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The official launch, or "marketing launch", of the BBC's iPlayer is happening on Christmas Day.

A spokeswoman for the Beeb assured us it was a good time to launch because of the all the great content the BBC puts on for Christmas. At least we can all watch the Queen's speech a couple of extra times. The player needs Windows XP or Vista to work, and gives UK residents access to the last seven days of BBC TV content.

The spokeswoman said: "Marketing launch means we'll be trailling the service on TV, radio and posters." She added that the streaming service, for those without Windows XP or Vista, will "hopefully" launch within the next two weeks.

The Beeb's iPlayer project has suffered from controversy over the way it uses Microsoft technology to play content. The corporation hired two ex-Microsoft men, Erik Huggers and Jon Billings, to join its digital media teams. The iPlayer project is led by Anthony Rose, formerly of Kazaa.

The service has been in beta testing since July and busy messageboards reveal some users are having problems with the service. The technical issues pages have 2,984 posts.®

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