back to article Beyond video to interactive, personalised content: BBC is experimenting with rebuilding its iPlayer in WebAssembly

The BBC is researching a rebuild of its iPlayer catch-up service client in WebAssembly. Speaking at the QCon Plus developer conference under way online this week, BBC R&D software engineer Tim Pearce said: "We've used WebAssembly to... build an experimental version of iPlayer which can playback future experiences, and I'll …

  1. Mike 137 Silver badge

    WOT??

    "playback future experiences"

    Wioll haven be? (thanks Douglas Adams).

    Someone should teach Auntie grammar (let alone semantics) I know they abandoned their language support services decades back but this is taking things all the way into Humpty Dumpty land and meaning will shortly cease to exist.

    1. Dave559 Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: WOT??

      Anyone who uses the word "experience" in this sort of context (it's not an "experience", it's a tv programme) should be taken outside and dunked in the gameshow gunk tank (followed by an attack by Mr Blobby, for repeat offenders), as it's one of the too-many wanky terms that seem to be infesting bizspeak of late. How'd you like that 'experience', huh?

      It's a shame that they felt the need to obscure what sounds like an interesting project behind that initial layer of spaff.

      1. Sam 15

        Re: WOT??

        "It's a shame that they felt the need to obscure what sounds like an interesting project behind that initial layer of spaff."

        Writing that kind of spaff is a highly prized artform within the BBC (and other organisations too numerous to mention in this margin). It's a bit like a Han dynasty Chinese civil servant getting promotion for penning a particularly neat haiku.

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: WOT??

      playback future experiences

      I thought they'd invented a time machine. Cue Doctor Who Tardis noises …

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: WOT??

        vwoorp

      2. AW-S

        Re: WOT??

        Dr Who?

        No a rebooted Crime Traveller. I liked that series.

    3. MJI Silver badge

      Re: WOT??

      Future experiences

      Next Saturdays lottery results please.

      1. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

        Re: WOT??

        "Next Saturdays lottery results please."

        Of course, you loose.

        No need to thank me.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No need to thank me

          OK. Can I correct your spelling?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: No need to thank me

            well, let's be generous here and he meant "you looser!"

            1. Fred Dibnah

              Re: No need to thank me

              Looser than what?

          2. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

            Re: No need to thank me

            "Can I correct your spelling?"

            Phil you're beauts.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

    Recently noticed they had ruined the iPlayer interface on my LG TV

    No way to see when a programme was first shown from the app. The reply top the logged complaint I made to the BBC was "can't you use a web browser instead ?"

    So fuck you and your "improvements". That's probably what it took for me to decide not to pay the licence fee next year. That and the fact they have become the broadcasting arm of the Tory party.

    1. Swordfish1

      Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

      I legally stopped paying the Licence Fee last year- not missed Live TV, or Iplayer whatsoever. Watch Netflix and Amazon Prime instead, and catchup on the commercial channels, which you can legally watch without a TV Licence

      1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

        Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

        Woo hoo! Good for you. Just ignore those fucking stupid letters they send every month saying you need a TV licence. My dad's old house still gets them, even though there is no one living there.

        They are fun to read -- the most recent one gave me '10 days' grace before...

        What? You're going to send someone out to tell me off? I don't think so.

        Even the BBC's Internet site is now shit and really predictable.

        I player is so shite. No thumbnails when you fast forward or rewind. And I still have my Samsung TV -- that gets slower and slower when you try to run the iplayer. I will NOT upgrade my TV, so I just avoid the iplayer as it becomes more and more impossible to use.

        Avoid the BBC and you will learn a whole lot more about the world.

        1. N2 Silver badge

          Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

          Avoid the BBC and you will learn a whole lot more about the world.

          Agree entirely, they often project a one sided view.

          1. sebacoustic

            Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

            One sided view: necessarily so since the TV screen is a 2d plane which can only render a particular projection of reality.

            But then again, while it's a bit conservative (small c mostly) in outlook it's got a lot of quality journalism on offer compared to the competition in TV space.

