and they want circuitry and software securely locked down to prevent device owners or third party services from unscrewing the box to upgrade them in unapproved ways. And most of all it means strictly prohibiting any open platform such as MythTV or or a generic GPL Linux PC reception where people can modify the software. On page 10 they have a section explicitly titled "Conditional Access and DRM" where they explicitly state their concern is for Canvas to ensure the inclusion of DRM components in receivers.

The EFF has a good article [eff.org] discussing how it's the same thing that went on in the U.S. with the same people demanding the "Broadcast Flag" and demanding the FCC to make it mandatory for all receivers to include a government imposed DRM system on the entire public. There were the same demands for "high integrity receiver conformance regime" to lock down the hardware and software against modification by owners or third party services.

-

Re:Note to BBC (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 4 years ago | (#32710000)

...ITV, BT, Five, Channel 4, and TalkTalk...

Doesn't sound like BBC only.

MP4 does it all (2, Interesting)

StandardCell (589682) | more than 4 years ago | (#32710044)

The MPEG-4 Part 12 standard or MP4 container is capable of nearly everything that one needs from a standards perspective to set up any kind of streaming A/V media. The metadata boxes/atoms are totally customizable and extensible even to the point of custom device application delivery. All major CODECs are supported within the container. It can be muxed in real-time (with some trickery). All one needs to do is choose the audio and video CODECs and to define the custom metadata if/when necessary, gear your tool set to your choices, and you're done. You can even do DRM and live ad splicing if you want and your system supports it. There's a reason Adobe uses it in their .f4v variant, and why online streaming content providers and even now Microsoft in Expressions are using MP4 and its variants.

MPEG TS is higher in container overhead than MP4. Vudu happens to use it in their service, but it's a cut down version and was used primarily because the set of targeted devices for playback used it(i.e. TVs and STBs). I'd never choose it if I was starting any kind of streaming media service or defining a standard. There are even plenty of tools from companies like Rhozet and Digital Rapids to be able to batch re-mux and re-encode any content from MPEG TS to MP4.

By the way, you're all over the map with your standards. ISDB-T and DVB-H are broadcast standards that encompass much more than the media container specification, like the modulation scheme and receiver-level RF tests. MPEG TS is a container format defined in MPEG-2 Part 1 and is completely agnostic to broadcast standards and that physical medium, even though it is used almost exclusively in that domain.

Re:Note to BBC (1)

rawler (1005089) | more than 4 years ago | (#32710168)

Ehm, no?

MPEG2-TS, muxing format. Does nothing whatsoever for internet media-delivery, except could possibly be shoehorned into being the payload muxer, although better options exist. (Native RTP-muxing, MP4 ...)

ISDB-T, are you high? It's a broadcasting-specification, and -T stands for terrestial, that is, developed for fixed terrestial antenna transmission.

DVB-H, again, physical transmission-technology for Handhelds, only with related technologies such as DVB-IPDC even touching some kind of Internet service. And then still operator-controlled, as opposed to the proposed standard which focuses on direct Producer(BBC) -> Consumer (your STB or Computer).

If anything, this sounds more like HBBTV, except that too is broadcaster-centric.

Re:Note to BBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32710278)

We have lots of standards, but the only one in the public domain is using flash. The technology is one thing, but its going to be in the public domain which is huge.

Aha - so that's what it is (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708614)

I'm working with a contractor whose contract is ending at the end of this month. He's had a couple of calls about jobs from agencies whose clients are "large media companies" about a massive ongoing project. I guess this is what it is. He's a Linux specialist too, so I guess there'll be a lot of Linux experts needed in the coming months.

Re:Aha - so that's what it is (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#32710238)

Of course. There's only ever the one project going on...

Standards must be open. (5, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708632)

Standards need to be COMPLETELY open, even to those who don't want to follow your rules, if you want them to do well. Restricting this to companies that wish to play by your rules is a great way to ensure that others will create a competing standard and basically nullify any real forward progress this might have.

Also, this line is screwy:

"In addition, a preliminary draft of the tech specs for the project must be published within 20 working days, in order to allow broadcasters and manufacturers of set-top boxes to adopt the new standards."

What the hell kind of timeline is that? What broadcaster or manufacturer is saying "We're making new boxes in 20 days, so you had better have the draft ready by then." That's a ridiculous amount of time for such a massive standard. In addition, a preliminary draft of the tech specs for the project must be published within 20 working days, in order to allow broadcasters and manufacturers of set-top boxes to adopt the new standards.

Unless, of course, the standard is so generic as to be useless. If so, let me write it for you:

Equipment or software rendering this service must support video with synchronized audio delivered via internet protocol.

There, saved you 20 days.

