BBC not bringing iPlayer or live streaming to Windows Phone, blames Microsoft

Microsoft is getting brickbats from developers unenthused by its forthcoming operating system(s), and the BBC is the latest to join the chorus. When asked about bringing iPlayer to Windows Phone, the corporation's on-demand honcho, Daniel Danker, responded by saying it's not cost-or-time effective for the system -- thanks to a lack of support for HTTP Live Streaming. Mr. Danker confirmed to us that HLS is not the proprietary format it's believed to be, used on a wide variety of devices including Smart TVs and consoles -- but is not included in Redmond's mobile OS.

Live streaming is also impossible thanks to a "bug" in the software that can't secure the session, breaking the corporation's copy protection system which only affects mobile devices. Redmond's known of the problem for some time, and is working on a solution, but has yet to make any official announcement otherwise. He told us that he's optimistic that a solution might arrive, perhaps on October 26th, but until then, the corporation won't even look at developing an app for any Windows-powered handset. After the break we've included the full text of the original email if you'd like to hear it from the source.

"Hi [Redacted]

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 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.

Daniel Danker
General Manager
Programmes & On Demand