            Technical merits of iPlayer and BBC sounds aside, if find it worth the fee. Now if they were to allow me to personalise the news so that they can cut the "Royal Family" special interest topic altogether now that would be something! It would be a bit like they put the test cricket on long wave so as to not unduly bore the non-fans with it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

        The last time I checked the commercial channels need a TV licence. That includes watching live sport on Amazon.

        https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/easy-read/when-you-need-a-tv-licence

        1. Spamfast

          Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

          The last time I checked the commercial channels need a TV licence. That includes watching live sport on Amazon.

          That 'live' is the important bit.

          If you do not watch any live broadcasts and you don't watch anything on BBC iPlayer you do not need a TV license.

          So if you take down or remove the cable from your aerials and satellite dishes and only use the catch-up services from ITV, Channel 4, Five etc. you are not obliged to pay the license fee.

          I believe that in days of yore you had to pay if you owned equipment that was capable of receiving live TV broadcasts regardless of whether you did or not. To have solid grounds against CCJs people resorted to bunging up the aerial inputs with resin or unsoldering them.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

      That and the fact they have become the broadcasting arm of the Tory party.

      It's amazing how there are people with this view, and yet there are as many people who see the BBC as being anti-tory and having a left wing agenda.

      They must be doing something right.

      1. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

        Not really. The BBC has always been the broadcasting arm of the government. In theory it's supposed to be relatively impartial, but in practise it's funded by the government and run by people appointed by the government, and that inevitably leads to there being a certain slant on things. The BBC generally manages to be a lot better than most other state-run propaganda vehicles, but it's far from immune to this.

        What this means in practice is that the BBC is almost always at least somewhat biased in favour of the current ruling party. At the moment, that means the Tories. And since they've been in power for a while now, and tend to be far more blatant than most about putting their mates into cushy jobs, the effect on the BBC has become rather more noticable. Back when Labour had been in power for a decade, it was the other way around, although maybe not to quite the same extent.

        That last part is likely why so many people seem to believe that the BBC gets equal complaints from both sides and therefore must be balanced. Right now, they are biased towards the Tories. 10 years ago, they were biased towards Labour. People who think there are equal complaints from both sides might be correct if you average over a long time, but they're very wrong if you look at any specific point in time. Swinging between biased one way and biased the other doesn't mean they must be doing something right and giving a balanced view, it means they're always doing it wrong.

        1. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

          Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

          Honestly, I think the BBC is trying its best to be impartial after getting its arse slapped last year.

          The people who claim the BBC is Tory biased... blimey, have you ever watched any political program ever? It's hostile to anyone pro-Brexit, Tory, UKIP, who basically doesn't support the utopian communist ideal. Most BBC political comedies are literally "Tory bad, hur hur hur" because arts graduates are 99.9% left-wing.

          The BBC news site routinely highlights anti-Tory smears. Anything critical of the unions and it'll appear somewhere near the bottom of the site. I think a lot of the confusion, is that the BBC does wheel out a plethora of charity activists, who people assume are left wingers, when the reality is they tend to come from all backgrounds (but always come begging for money, so they sound like lefties).

          Personally, I am a centrist and I happen to think choosing between Labour & Tory, is equivalent to selecting a favourite between bowel cancer and prostate cancer. Although Labour are doing a grand job of imploding with stupidity over the last 5 years. You have to laugh, at the Labour 'Head of Education' having literally no GCSEs.

          1. John 110
            FAIL

            Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

            "Honestly, I think the BBC is trying its best to be impartial after getting its arse slapped last year."

            You obviously don't live in Scotland...

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

              Despite all the arguments here, BBC still gets an equal kicking from both ends of politics.

              It's natural for the bias to be in the observer. Like if you see something you don't like or agree with then you call it bias.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

            " It's hostile to anyone pro-Brexit, Tory, UKIP, who basically doesn't support the utopian communist ideal."

            Wow, and there's me thinking the BBC contributed directly to Brexit happening by making an editorial decision to give a much louder voice to UKIP than other larger but still small political parties (e.g. the Green party) from about 2014 onwards.

            Don't get me wrong, I still pay the licence fee and watch BBC, but it's hasn't been as left wing as some people think for a long time.

            1. N2 Silver badge

              Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

              Upvote, but as for

              but it's hasn't been as left wing as some people think for a long time.

              I disagree, its always had a left leaning bias, perhaps you just diddnt notice it.

