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Cable/Video

Update on iPlayer

NOON -- Time for an update on my experiences with the beta service of iPlayer, the P2P-based on-demand TV service developed by the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) .

A few weeks ago I reported on how frustrating the whole process was, and how I couldn't access or download any content. (See cNothing With iPlayer.)

Well, it turns out I needed version 11 of Windows Media (even though the troubleshooting system told me version 10 was all that was needed), and as soon as we updated that application, the service and downloads became available.

I still have two gripes about the service, though. One, the range of content is still quite limited, but then this is only a beta trial.

More importantly, though, is the time it takes to download the content files. Both programs I downloaded took almost an hour over a decent cable broadband connection. It was so slow that I thought nothing was actually happening, so long did it take to show that just 1 percent had made its way onto my hard drive.

The good news is that the quality of the picture and audio (as you would expect from a file that's playing from your hard drive) is excellent, and the playback tools and user interface are very clear and easy to use.

I am definitely going to use this service. So far I have only downloaded two episodes of a BBC series called Grumpy Old Women, which is much funnier than it sounds.

Unfortunately, no episodes of the equally amusing Grumpy Old Men are yet available. It's possible, though, that after this amount of moaning about the iPlayer, I may well qualify for the next series myself.

— Ray Le Maistre, Resident Grumpy Git, Light Reading

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