Re:Standards must be open. (2, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708752)

The BBC does have a lot of clout. If the BBC doesn't support a UK TV standard then that standard is not going to catch on in the UK.

And the BBC is a big international name. If the rest of Europe is looking for a solution they're quite likely to go for the same one simply for compatibility as long as it's a reasonably decent system.

Re:Standards must be open. (4, Informative)

mister_dave (1613441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708872)

If the rest of Europe are looking for a solution, then OpenIPTV [openiptvforum.org] is likely to be attracting their attention.

Re:Standards must be open. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32710254)

Perhaps. It looks like it may be possible to use the same specification for Canvas as well.

The way I see it though, is that ability to use common equipment for transmission and receiving has so many benefits that if the first major broadcaster chooses a specific platform then all others would be wise to follow.

Re:Standards must be open. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32708836)

Standards need to be COMPLETELY open, even to those who don't want to follow your rules, if you want them to do well. Restricting this to companies that wish to play by your rules is a great way to ensure that others will create a competing standard and basically nullify any real forward progress this might have.

Tell that to our favorite bastard format, MP3.

Re:Standards must be open. (2, Insightful)

jadin (65295) | more than 4 years ago | (#32709906)

Makes a whole lot more sense if you read it as:

"Any changes to the standard must be published in a preliminary draft within 20 working days, in order to allow broadcasters and manufacturers to adjust to the new changes."

And yet, I see zero evidence that they intended anything other than what they wrote. Oh well, Just a thought I had reading your post.

Re:Standards must be open. (2, Insightful)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#32711898)

Standards need to be COMPLETELY open, even to those who don't want to follow your rules, if you want them to do well.
How about HDCP? Getting the stuff needed to implement the standard requires you to agree to enforce thier rules. That hasn't stopped nearly all HDTVs and a lot of monitors from supporting it.

BBC, ITV, C4 and Five are the main free to air broadcasters in the UK and all of them have ondemand services on computers. For a TV or STB vendor selling in the UK access to ondemand TV from all the major free channels is a pretty attractive feature and one i'm sure they would be prepared to sign a fairly restrictive agreement to get.

And once the installed base of hardware starts supporting the system I'd expect it to spread to broadcasters in other countries.

Re:Standards must be open. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32711908)

The technical standard has in theory been under development for over a year. You can see on the BBC Trust website the submissions and approvals to continue technical work, this is full project go ahead.

Having said that its far from clear whether the spec is finished (I'm in a relevant industry but my employer has wisely steered clear of the project). I hear rumours that there are regular walkouts but I think it will largely be irrelevant by the time it is done.

Last summer the talk was of initial products being available now.

The thing to understand about Canvas is that it is the product of the BBC's Sky envy. They are jealous of the UI control and software updatability that Sky has and they want the same thing which will be under the control of the Canvas Joint Venture (which will mean under BBC control because they will do most of the technical work).

why create standard when fucking faggots ISP could (-1, Troll)

Ruede (824831) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708640)

just activate multicast and be done with that topic? oh wait that would allow anyone to stream............

Re:why create standard when fucking faggots ISP co (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708652)

Haha, from resistance to IPv6 to BT's WBC/UBC wholesale pipe pricing scheme to Apple turning W3C into his charioteer, the last 10 years of the Internet's development has been little more than content and hardware providers trying so hard to take away the notion that Internet is a network of networks of connected peers.

I wish comcast used a standard like this (2, Interesting)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708672)

I mean look, my Tivo is basically a computer and I can use it to watch youtube. However the one thing I really want to do is use my tivo to watch on demand stuff. You'd think all they'd have to do is write an app to use the "IPTV" standard and then have my Tivo connect to one of Comcast servers to request an on-demand program. I mean seriously, my Tivo is hooked up to the ethernet, that's hooked up to the internet through Comcast so I'm inside their network and I'm using their cable cards on top of it. They can't have a stupid server that would let me watch stuff on my tivo and instead they've got to hack together some stupid switched video system to implement on demand?

Waste (3, Insightful)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708674)

So the BBC have found a new way to waste my BBC tax money. This is not their business.

As it's the "British Broadcasting Corp" (4, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708730)

I rather think it is precisely their business. The idea that the BBC should be restricted to radio broadcasting is ridiculous. I guess that when FM started, people like you would have suggested that the BBC be limited to AM broadcasting. And when the first video was transmitted, that they should be restricted to audio only.

Re:As it's the "British Broadcasting Corp" (5, Interesting)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 4 years ago | (#32709014)

Using your example, the BBC and other UK broadcasters have been pushing to get rid of FM in favour of DAB radio [wikipedia.org] (digital audio broadcasting). DAB has terrible audio quality, terrible error correction, and pretty bad reception compared to FM. The rest of the world is dumping or not implementing DAB and implementing DAB+ instead. DAB+ is a more up to date CODEC which is more efficient, better audio quality, better error correction, cheaper to transmit than DAB, etc. etc. So the BBC are trying to get people to accept inferior technology (just like the DVB-T "Freeview" system).

