BBC iPlayer not coming to Windows Phone, Microsoft to blame
August 20, 2012 at 19:45 GMT | By John Williams
We have been here before haven't we? A while ago, The Inquirer reported that the BBC iPlayer was "coming to Windows Phone in weeks," only for Pocket-Lint to dash our hopes, telling us the BBC had no plans to launch an iPlayer app for Windows Phone. For the benefit of those outside the UK, the BBC iPlayer is an internet television and radio service and software application, developed by the BBC to extend its former RealPlayer-based and other streamed video clip content to include whole TV shows [Wiki]. Why is it such a big deal? Well, as we have mentioned in the past, official applications are usually an indicator of how much a platform is respected by big institutions in different markets and countries.
The recent iPlayer/ Windows Phone soap opera goes to show how Windows Phone is seen by a big - probably biggest - media player in the UK. A WPCentral reader emailed the BBC asking for information as to their reasons for not supporting Windows Phone and received this reply:
Thanks for your mail. I'm adding [Redacted] -- who is the Head of iPlayer on my team -- in case he has anything to add.
There are two ways we can go about bringing iPlayer to Windows Phone:
1. We can build a full app -- the kind you get in the Marketplace. This is completely bespoke to Windows Phone 7, and is the costliest option because Windows Phone uses technologies unlike those used on any other platform. While Android and Apple also use their own app technologies, the TV and radio programmes themselves can be created once and used across both, so much of the investment is reusable. Sadly this is not the case for Windows Phone. Unfortunately Microsoft have also announced that Windows Phone 8 apps will be different yet again, so any Windows Phone 7 app we make would have to be rebuilt from the ground up for the next version of Windows Phone.
2. We can encourage Windows Phone users to access our mobile web site by opening bbc.co.uk/iplayer from their phones. Unfortunately today there's a bug in Windows Phone that prevents our standards-based media from being played on those devices. Microsoft has been aware of the bug for over a year now, and we're hopeful they'll address it (on Windows Phone 7 as well as Windows Phone 8) so our Windows Phone audiences can access iPlayer.
As you can see, there's no easy answer. I'm optimistic that one or both of the options above will become possible in Windows Phone 8, but that's little help to people like you who are using Windows Phone 7. Nonetheless, hopefully this additional detail helps you understand our thought process.
Thanks again for reaching out.
Programmes & On Demand
Like it or not, the BBC iPlayer - and others such as the Sky Player - are a big deal in the UK. They in effect would afford Windows Phone a free massive advert and PR drive should they start supporting the platform. At present, most BBC and Sky adverts only mention iOS and Android when pitching access via mobile devices. Microsoft need to focus more on these small battles if they are to make some headway in the market share war.
SOURCE: WPCentral VIA: Engadget
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