        2. JimboSmith Silver badge

          Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

          Somebody I knew years ago started at the BBC about 1995 or 96. His died in the wool Labour supporting grandfather asked him why he'd joined the Propaganda Wing of the government? He explained that he hadn't and there were rules on impartiality producers had to follow. Then there was a regime change a year or two later and Mr Blair got in. He asked his grandad if he was still working for the propaganda wing and was told no it's the Information Unit.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

        they serve whoever has a boot on the fat funds pipe, at the same time trying to ride the wave of 'relevant' 'agendas'. Currently... well.

      4. Drat

        Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

        Don't worry about it. With the new object based broadcasting you will get a version of the news that fits your own political opinions so everyone will be happy :)

    3. Julian 8

      Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

      You're lucky, they decided my uncles TV (2 years old) is not suitable and removed iplayer. My own tv which is the same range has the same problem. ITV Hub has gone as wellas well. He rang earlier to say he has lost Netflix

      I can get BBC via the tivo but for him we have had to get him a Roku and need to install it this weekend

    4. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

      Blame LG for flogging a gullible idiot a TV that doesn't get upgraded.

      iPlayer still works on my 5 year old Amazon Firestick and 7 year old iPad.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

        And my launch day PS4

      2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

        Tiny i3 NUC & Windows 10 (Duelly named Britbox), hooked up works fine.

        I prefer something that gets regular updates, unlike TV firmwares which are sporadic, loses functions & can bork things (I can also fix a OS issue on a PC, or reimage the thing).

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: iPlayer still works on my 5 year old Amazon Firestick and 7 year old iPad.

        it also works on limetorrents, I heard someone say on the tube.

      4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: TV that doesn't get upgraded.

        Those so-called "Smart TV's" become blathering idiots the moment they are unpacked.

        My Sony 'Smart TV' has never been connected to the internet. I am like many here and across the world... junked the smart part and just use the thing as a dumb TV.

        In my case, a Humax FreeSat box and an Apple TV do all the heavy lifting.

    5. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

      It's BritBox that's playing with my "viewer experience". They've added a skip intro function. It clashes with the typographic stylings of the programmes I like to watch AND it disables the pause and skip functions of the player (AppleTV at least), so you can't skip back to check something or pause it on the titles to go for a wee or answer the door.

      BUT it's not a feature on e.g. The Prisoner - totally absent for skipping those intros (as if one wanted to) but it IS a feature on e.g. Thunderbirds. I emailed them about. it and the usually quite responsive coding team seem to have employed a triage manager who basically replied "Yeah, it's a valuable feature" which translates as "shut up - we don't care"

      1. razza

        Re: Fuck the BBC - fuck iPlayer

        That's the spirit. Don't take no pooh from them

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Windows

    Object-based media

    As the old curmudgeon that I am, I initially reacted to this by thinking "that's another load of intellectual masturbation about how to stream a video".

    But, as I read further into the article, I started to get an inkling of a notion that that could actually be an interesting development.

    I don't yet know how, and I don't expect this pie-in-the-sky, perfect description to actually come into being, but I am now interested in finding out what they're going to deliver.

    Of course, I'll have to use a VPN to check it out. The BBC doesn't like being viewed from outside the UK.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Personal adverts?

    Quote: Part of the challenge is that the BBC intends to move beyond mere video to a thing it calls object-based media, which "allows the content of programmes to change according to the requirements of each individual audience member."

    So personalised adverts inserted into the TV show?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Personal adverts?

      I think so. Presumably why I'm continually being asked to "register for a better experience".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Personal adverts?

      personalised bigotry

      ooo... how about a deepfake option to replace Boris with Coco the Clown or Jacob Rees-Mogg with Lord Snooty... damn, too later, they've already done that

    3. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Personal adverts?

      "allows the content of programmes to change according to the requirements of each individual audience member."

      Fantastic! Does that mean when I am in front of it, it will switch off, delete itself and slap the director?

      I happily weaned myself off of regular TV some twenty years ago, I was getting tired of repeats, poor programming and predictable scripts etc etc.

      But then I have always been a miserable bigger.

    4. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Personal adverts?

      > Part of the challenge is that the BBC intends to move beyond mere video to a thing it calls object-based media, which "allows the content of programmes to change according to the requirements of each individual audience member."

