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Flash-based iPlayer is go

Simmer down, zealots

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UK Linux and Mac fanboys can afford to turn a lighter shade of puce today, as the BBC has opened the shutters on the Flash-based version of iPlayer, its seven day TV catch-up service.

It's also set to prove popular with Windows users who don't want the hassle of the buggy, DRM-locked download iPlayer.

The service has been swiftly put together over the last few months following a troubled beta launch for the flagship download client, and complaints from non-Windows licence fee payers that they were unfairly frozen out. The Flash streams can be viewed through any browser with Flash plugged in.

You'll need the latest version of Flash to watch in full screen, though the quality of the streams perhaps isn't up to that anyway, and your boss will see what you're doing.

You can check it out here. From what we've seen of it, it's very fast, decent enough quality, and won't swallow 100 per cent of your CPU's processes, as many find the download client's Kontiki P2P component does.

As we've said in the past, we reckon it'll prove a lot more popular than the download client, which is an unfortunately clumsy and anachronistic front end for a project with a bigger and laudable goal of on demand access to BBC programming via computers, set-top boxes, and mobile devices.

We noted a potentially significant development for broadcasters who aim to distribute their shows over P2P networks earlier this week, when Virgin Media began including uploads in its traffic management policy.

If other ISPs follow suit, viewers may be reluctant to use software that forces membership of a network that could quickly lead to their bandwidth being throttled. ®

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