BBC iPlayer supposedly coming to Xbox Live next week

Doctor Who and Sherlock might be coming to the Xbox 360, sort of.

Eurogamer are reporting some good news for British Xbox 360 owners looking to catch up on their favourite BBC programmes after a hard day of gaming. The BBC’s iPlayer service was originally announced by Microsoft as part of its late 2011 Xbox Live revamp alongside that other popular UK TV catchup service 4OD, but ultimately failed to materialise. The reason for this was laid squarely on the shoulders of an ongoing dispute concerning the BBC’s public charter versus Microsoft’s desire to make money. In a nutshell, Microsoft wanted to restrict iPlayer only to Xbox users with an active Xbox Live gold account whereas the BBC insisted it should also be available to users with unpaid silver accounts.

As a publicly funded organisation the BBC has to make its programmes freely available to license fee payers on any platform they’re made available on. It’s for this reason all basic Sky TV and Virgin Media packages in the UK carry all BBC channels as standard. If a service provider wants to charge extra for BBC content, like what Microsoft wanted to do in the form of requiring an Xbox Live gold subscription, the BBC cannot put its programmes on that service. Doing so would be in violation of the BBC’s Royal Charter and violating its charter can have grave consequences for the organisation. At the very worst the BBC could get shut down over it, so you can see why they’d insist the service being freely available to all Xbox owners.

Microsoft have refused to comment on “rumour and speculation,” though if a deal has been worked out then it’s about bloody time. 4OD is great and all but the BBC makes quality programmes too and I like the convenience of having all my catch-up services available together. Right now if I finish playing a 360 game and fancy watching a BBC show I’ve missed I have to turn the console off and turn on my PC. PS3 and Wii owners don’t have that hassle, and soon hopefully neither will 360 owners. Naturally this service will only be available to UK license fee payers, so if you want the most recent episodes of Sherlock or Doctor Who and you live abroad then yah-boo-sucks to you! You’ll have to either wait patiently for them to air in your region or carry on pirating them like the dirty thieving scum you are.

I can forgive you though. Series 2 of Sherlock was ace.

Source: Eurogamer


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