BBC planning mobile iPlayer for iPhone

Apple iPhone 3.0 update could be key

The BBC could be planning a dedicated Apple iPhone iPlayer using the new features found in Apple's iPhone 3.0 Software Update, according to a BBC Twitter feed.

Jason DaPonte, managing editor of BBC Mobile, chatted on the bbccouk Twitter feed at the weekend answering questions about iPlayer for mobile devices. "What a neat experience," DaPonte wrote on his blog. "Really great to have the direct conversation with them, even if some are a lot more technically minded than I am. Thank goodness for my colleagues helping me with the tough tech questions!"Last week saw the BBC add iPlayer support for a range of new mobile devices including the Nokia E71 and Sony Ericsson W705, W715 and W995 Walkman phones.Responding to one iPhone-related question DaPonte replied: "We use standard web technologies for our streaming. We're looking at whether we can make that work with the 3.0 iPhone software."

Apple is releasing the much-anticipated iPhone 3.0 Software Update this week to coincide with the launch of the new iPhone 3G S.The public broadcaster uses H.264 video and AAC audio to stream iPlayer content although it currently isn't possible, due to Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions, to download BBC content to iPhones and iPods. Apple's iPhone 3.0 Software Update adds HTTP streaming, which has the potential to bring in push downloads of TV shows, as well as significantly faster loading speeds.DaPonte added that OMA DRM, used by mobile content providers to protect content, was still the best solution for the BBC at present. "Talked to David Madden and OMA 2.0 is the most suitable right now and don't forget we're on iPhone and other platforms."DaPonte answered a range of mobile related questions including future compatibility with Google's Android operating system. "Re mobile BBC iPlayer on Android, we see smartphones as key and want to be on as many as possible but I can't comment on specific dates."Some social networking features may also be developed for the iPlayer DaPonte said. "We're looking at what social features will give you best experience in conjunction with PC BBC iPlayer. It's exciting!"

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Nick Spence

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