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BBC's download iPlayer goes titsup

Kontiki FAIL

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Updated Official BBC iPlayer downloads are out of action today because of a failure in one of the system's back end databases.

Reg readers who use the Windows-only desktop application noticed performace problems earlier this week. Now the whole system, which is based on Verisign's Kontiki peer-to-peer distribution platform, has been taken offline.

Where an option would normally offer a download for each show, the iPlayer site now simply reads: "Sorry, downloads are not available."

Auntie sent us this statement:

Downloads are currently unavailable on BBC iPlayer. This is due to a technical failure in one of our databases that administers the peer-to-peer network supporting BBC iPlayer. We are working with our partners to reinstate downloads as soon as possible.

A spokesman confirmed Kontiki is to blame and said there was no indication of when a fix will be found.

The glitch caps a bad week for the BBC's push into TV downloads, but the spokesman said this latest hiccup is nothing to do with the current battle with hackers over DRM-free downloads via iPhone streams.

It's emerged that hackers across all operating systems are merrily grabbing high quality DRM-free downloads from the H.264 streams recently launched for iPhone and iPod Touch owners. The BBC swiftly moved to close the loophole, fearing the wrath of rights holders.

Of course, that fix was broken in a matter of hours and iPlayer developers look set to enter an unproductive arms race that neither they nor the viewers want. ®

Update

The service is back up, for now. The Beeb said to expect intermittent downtime while engineers do testing.

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