Open access television 

5 March 2004

MacUser: BBC to give free access to archive footage

Here’s a piece of good news for a change, with further details of the BBC’s earlier pledge to make clips of archive programming available online that contains some interesting additional information. The long term future of television will possibly be a mixture of a broadband video on demand service coupled with a small number of entertainment and information channels (in the conventional sense), so it is right that the BBC should be planning well ahead of time and establishing a means of content delivery via the internet – even if not initially of broadcast quality – as soon as possible.

Compare this purely online approach to video on demand with Sky‘s attempt to provide extra functionality via its latest incarnation of Sky+ and you realise that although Sky+ is a nice try (and unlike true broadband video on demand it is available now to all subscribers – at a price), compared with a true broadband video on demand service it is purely a short term solution (and a rather clumsy one at that).

At some point in the future true broadband video on demand will be available to most of the population, and at that point the BBC’s established archive of programming will then really come into its own. It’s also interesting to note that “In the longer term, the BBC hopes to provide space on its own website for users’ own edits, montages and manipulations of BBC material” (presumably not of broadband quality!) which possibly means that you could download clips from (say) Watchdog and try to reassemble them into a decent programme that’s worth watching…

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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