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iPlayer to tart up Freesat

Beeb and ITV square up to Sky

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iPlayer, the BBC's promiscuous media delivery software, will be available on Freesat within a year, the operator hopes.

Incorporating iPlayer and Kangaroo - the commercial version of iPlayer that's backed by ITV and Channel 4 - doesn't pose a huge technical challenge, Freesat's commercial development manager Rhys Jones told us today. But he acknowledged that it will place a further burden on British ISPs.

"The bigger concerns are with ISPs and capacity issues," said Jones.

Not 'arf.

As Jeremy Penston predicted here a year ago, two hours of HD-quality video delivered over an LLU network costs the operator £2.10. A punter who watches 25 hours of HD-quality TV a month consumes 448 GB of data. So ISPs will face a bill that ramps up faster than Ashley Highfield's expenses.

Since Freesat is a non-profit joint venture that's forbidden from subsidising anyone (not even the dish installers), the chances of you getting High Def shows over broadband through iPlayer are not great. But you should be able to get something: Freesat has specified that set-top boxes must have an Ethernet port. As yet, none of the models announced so far are equipped with Wi-Fi.

So far, the BBC has made iPlayer available on Virgin's cable service, the Wii console, and the iPhone/Touch, as well as PCs.

Freesat launched on Tuesday - we had a peek at it today, and very nice it looks too. Look out for our hands-on report tomorrow. ®

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