The BBC have long since given up the pretense of quality transmission, the last decent innovation of theirs being the contribution to the NICAM 728 project [wikipedia.org] .... Stereo transmission of audio in the analogue TV signal....

Re:As it's the "British Broadcasting Corp" (2, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32709476)

Your example does't help you. DAB was not developed by the BBC. If it is a failure, then perhaps thats a good reason for the BBC developing it's own standard this time, rather than adopting an existing standard. It certainly not any kind of argument that the BBC shouldn't be in the standards development business.

DAB has been under development since 1981 at the Institut für Rundfunktechnik (IRT). In 1985 the first DAB demonstrations were held at the WARC-ORB in Geneva and in 1988 the first DAB transmissions were made in Germany. Later DAB was developed as a research project for the European Union (EUREKA), which started in 1987 on initiative by a consortium formed in 1986.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Audio_Broadcasting [wikipedia.org]

Re:As it's the "British Broadcasting Corp" (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 4 years ago | (#32710418)

DAB has terrible audio quality, terrible error correction, and pretty bad reception compared to FM.

And compact discs have terrible audio quality, terrible error correction compared to vinyl...

The rest of the world is dumping or not implementing DAB and implementing DAB+ instead.

The BBC began broadcasting DAB in 1995. DAB+ wasn't released until 2007. Maybe everyone everywhere is making a mistake, and we should be holding out for DAB++ in 2022?

Re:As it's the "British Broadcasting Corp" (1)

mister_dave (1613441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32710820)

I think Ofcom are to blame for the DAB choice. [theregister.co.uk]

Despite DAB+ solving DAB's numerous problems, Ofcom has scuppered any hopes of seeing it anytime soon. Channel 4 has made a serious investment in digital radio, and wanted to use DAB+ for stations on its national DAB multiplex, due to launch later this year. But light-touch regulator Ofcom wouldn't let them, and Channel 4 was ordered to use DAB instead.

Re:As it's the "British Broadcasting Corp" (4, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32710870)

DAB has terrible audio quality,

DAB use MPEG-1 Layer2 audio at any bitrate. DAB is indistinguishable from CD audio at 192kbps. Admittedly, many DAB broadcasters IN THE UK use lower bitrates, but that's a simple question of how much money each broadcaster wants to spend on their digital transmissions...

terrible error correction,

See above. The level of error correction is selectable. If it's not enough, complain to the broadcaster that they need to select a higher level.

and pretty bad reception compared to FM.

I expect this is mostly related to the above. Though I will note that DAB uses a slightly higher frequency than analog FM. However, DAB+ will do the same, so there's no relevant difference there.

The rest of the world is dumping or not implementing DAB and implementing DAB+ instead.

Much of the rest of Europe is indeed broadcasting in DAB right now. The adoption rate was just so slow that after a couple decades, something better came along, and the installed base is small enough not to hold up migrating to something entirely non-compatible... Would you advise never adopting anything, and just sitting around hoping something better will come along?

And why are you complaining about DAB, and not about DVB? After all, you're stuck with MPEG-2 codecs, instead of the newer and better H.264... Shouldn't all of Europe have held-up on that one, waiting for MPEG-4?

DAB+ is a more up to date CODEC which is more efficient, better audio quality, better error correction, cheaper to transmit than DAB, etc. etc.

DAB+ uses HE-AAC, which does a better job of compressing audio to somewhat lower bitrates, without as many apparent artifacts. At high bitrates (192kbps) HE-AAC is no better than MPEG-1 Layer2. In-fact, maximum sound quality will be slightly worse (but probably not enough for the general public to care).

The error correction isn't really inherently much better, either. The only reason they changed it was because the old method that worked on CBR wouldn't work on VBR... The only reason you can say it's improved is that they require more of it, and that is only to make-up for deficiencies in HE-AAC versus MPEG-1 Layer2.

DAB+ is no cheaper to transmit than DAB. It's really the same technology on the back-end there. In fact the added ECC overhead would make it a bit more expensive. The only thing that will make it "cheaper" is the ability to use lower bitrate HE-AAC audio, and therefore smaller channels.

However, any way you look at it, you're really stuck at the same problem... Broadcasters were interested in cutting costs, so they reduced quality to just tolerable levels. Even if DAB+ was adopted in a day, what makes you think they won't do the same thing, and reduce quality to barely tolerable levels?

I don't blame you for having no clue, though. This is pretty much what happens when people get their information from heavily biased articles Wikipedia, of which the DAB article is one of the worst I've ever seen. Of course there are other interested parties who stand to make a lot of money on DAB+, who are also loudly spouting an impressive amount of misinformation, sadly much of it from within the EBU.

