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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 July 2007, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
iPlayer faces petition pressure
Scene from EastEnders
Popular shows such as Eastenders will be available for download
An e-petition on the Downing Street website has called on parliament to stop the BBC launching its iPlayer to a Windows-only audience.

More than 10,000 people have signed the petition which calls for the service to be made compatible with other operating systems such as Linux.

The BBC's on-demand TV service launches as a trial version on 27 July and will only work with PCs using Windows XP.

Other versions are in the pipeline, according to the BBC.

Platform neutral

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
iplayer service
Operating system: Windows XP SP2
Browser: Internet explorer 6.0 or above
Media Player: Windows Media Player 10 or above
Net connection: Broadband

A version for Apple Macs could be available in autumn, with versions for Windows Vista and mobile devices to follow, the BBC has said.

It will go live to the general public in open beta on Friday, allowing the number of users to increase over the summer in a controlled manner, before a full launch in the autumn.

Speaking at the launch of the service, director of Future Media and Technology at the BBC Ashley Highfield said: "I am fundamentally committed to universality, to getting the BBC iPlayer to everyone in the UK who pays their licence fee."

He added: "This is the approach we have always taken but we have always started with the platform that reaches the most number of people and then rolled it out from there."

A condition of approval from the corporation's governing body, the BBC Trust was that "platform neutrality be achieved as soon as possible" with reviews every six months.

Lock-in?

BBC iPLAYER
iPlayer will allow viewers to catch up on TV programmes for seven days
Some TV series can be downloaded and stored for 30 days
Viewers will be able to watch shows streamed live over the internet
Users will not be able to download programmes from other broadcasters
Classical recordings and book-readings are excluded from iPlayer

But groups such as the Open Source Consortium, are unhappy with the BBC's stance. In January this year, the OSC made complaints to the BBC Trust, the former Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and broadcast regulator Ofcom.

In June it also threatened to take its complaint to the European Commission. Representatives from the group are also due to meet with the BBC Trust.

"The BBC has a mandate to provide equal access to people irrespective of platform," said Mark Taylor, president of OSC.

"We don't think it is appropriate to lock people into a particular desktop technology."




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