Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

BBC iPlayer and ITV Player announce Freesat trials

iPlayer on TV
Freesat is now in 750,000 UK homes

The BBC iPlayer will be released to a select group of Freesat viewers from 7 December, the corporation has announced.

Participants will initially require a code to access the BBC iPlayer but the service should be more freely available by Christmas.

The release is designed to work on Humax HD set top boxes, currently owned by one in three Freesat viewers.

ITV Player will also launch in beta, or trial form, early in 2010.

Moving the BBC iPlayer from a computer to a TV platform had been a challenge said Rahul Chakkara, head of TV platforms at the BBC.

"The hardware of set top boxes and IPTVs (Internet Protocol Television) is constrained," he told BBC News.

"Set top boxes don't have the same processing power or memory as a typical PC. The software inside the boxes was really made for broadcast."

The BBC iPlayer will continue to roll out across different devices as they become connected to the internet, he said. A broadband connection is essential for the service to work on TV.

Freesat is currently in 750,000 homes in the UK and has experienced considerable growth this year, attracting more new customers than Sky in the past two quarters.

The BBC iPlayer launched on Virgin Media in 2008 and the platform now accounts for a quarter of its viewing figures.

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