Re:As it's the "British Broadcasting Corp" (1)

Paul Jakma (2677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32709432)

The problem is that the BBC will use public money to develop DRM, and the BBC has the clout to ensure it gets deployed. Management in the BBC at the moment are very much sold on the idea of "content protection".

Re:As it's the "British Broadcasting Corp" (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32712214)

The idea that the BBC should be restricted to radio broadcasting is ridiculous

How do you justify a coercive monopoly without a natural scarcity?

Re:Waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32708772)

And who are you to decide what is and isn't their business?
BBC do a lot more than TV and radio, a LOT more.
They can do whatever the hell they want with that money, the government won't stop them, and neither will you and a few "vocal" people.

Quite frankly, i love the idea.
I hate having a TV as it is, i would much prefer just downloading whatever shows i like on the day of release and any time i choose after that period.
I'm happy BBC are pushing this, and even happier of all the other companies who are on-board, especially channel 4 and TalkTalk.
Not so sure about BT though. To be honest, i just see them on board to attempt to sabotage it somehow since it seems to compete with their tech. They lost all respect i had for them after all the previous times i overlooked it. When they infected people with that tracking stuff, that was it.

Now if only BBC managed to push for digital switchover happening quicker and freeing up some of the airwaves for super-fast wireless networking.

Re:Waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32708948)

And who are you to decide what is and isn't their business?

Since when his tax money was used for it. There is an easy solution though -- privatise it. It's halfway there as it is with BBC World.

Re:Waste (0, Troll)

mister_dave (1613441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708880)

Anthony Jay suggested [cps.org.uk] that the BBC should be limited to one national TV channel, and one national radio station. I agree.

Re:Waste (2)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708958)

Yeah, 'cos we all need a channel stuffed full of soap operas, reality TV shows and sensationalist documentaries all pandering to the lowest common demoninator.

Fortunately, the BBC can have BBC 2, 3 and 4 all of which serve a more 'niche' marketplace of cultural, artistic, youth and intellectual programming. I don't think forcing the good stuff you find on there and replacing it with ad-driven crap would be beneficial to society.

Same goes for Radio - Radio 4 is the ultimate (check it out, fellow nerds). If we had 1 radio station, it'd be the mass-market pop and talk that is radio 1. That wouldn't be good at all.

Re:Waste (0, Troll)

mister_dave (1613441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32709124)

There is no need for a taxpayer funded TV broadcaster to provide the nation with TV programmes of celebrity chefs, celebrity DIY, celebrity dancing, celebrity interview shows, or another US cops and robbers TV import. Which is what we currently get from the BBC.

If the BBC was limited to one national TV station, and one national radio station, it would focus their attention on quality. Providing that which commercial broadcasters could not.

Re:Waste (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32709266)

Where does this bizaro other-universe idea that what the BBC produces is crap, yet what the likes of ITV & Sky produce is some sort of golden age child of television? Hour for hour the BBC produces vastly better programming than either ITV or (*snigger*) Sky, and even Ch4 aren't looking too smart these days.

I can't take seriously anyone who suggests we should get rid of the license fee, or scale back the BBC, and then go on to use ITV and the Murdoch media as an example to follow. It's nothing but pure ideologically driven bullshit.

Re:Waste (2, Informative)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32710066)

We get all that crap from the BBC because it has a mandate to produce TV to appeal to the mass market - ie, if it suddenly dropped Eastenders, viewing figures would drop too and people (like you perhaps) would say that the BBC was pointless as nobody watched it.

They can balance the crap that the sheeple want to watch with the ability to fill programming with other good stuff. The commercial TV stations do not bother - they just want viewers eyeballs for their adverts.

Re:Waste (1)

mister_dave (1613441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32710662)

I don't accept that they do "balance the crap", and I think it's wrong that British people who refuse to pay for a TV license to finance "the crap" can face a criminal prosecution.

Re:Waste (1)

nogginthenog (582552) | more than 4 years ago | (#32709872)

Spurned on by your comment I just tuned into Radio 4. 'The Archers' is currently playing. Cheers for that, the Archers is L337!

I'll stick to LBC thanks.

Re:Waste (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32710026)

be glad it wasn't "You and Yours" :)

Re:Waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32711156)

If we had 1 radio station, it'd be the mass-market pop and talk that is radio 1. That wouldn't be good at all.

Actually Radio 1 is only mass-market pop during the daytime. In the evenings and at night they play a much wider/more experimental range of music and don't follow the top-40 playlist straitjacket. See here [comparemyradio.com] for more info. Apparently Radio 1 has played about 4,500 tracks in the last month of which 1,200 were unique - strip out the day-time top 40 rotation and that suggests a pretty wide selection is being played.

