The BBC is inviting users to beta-test new features for its iPlayer ahead of a full release of another upgraded version of the TV and radio content delivery site likely in the second quarter of next year, according to its digital media head, Anthony Rose.
The upgraded iPlayer will allow users to synchronize content across devices via Microsoft’s Live Mesh environment — functionality its Adobe AIR download management can’t support — and will add social networking features such as reviews and recommendations that essentially crowdsource some of the marketing for the already popular player. The social networking features will be limited to simple content-sharing options at first, as the national broadcaster has to tread a careful line between engaging a tech-savvy audience with one less familiar with digital media, Rose said. “The goal is not to build another Facebook.”
But unless you’re prepared to engage in proxy shenanigans and pretend you’re in the UK, the shiny new version of the player will remain closed to residents outside of the region. The BBC’s unique funding structure — it’s funded by national TV license fees and eschews ads — prevents the broadcaster from opening the iPlayer to outsiders. That revenue model also makes licensing the player outside the UK tricky, Rose said.
Users outside the UK who want to watch and share video with friends will have to stick with Joost for now.