      Given the endless, endless trails during the day on BBC1 for Eastenders, I can only assume that the Beeb will use this to force all of us to watch Eastenders. We'll start watching one show - Gardener's World for example - and find that it morphs into Eastenders: Monty Don will go from his garden into the greenhouse but instead of finding himself in the greenhouse he'll find himself - Narnia wardrobe style - in the Queen Vic's lounge bar.

    5. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Self preservation society

      So personalised adverts inserted into the TV show?

      Of course. Don't forget the UK experience of wall-wall soaps, medicated or otherwise is but one part of the total Bbc experience. So outside the UK, unsuspecting viewers are already treated to Bbc content splattered with ads. Ok, using 'Bbc' content in the loosest sense because that might be content from iTV, C4 or just Bbc staff moonlighting as independent producers.

      ..every audience member can access every experience, regardless of what device they have at home... they might have an old smartphone or smart TV.

      As long as that experience is carefully controlled and curated by one of the Bbc's tentacles. It's been struggling with irrelevance as our nation (and Bbc's worldwide nations) have found there's life outside of Aunty's medicated-soap scented warm embrace. The feckless yoof haven't been watching Woke.. I mean Bbc3, even after that was cruelly forced online. This obviously leads to an existential crisis because if young people don't buy TV Licences, the Bbc's jacuzzi of cash starts to dry up, leaving just a scummy soap ring around the edge.

      So as usual, it induldges in technofetishism in an attempt to chase that audience. It'll offer exciting and innovative new features, hastily borrowed from other streaming services. Want X-ray? you can have Z-ray! It's like that Prime thing, but better, because this is from the Bbc! Even better, once indies are locked into that ecosystem, content will work best on iPrayer! Dear Worldwide customers, don't think about selling direct to Netflix, Prime, Discovery/HBO, we'll deliver your content for you! Trust in Aunty, Aunty knows best!

      But such is politics. Rather than making content viewers want to watch, the Bbc's content to polish it's turd. You don't want stuff like The Witcher, or Altered Carbon (s1 anyway), you want Eastenders in VR! And dear Americans, you don't want to be thinking of subbing to HBO/Discovery, you want Bbc America.. AT&T, won't you spare a coin for your watcher? Aunty needs you..

      But that's enough rant. Two things stand out. One is if this happens, there'll be even less excuse not to turn the Bbc into a subscription service. It's been desperately trying to avoid that for the last couple of decades, even though it happily uses subscription outside the UK. But the UK has always been it's cash cow thanks ot the TV licence.

      The second is the audience engagement features may reveal something the Bbc's also been in denial about for decades.. Hello viewer! Are you there? Please just swipe left if you're out there, we're lonely..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You don't want stuff like The Witcher,

        if I were to be be asked to be tortured, I might prefer the lesser evil of east-enders. Seriously.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AdBlock for iPlayer anyone??

  6. Paul Herber Silver badge

    user gets rich experience

    Auntie Beeb using Wasm to help spread some wealth around. We'd all like to trouser a bit more of the Wasm wedge!

  7. Warm Braw Silver badge

    This is all rather confusing

    For a start, there's nothing (in principle) you can do with WebAssembly that you can't do with Javascript - expect being able to port existing self-contained code from other platforms. There isn't intrinsically anything there to solve incompatibilities between different environments - it's just that your compatibility layer might be easier to cobble together and run a bit faster in WebAssembly.

    Secondly, if you're planning to use WebGL to do your own rendering, then there's a slight problem that a lot of devices on which iPlayer runs don't have a GPU as such ("smart" TVs, for example) and, indeed, have the minimum CPU they can get away with.

    Thirdly, if you plan to get round that by rendering your UI in the cloud, who exactly is going to pay for that when the BBC doesn't have the money to fund its existing TV channels adequately. And the same of course applies to personally-tailored content: someone has to write it and engineer it and it's going to be more expensive, cripplingly so if you can't sell it on to multiple other markets because it's dependent on iPlayer.

    Fourthly if you're doing your own UI rendering to avoid trivia like "CSS variations", what happens about accessibility?

    There's no fifthly because I don't want to sound like Kier Starmer.

    I get the general impression that the BBC is trying to play in a space where it has neither the scale nor resources to compete and has no realistic view of its likely future.