Live TV is so passe (5, Interesting)

mrsam (12205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708726)

What's really needed is some sort of organized access to downloadable broadcast content. I rarely watch live TV. I really don't care when the shows are on.

Right now, if you want a particular show, you have to figure out where to download, if it's even available for downloading. But usually, all you get is a postage-sized streaming window.

Many new TV sets coming out today can grab video contents from a small collection of online content. This needs to be scaled up, so that people can simply ditch the old-style cable and satellite monopolies. I want to turn on my TV, and select from a choice of live streams, from the news channels, or available list of archived shows.

Oh, and since most folks have multiple sets, it would be nice to have a standard by which your server in the basement can retrieve the shows on your behalf, and your TV sets fetch the video from it, instead of having all your TV sets waste bandwidth downloading the same show.

Re:Live TV is so passe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32708762)

Actually I find iPlayer to be a really really good piece of software, it works blindingly well. I will actually use it over downloading the tv show where available.

I don't get your argument about postage-sized streaming window: iplayer allows full screen (sd doesn't look horrific on my laptop) or you can often stream the show in 720p, which is good enough for most purposes.

Re:Live TV is so passe (1)

nogginthenog (582552) | more than 4 years ago | (#32709884)

Struggled a bit during the world cup England games though. Not like that's a problem anymore...

Re:Live TV is so passe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32708818)

and i also want a pony.

Re:Live TV is so passe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32710560)

http://www.thepiratebay.org/

There you go.

This, by the way, is why no one gives a shit about copyrights. It's far easier to just pull down an illegal copy from someone than it is to actually pay for it.

Thoughts from the USA (5, Funny)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708732)

I thought BBC had already standardized on Bittorrent :-O

Re:Thoughts from the... UK (1)

BumpyCarrot (775949) | more than 4 years ago | (#32711176)

Crazy, I thought the US had too!

set-top boxes available to access iPlayer and ITV (1)

pg133 (307365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708766)

Why all the negative comments, sounds good

"The service will see a range of set-top boxes available to access on-demand TV services such as iPlayer and ITVplayer. "

Re:set-top boxes available to access iPlayer and I (2, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708830)

As a U.S. BBC fan this doesn't sound good AT ALL, actually. You can almost guarantee that somewhere in there is region control... the exact same problem U.S. fans have with iPlayer.

Region control on the Internet is a step BACKWARDS.

Re:set-top boxes available to access iPlayer and I (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32708858)

I wish to region control my job before gets sent abroad ;)

Re:set-top boxes available to access iPlayer and I (1)

Pazy (1169639) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708882)

I dont usually agree with Region Control at all but in the case of the BBC iPLayer it makes a little more sense. The BBC is funded by the Tax Payer so everyone in Britain gets free access to iPlayer, though one could argue we deserve more access to the BBC's content, since we are paying for the content. This is a different situation than the company who produce, for example, "The Corbert Report" limiting the free streaming on their website to US only since they are getting funded by the Ad revenue of the viewers which non-us viewers could potentially be a part of unlike the BBC which is essentially "pre-payed" content so to provide free access to it worldwide would be unfair for those people who have paid to access it. Though I do think BBC Worldwide should do some sort of Streaming service with ad's like Hulu and Youtube's "TV Shows".

Re:set-top boxes available to access iPlayer and I (3, Interesting)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708926)

I understand the issue with the License, but there are big fans (like me) in the U.S. that would gladly pay for a British TV License so they could see their favorite shows at broadcast. The fact is the BBC (and some of the government bureaucracy) so far has simply just cut off other fans around the world when the technology is there.

Plus, as someone else has mentioned already, region encoding is simply an artificial way for broadcasters to keep their advantage from the time when NTSC to PAL conversions cost thousands of dollars and physically had to be shipped to the U.S. There is no reason for the time lag any more...

Re:set-top boxes available to access iPlayer and I (2, Informative)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708992)

sure, but if you could embed paid-for content in there too, the BBC Worldwide (or BBS America) could then legitimately sell the content to you. Currently, the standards don't allow for that which means they have to block you entirely.

Re:set-top boxes available to access iPlayer and I (0)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32709134)

I understand the issue with the License, but there are big fans (like me) in the U.S. that would gladly pay for a British TV License so they could see their favorite shows at broadcast.

No, then it wouldn't be a BBC-style licence.

In order for the US to pay the licence, you would need to force ALL americans to pay the licence, so that the ones who liked BBC stuff could watch it. The others could go fuck themselves and pay up the cash anyway.

Your proposal sounds more like paying a subscription for BBC content, which is what I, and others who wish to scrap the licence fee, want.

