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Inside Secure snatches BBC iPlayer downloads from Adobe

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The BBC's mobile iPlayer client, which allows iOS users to download the national broadcaster's programmes for connectionless viewing, is now using digital rights management from embedded solutions player Inside Secure, which should herald the long-promised Android support.

iPhone users have been able to download shows since September last year, and when that functionality was announced, Android support was promised "soon". But the fragmented nature of Android along with withdrawal of Adobe's mobile flash support appears to have made development difficult. Hopefully resolving some of those issues, Inside Secure has been signed up to provide DRM to both platforms. This should mean that Android users will soon be able to watch TV on the tube just as Apple customers can.

Fusion Agent, as Inside Secure calls its DRM platform, is now shipping in the iOS version of iPlayer, and the software is already ported to Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich and above), so support for iPlayer to download onto platforms beyond iThingies should hopefully arrive soon, delivering a good part of the "feature parity" promised by the BBC late last year.

"Thus far we've found ourselves releasing products first on iOS because of the challenges of supporting a variety of Android platform versions and devices," explains the BBC blog posting from December. "We are striving to fill gaps such as mobile downloads and launching iPlayer Radio on Android," but it's not easy... "[s]ince the fragmentation on Android requires more work than a single implementation on iOS, we've also made investments in engineering so Android and iOS can deliver at broadly the same pace."

Having a single DRM platform will help Android users, but it's even better news for Inside Secure, which has struggled to expand into other markets since floating on the crest of excitement about Near Field Communication technology. Inside Secure is a leader in NFC and floated last February at €8.30. Its stocks jumped briefly to €9.20 before starting a steady decline as the NFC revolution stubbornly failed to materialise.

Today Inside Secure shares sit at €2.60, despite the company's cost-cutting and focus on other businesses - including its DRM portfolio. This all makes the BBC win particularly important. ®

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