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iPlayer finally makes friendly with Mac and Linux

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The BBC has finally released a desktop version of iPlayer that works with both Mac and Linux computers.

Auntie said yesterday that fanboys, who could previously only stream BBC programmes, can now download iPlayer Desktop as well.

iPlayer Desktop, the Corporation’s seven day TV catch-up service, was developed in conjunction with Adobe and was written in the company’s AIR technology, said the Beeb.

The downloadable media player, which is based on Verisign's Kontiki peer-to-peer distribution platform, was made available yesterday and is currently in beta. The BBC plans to release a final version in February next year.

The launch coincided with Adobe’s release of the Linux edition of AIR 1.5 rich internet app, which was already available for Windows and the Mac. So UK residents who want to try out the iPlayer Desktop will first need to install AIR 1.5 and then get the trial version by signing up to be an iPlayer Labs tester.

The iPlayer landed in July 2007, but its launch was marred with controversy as it was only initially available for Windows XP users.

Licence-paying viewers, the open source crowd and even the BBC Trust kicked up a major stink about the Beeb's lack of foresight over its decision to make the service only available to XP fans, thereby freezing out Mac lovers across the land.

This time last year the BBC finally responded to demands for the service to be made available to everyone in the UK by offering a Flash-based version of iPlayer.

But it’s taken the Corporation 18 months to release a desktop version of iPlayer, which many will doubtless view as a bit of a poor show.

The Windows-only version of the iPlayer hasn’t been without its problems either. Many have complained that the download client’s Kontiki P2P component swallowed 100 per cent of a CPU’s processes when running the DRM-locked, downloadable media player.

So it’ll be interesting if similar gripes will be heard from all you fanboys and gals out there. Get to it people. ®

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