Re:set-top boxes available to access iPlayer and I (1)

MakinBacon (1476701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32710032)

This is a different situation than the company who produce, for example, "The Corbert Report" limiting the free streaming on their website to US only since they are getting funded by the Ad revenue of the viewers

The problem isn't that Comedy Central doesn't think they can make money by showing ads to foreigners; the problem is that in they have given other TV channels the exclusive rights to broadcast shows like "The Colbert Report" in foreign countries. If they started streaming their shows for free to countries where the rights to broadcast them belong to another company, they would be violating the terms of the licensing agreements. The only company there is to blame for not streaming the Colbert Report in your country is the channel that airs it on TV.

Re:set-top boxes available to access iPlayer and I (0, Flamebait)

caluml (551744) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708892)

the exact same problem U.S. fans have with iPlayer.

You guys started it with your stupid DVD region encoding, and releasing films over here weeks or months after they are released in the US.
Sauce, goose, gander, etc?

Re:set-top boxes available to access iPlayer and I (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708932)

That was corporate decision making. Don't get me confused with the corporate wankheads. I'm not in favor of THAT, either.

Re: Region control ... a step BACKWARDS (2, Interesting)

Peet42 (904274) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708998)

Maybe that lesson will sink in to bloody American video hosting sites that region-lock the clips people post in Slashdot and Techdirt. There's nothing more annoying than a post to the effect of "Look at this - it's AWESOME!!!!" above a black box saying "This video is not available in your area". What *is* the point of region locking a trailer? I can understand region locking a whole movie, even if I don't agree with it, but locking people out of a trailer is just plain perverse.

Re: Region control ... a step BACKWARDS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32709422)

What *is* the point of region locking a trailer?

Its all the mindless robots in marketing & advertising.
They have loads of useless stats that tells them things like a certain story
will appeal more to males aged 18-25 in one region and 25-30 in another or
that adding a bit more action/blood/loud noise/side-boob will appeal more to
certain areas. Most media produced these days is so bad that it survives mostly
on hype/bullshit and marketing. Thats why things like the Wolverine leak affects
them so much. If people review things based on the content and not the special
effects it rarely ends well.

Re: Region control ... a step BACKWARDS (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32710954)

There's nothing more annoying than a post to the effect of "Look at this - it's AWESOME!!!!" above a black box saying "This video is not available in your area".

Region locking is nothing next to all web video being locked-up in Flash format, which anyone not using Windows/Mac/Linux on x86 (or just can't subject themselves to the insecurity) is locked-out from. This even though there are many open source players that would handle the video just fine if it was simply "embed"-ed in the page, rather than using some SWF app as a front-end to everything.

I think your priorities are a bit off... There are far more important issues at hand.

Re: Region control ... a step BACKWARDS (1)

Peet42 (904274) | more than 4 years ago | (#32711440)

I think your priorities are a bit off... There are far more important issues at hand.

Of course, you're right. It's far more important to make sure that the 1% of users on non-standard hardware have the opportunity to see the video than that the rest of the world gets to see it.

Re: Region control ... a step BACKWARDS (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32712442)

Of course, you're right. It's far more important to make sure that the 1% of users on non-standard hardware have the opportunity to see the video

You'll find the majority of computers in the world are not x86 compatible. Remember ARM? You know, that thing in your cell phone, DVD player, toaster, etc.?

And even with x86, Adobe simply doesn't provide a plugin for many OSes.

And on platforms where it does, there are innumerable legitimate reasons for people to refuse to install it.

than that the rest of the world gets to see it.

It's perfectly clear what your problem is. Your only concern is what YOU get out of it, and are perfectly happy to be short-sighted about it all.

Re:set-top boxes available to access iPlayer and I (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 4 years ago | (#32711258)

There's a reason why there are region locks. It is because iPlayer is there to support the UK citizens, as it's their money being spent producing the programmes. Yes - it's free for them online, but they've already paid for the shows with taxes.

swarming for live streams (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | more than 4 years ago | (#32708938)

I prefer on-demand content for my TV shows, for which BitTorrent is the perfect solution. For sports live streaming is required, as I came to realize with the football[1] World Cup, and there is no good open standard today. I hope GoalBit [sourceforge.net] gets momentum, but so far only proprietary applications[2] have some live content available (mostly copyright infringing channels from asia).

I feel really guilty about wasting all that bandwidth with that Flash streaming crap.

[1] football: the sport played with the feet, not hands
[2] e.g.: Veetle, Stream Torrent, SopCast, TVAnts.

