BBC iPlayer Beta Testing To Begin This Month

BBC iPlayer’s long-awaited beta testing is finally expected to start this November.

According to Rahul Chakkara, Controller of TV Platforms at BBC FM&T, the MHEG-5 compliant version of the interface will begin Beta deployment “by end of November” on the Freesat platform.

I expect to start a Beta deployment by the end of November using capable Freesat devices.

As we had suspected, it seems that BBC might have been holding back to introduce the service across both the Freesat and Freeview platform at the same time, though Freesat is still expected to be the first to offer in HD.

The DTG (Digital Television Group) supported by BBC R&D, has extended the MHEG-5 standard to use the interaction channel for handling Internet video. This standard has been adopted by Freesat and incorporated into the DBook 6.1 used in Freeview HD devices. Finally now the resulting MHEG-IC service will allow both platforms to access additional AV content via the Internet. This will include BBC iPlayer of course, as well as other VoD (Video On Demand) and Catch-up TV services, plus much more in the future including real-time programme interaction.

61 thoughts on “BBC iPlayer Beta Testing To Begin This Month”

  1. @ Ade.

    No HD and poor sound? Oh dear. I’d say it’s still some way off being ready 🙁

    How much are you allowed to discuss?

  2. Well – they did say there would be problems at first, so I am not surprised. I am expecting the quality and the content to improve over the next weeks.

  3. i got my wii update with free iplayer channel today…bang on the stroke of midnight.
    It’s v good…has a cinematic quality to the picture, and is comparible to me streaming it through my telly from my pc. wirelessly streamed via wii from my router

    Who needs a humax/freesat version…although i’d be interested to see the difference in quality on my humax pvr and me wii.

  4. Hi all

    I also dowbloaded the Wii iPlayer channel yesterday and frankly, I am really pleased with it.

    OK, they have simplified it all to accomodate the very low memory of the platform, but – it works and very well too.
    Picture quality very god, no dropouts or even pauses [which we seem to get occasionally on the Virgin Media version] and the sound is spot on.

    I will be very interested to see the development and hopefully much better Freesat version [hopefully before Xmas, but not holding my beath!] but have the Wii to at least catch up on the radio section which is not available on the Virgin Media system.


  5. Hi James

    It appears the iPlayer will only be available to HD boxes. Any brand of HD box should be able to access the iPlayer, but not SD equipment, as I understand it.

  6. Well – having used the iPlayer now for a month, things have settled down. The quality of the service has improved as the quantity of available programmes.

    The iPlayer has two options to download – standard and high quality. Even the standard download is quite acceptable. I’ve just watch ‘Paradox’ in HQ and to be honest, apart from a very few seconds of pixels cropping up, it was just like watching it live.

    Early on there were a few clips with sound problems, but this appears to have been addressed.

    You can, of course, pause and FF & RW the clip, and it only takes a few seconds to pick up from the new section and resume the play.

    I watched ‘Life’ as I knew it was shot in HD and the quality of the iPlayer was, as expected, not able to do it justice – but, it’s early days yet and you never know!

    It is certainly better watching iPlayer on my LCD panel in the lounge rather than on my laptop.

    I can see the iPlayer on Freesat certainly being something I would be using on a regular basis.

    Recording to the hard drive might now just be reserved for programmes not available on iPlayer, programmes deserving to be seen in HD and stuff to keep.

    All in all, I think it is another useful option.

  7. Powerline adapters cause chronic radio interference and came to market in the UK via a loophole in the law. Many ‘battles’ have appeared across the web between radio users, enthusiasts, EMC Engineers and users of PLT products, & the fact remains that PLT / PLN / PLC in its current format does not comply with the essential requirements of the EMC Directive: 2004/108/EC and therefore the UK Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations (2006) – which states that devices MUST NOT prevent radio equipment from operating as intended.

    Current Powerline adapters do not and cannot comply with EN 55022 for Conducted Emissions; all Powerline products which have been subjected to lab tests thus far, have failed the limits set by international agreement by a huge margin. The adapters belong to two main categories governed by the ‘alliances’ of various manufacturers and principally comprise the HomePlug Powerline Alliance (HPA), the Universal Powerline Association (UPA) and more recently with the advent of gigabit PLT, the HD-PLC Alliance.

    On the HPA website, careful browsing allows one to locate a pdf intended for internal use which is a presentation entitled, “HomePlug Executive Seminar, Setting Standards In Motion”. Page four of this document is titled:

    “EMC Issue with EN 55022″ here the HPA state the products do not comply:-

    “Safety, immunity and harmonics are correct but almost all PLC devices pass over the CISPR 22 class A, B limits SO FAILED THE TEST and we could not generate (directly) the DoC (Declaration of Conformity) needed for Europe.”

    The text which follows this explains how to circumvent this embarrassing problem!

    If you currently use one of these products in the UK, you may receive a visit from OFCOM should a complaint be registered about radio interference in your locality. These devices can cause terrible problems and have been observed over 1km from the installation. Calculations based on the extensive work undertaken by NATO indicate that there is now significant and increasing risk of disruption to Civil Air safety radio systems. Let us hope YOU aren’t on one of those planes…

    At a meeting in March 2010 at the House of Commons, attended by Adrian Sanders (MP), Clive Corrie (Ofcom), Colin Richards (RSGB) and Alan Warner (EMCIA) Ofcom admitted there is a problem and are looking at the Wireless Telegraphy Act to include interference from networks.

    Many PLT manufacturers used non-legitimate documentation as the basis for their Declaration of Conformity, citing CISPR/I/89/CD for a technical construction file reference. This document was acrimoniously withdrawn from the IEC’s website in 2003 having been discredited. Also, this document was a Committee Draft (signified by the suffix CD) and was thus never a Standard which could be (nor should have been) referenced.

    As an engineer, I strongly discourage the continued use of these products and in particular, for those who are relying upon the technology to achieve a home or small business network, there is a realistic chance you may be required to ditch the devices and make other arrangements, at your own cost and with no possibility of recompense.

    BT have discovered to their significant cost, the perils of using these adapters as part of their BT Vision product (IPTV), where, in cases complaints have been made, BT had to replace the equipment with a hard-wired network or expensive Ruckus Wi-Fi.

    Read the truth about Powerline products with test results from highly accredited laboratories at

  8. I was updating my Grundig GUFSAT01HD box when during the process i had a temporary loss of power. After i managed to restore the power and electricity was back up, i tried to turn my console on, but with no luck. It would no longer turn back on. If anyone has an idea or opinion on how to go about fixing this problem, I would be grateful to hear it. Thank you in advance. Gerald …

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