The BBC has launched a new version of their iPlayer. Previously only really available for Windows (though we could watch using a flash video player in-browser), it uses Adobe Air, which is cross-platform. This brings the iPlayer to Mac and Linux, finally!
The iPlayer desktop; currently still in labs, but now available to the public, can be run on any platform that is supported by Adobe Air, which is most. Adobe Air has been revolutionising application development of late, bringing innovative programs to Mac, Linux and Windows users without having to create three completely separate distributions. My favourite other application that can be found on all of my computers, Windows, Linux and Mac is the Analytics Reporting Suite for Google Analytics, is a great example of how Air really is making cross-platform programming a reality.
Bringing iPlayer content to more platforms will guarantee the BBC a bigger audience. Their rivals are nowhere near as advanced as they have been forced to become by the BBC Trust. Channel 4 and Sky are still stuck with Kontiki and ITV have their in-browser flash player which you have to be online to watch. Hopefully the new Adobe Air based ‘iPlayer desktop’ will coerce the BBC into seeing their Kontiki based player for the memory-hogging, cpu-munching bohemoth that it is and drop it completely.
Innovation is what has driven the BBC for the past 6 decades and the release of the iPlayer desktop is the proof that there really is somebody in the organisation that is still thinking ahead; still thinking that they don’t have to be limited to a bought-in ready made package that is limited in so many ways (not just that it is Windows only).
So, Linux, Mac and Windows users (yes, you can join in too!) rejoice at the release of the iPlayer desktop. Download it. Show your support. We have whinged and moaned and campaigned for this for long enough, now that we have it, use it! Windows users download it too, embrace Adobe Air and kick Kontiki to the curb, your processor will thank you for it.