And of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32709000)

It will most doubtlessly be region-locked

Standards from the BBC (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 4 years ago | (#32709094)

or should I say, Standards brough to you by the BBC? My answer is no, don't do it. They are pro DRM and proving to side with the likes of the RIAA and MPAA and similar. I don't want DRM being part of a standard at all! If anything, standards should be developed by indpendent working groups, not by corporations with corporate interests. Independent working groups ensure that standards are open and I am thankful that Wireless N was developed this way. When companies develop standards, we get patents and closed source "standards." Allowing corporations to develop standards lead to the rise of Cisco as a dominant, veritable monopoly in computer networking. While I like the BBC, do I want to be dominated by it? No.

Re:Standards from the BBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32709584)

Standards brough to you by the BBC? My answer is no, don't do it. They are pro DRM and proving to side with the likes of the RIAA and MPAA and similar.

Thanks for your fudspasm.

The BBC is answerable to the public interest and that includes competition. To suggest they are pro-DRM or that development of BBC protocols will limit competition is naive at best, at worst dishonest. If you have examples of the BBC 'siding' with the RIAA/MPAA please provide them, otherwise you're just trolling.

Re:Standards from the BBC (1)

brain159 (113897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32709790)

See the BBC's recent requests to OFCOM to be allowed to DRM the FreeviewHD EPG data and require Feature Breakification of receiver hardware in order to be given a license to unlock it.

That's pro-rightsholder and anti-consumer.

QED.

Re:Standards from the BBC (1)

Paul Jakma (2677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32709918)

I have a number of BBC documents obtained via FOI requests where they talk about the need for "content protection" and/or "authentication", which they've been applying to iPlayer (they use "SWF verification" with Flash, and - it seems - SSL/TLS authentication for their HTML video iPlayer). See the BBC tagged articles on my blog [wordpress.com] for the documents and some comment.

oh ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32709136)

...the bbs is in the internet? lol... looks like i've never had to care... xD

PC users liable for TV licence? (5, Interesting)

phil holden (897733) | more than 4 years ago | (#32709448)

I do not pay a TV licence. I do not own a TV. About once a year there is a program that everyone is talking about that I would like to see. I emailed the BBC to ask if it was legal for me to use iPlayer if I did not have a TV licence. They said this was perfectly legal, a licence is only needed if I owned a device capable of receiving live broadcast quality TV. They said I would only need a TV licence for my Internet PC if the BBC started live streaming the signal to the Internet. I am guessing there are a good number of people who do not have a TV and do not pay licence fee because they do not like what the BBC produces. It is important for us to be able to opt out of 'being able to receive' live BBC TV without having to disconnect from the Internet. I know this announcement is about on demand content but the format may pave the way for live Internet broadcasts. If the BBC make it 'free' to access what they may really mean is they are making all UK internet users liable for a TV licence.

Re:PC users liable for TV licence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32709712)

You only need a license to watch "live" TV. That means that if you watch the simulcast iPlayer streams, you'd need a license, but if you only watch the on-demand content, you do not. The same applies to television sets, but is a bit more complicated, because someone else would have to record the show for you to watch on your television (you can't record it yourself, because the recording device would be a device capable of receiving live television).

Re:PC users liable for TV licence? (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32709718)

> PC users liable for TV licence?
Yup. Last year, the Danish broadcaster (DR) was very happy to see a new bill passed, that makes every household required to pay the full license fee (~£300/year) if they have at least one of:
- a television (even if used only with a C64; if it "can" receive a signal, it is assumed to do so)
- an internet connection of 265kbit or faster (apparently, that's all you need to watch best-quality live tv; I wouldn't know, it only works on Windows, and they only offer a few shows)

Yes, you read that right -- if you have a 3G phone, you're eligible. Congratulations!

Re:PC users liable for TV licence? (1)

brainiac ghost1991 (853936) | more than 4 years ago | (#32709740)

You actually don't need to pay a license fee if you own a TV, as long as you don't use it to recieve live broadcasts (IE, you just use it for DVDs/Videos/Games Consoles). With the internet, you can use iPlayer as long as you don't use the live streams and it will be the same with this new protocol, unless new legislation is passed (which I doubt, especially not with the conservatives holding the most power at the moment)

Re:PC users liable for TV licence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32710248)

...as long as you disable it from being capable of receiving live broadcasts....

There you go.

This includes removal of the power to the receiver.

There may be a push to force licensing on internet connection unless the bcc moves to advertising based funding. I stopped listening and watching bbc produced content when the structure became identical to the advertising base channels. The difference being that all the adverts were for bbc product.

I was more bothered by the format of constant repetition of trails and interruption of the content I wanted to see/hear with big slices of what was going to happen in the the content I hadn't seen/heard yet.

Naturally it could end up with a license charge and advertising if the bbc fancies itself as a pig with a snout in two troffs.

In the mean time its time to move on to the alternative net and leave the main stream to its 'new media' play ground.

