BBC iPlayer rejects open source plugins, takes Flash-only path

Be safe: Use Adobe content protection, kids

The BBC has quietly updated its hugely popular iPlayer with a verification layer that closes the door on open source implementations of RTMP (real-time messaging protocol) streaming, The Register has learned.

The Beeb applied the update to its online video catch-up service on 18 February, just four days after Adobe Systems penned a corporate blog post about its “content protection offerings”.

The tweak means that free RTMP plugins offered by the likes of the XBMC community – whose code is based on the GNU General Public Licence v2 – can no longer stream iPlayer content. […]

Reg reader, Tom Rouse, who alerted us to the SWF verification tweak to the iPlayer, wondered if the BBC was simply satisfying the demands of Adobe’s content licence desires.

"It would seem that this move is likely [to] impact users of platforms not supported by Flash, with an unsatisfactory implementation (e.g. too resource intensive for the platform, with video tearing, etc.), or those who just wish to use an open source player," he said.

"Ironically, third party utilities that download files (which presumably the verification is there to prevent) still work fine. It is possible that this move will actually increase the occurrence of downloading files which will not be time limited, or torrenting of copyrighted material."

Meanwhile, Adobe’s product manager Florian Pestoni pushed out a Valentine’s Day missive on 14 February that outlined the proprietary software maker’s "content protection offerings" for what he described as a "key tool that can be used to monetise premium video online."

The firm’s Flash Media Server has a number of content protection features that includes support for the contentious SWF verification that effectively locks down the Beeb’s iPlayer in Flash.

In other words, "unauthorised" video player applications will no longer get a look-in.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/24/iplayer_xbmc_adobe_swf_verification/

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