Re:PC users liable for TV licence? (1)

brainiac ghost1991 (853936) | more than 4 years ago | (#32710440)

Nope, you do not need to disable it from being capable of recieving live broadcasts

You don't need a licence if you don't use any of these devices to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV - for example, if you use your TV only to watch DVDs or play video games, or you only watch programmes on your computer after they have been shown on TV. If this is the case, please let us know, as this helps us to keep our database up to date and means you won't receive the standard letters we send to unlicensed addresses.

from the TVLicensing website. No mention of disabling it, and the law doesn't state it either. All you'd really need to do is to have your TV detuned.

Re:PC users liable for TV licence? (1)

Artemis3 (85734) | more than 4 years ago | (#32709926)

Imagine that, having to pay "fees" for watching public TV... Talk about backwards.

Re:PC users liable for TV licence? (1)

alext (29323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32710426)

What, they should pay you?

BBC (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 4 years ago | (#32709830)

They really waste too much money thinking about things other than the terrestrial TV service.

We pay money to own a TV capable of receiving over the air TV, not for websites, IPTV or other pet projects.

what this is (3, Interesting)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 4 years ago | (#32709848)

Just to clarify, since the description isn't exactly clear, basically they're doing for IP TV what they did for free-to-air digital television with Freeview [wikimedia.org] .

That is, bundling it together for convenient free access on a cheap box to go under the TV.

Like Freeview, this is not "a BBC project", but a coalition between all the major broadcasters in the UK plus a few others on the technology/infrastructure side. Again like Freeview, a company (apparently "YouTV" is most likely) will be set up to manage it and each broadcaster will have a share and board representation. BBC will probably take lead, because they initiated it and because the other broadcasters trust it more than they trust each other.

They have stated that it will be an "open standard", but no, not "open" in the sense of what /. would call open with respect to internet standards. They mean open in that any manufacturer can make the hardware and relatively light editorial controls over standards of the TV on it (no, don't expect channel 4chan to be on there). That probably doesn't matter much though since this is a TV box-set thing: consider it more a relatively open consumer product rather than a relatively closed internet standard.

Personally I think it's about time. Just like they did with Freeview (and iPlayer, and well, quite a lot of TV/radio throughout history), the BBC have sat back, given capitalism the first opportunity, saw the lacklustre efforts going nowhere then stepped in to get the job done. It's really quite absurd that a non-commercial entity is consistently the one pushing media technology forward in the UK with any enthusiasm, and even more ridiculous that they are the one that comes across as consumer-focused. Don't get me wrong, I still think they do things around the time I would expect a non-profit "me too" organisation would, what is strange is that capitalism isn't already there. Nearly all the traditional media companies seem to just crap their pants at the sound of the word "internet".

Not sure exactly where this leaves the cable and satellite operators though, what with this + Freeview HD all that infrastructure is starting to look redundant.

There's some apparently independent wiki-type site with lots of info here [projectcanvas.co.uk] .

Re:what this is (1)

mister_dave (1613441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32711330)

It's really quite absurd that a non-commercial entity is consistently the one pushing media technology forward in the UK

The BBC get a £3 billion subsidy from the British taxpayer.

Re:what this is (1)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 4 years ago | (#32712174)

No it does not.

Re:what this is (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32711990)

No it is really nothing like Freeview.

Freeview is a marketing organisation for Digital Terrestrial broadcasts in the UK.

The D-Book is the standard collaboratively created for these broadcasts and it is managed by the DTG.

Canvas intends to dictate most details of the receivers and OWN and CONTROL the application level software and UI.

The Freeview device market is highly competitive with a wide range of products available. TVs, recorders, DVD recorders, combination IPTV devices and probably a few more I haven't thought of. Also MythTV will work fine with such systems.

Canvas will be a choice of about 4-5 different manufacturers devices that will vary by hard disk size and maybe one or two very minor features (plus maybe a couple provided by the IPTV providers). The UI will be common and may change at any time at the Cavas JV's control.

The BBC is the best! (2, Funny)

gavron (1300111) | more than 4 years ago | (#32711072)

I'm so glad that the future "Internet Standards" will be put together by the BBC. I hope they get good input from the MPAA, RIAA, BSA, etc.

Good things we don't leave Internet Standards in the hands of those pesky idiots at the IETF, NANOG, or vendors like Cisco, Juniper, et al.

I was going to say more but I think I'll go write a Broadcasting Standard.

Ehud
Tucson
P.S. Please don't mod me down. It's my birthday.

The BBC have turned into a joke (1)

horza (87255) | more than 4 years ago | (#32711948)

This is the BBC that developed the open source DIRAC codec, talked about open source, then proceeded to create a Microsoft-only iPlayer restricted by country IP and based on h263? If somebody is judged on their actions rather than their words, the BBC are not to be trusted.

Phillip.

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