    1. Julian 8

      Re: This is all rather confusing

      My Sony which has had the current iplayer pulled has a A53, 4 core - but only 2GB of RAM. No idea what spec your TV will need to run this new version

    2. iron Silver badge

      Re: This is all rather confusing

      Fifth it won't work because the current iPlayer can't play a single programme in its entirety without buffering at least once during playback. Every other video app works perfectly on my network except i-buffering-player.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is all rather confusing

        Conversely, iPlayer is the only on-demand application I've yet to see buffer or screw up - All4, ITVHub, and My5 have all been worse, in my experience (all on an Amazon FireTV).

        1. X5-332960073452
          Alert

          Re: This is all rather confusing

          Try the BT Sport App, then complain!

          Buffering aplenty.

          Best one, it's jumps back for no reason, longest 'repeat' I've experienced was 45 minutes

    3. illiad

      Re: This is all rather confusing

      'web Assembly' ??? this is used by Edge (MS) _ they may have some new staff giving them Ideas...

      If BBC is short of money it **could** sell the 'bank space' on channel 7 (was BBC 3 terrestrial)

    4. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: This is all rather confusing

      "trying to play in a space where it has neither the scale nor resources to compete and has no realistic view of its likely future."

      Or even maybe what it's doing technically? Your points are well taken, Warm Braw.

      This apparent loss of expertise is all the sadder because the BBC technical people used to be the very best - making some important advances in broadcasting technologies. But looking at the archive a while back I noticed a decline from high technical expertise towards broadcasting philosophy waffle dating already from around the '80s.

      1. razza

        Re: This is all rather confusing

        This is true throughout the old media - dumbed down, so much so that even I, with no journo experience got a job at the Indie back in 2002.

        Also abroad too. In Japan and HOng Kong pretty much the same - still talented people there but also an awful lot of 'cheaper' weakly linked professions - like mine (ex-mobile internet designer but a newspaper job was a big step down cause I fancied putting my feet up for a few years and doing an easy job), but worse like ESOL teachers.

        Defo at Sky. Worked at their HO for a few weeks and felt like I was in 'The CarphoneWarehouse' of the internet surrounded by booted and suited chavs! LOL.

        BBC pretty much the same, loads of wannabes thinking old media is cool, thinking they are they internet, when the are bit a tiny tiny bit of it and we, yes, we folks, we are the internet. On your knees!

        Kiss my face!

    5. richardcox13

      Re: This is all rather confusing

      > For a start, there's nothing (in principle) you can do with WebAssembly that you can't do with Javascript

      True of any Turing complete language: they are all theoretically as capable as each other. However I'll leave wearing a hair-shirt for the masochists. JavaScript is not a good choice where significant numeric processing is needed (eg. decoding a media stream).

  8. Mishak

    Can they make the old one work first?

    Viewing on a Mac, it keeps switching to low resolution. My internet is more than fast enough (63/15), and this happens over wired, so it's not a WiFi issue (though that works just fine with PVR and the like anyway). Seems to be related to any other network activity (e.g. opening a web page). Refreshing iPlayer "fixes" it for a while, but not for long.

    1. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: Can they make the old one work first?

      I also experience that problem of it defaulting to stream in low resolution bit rate, even though Youtube, and Amazon Prime video are capable of HD streaming from the same device over the same network.

      Any annoying, unlike Youtube where you can manually select the stream quality, Iplayer does have that option.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jargon in rubbish out?

    That was a fun read. Got last pretty quickly, but I read it as 'we are building a new Iplayer that will incorporate many new buzzwords. Because we can, we will wrap it in an application. We will claim this is to give you a better 'experience' but in reality it will just be annoying, and probably won't work on half the devices you currently use to watch stuff. When you complain we will say 'we hear you...but sod off' (as happened when they borked their audio streams ability to lay back on smart speakers, replacing it with BBC sounds and losing 50% of the functionality.

    1. ChrisC Silver badge

      Re: Jargon in rubbish out?

      Mmm, I'm still pissed off at the way they threw away all that was good about iPlayer Radio (not least its ability to work pretty much flawlessly on older devices, plus various things about the UI that made getting to what *you* wanted to listen to easy, as well as making it easier on the eyes of those of us with less than perfect vision) and ignored all resultant complaints in the process of lumbering us with BBC Sounds.

      Which, despite several years of development since then, is still a bit crap in places where it really shouldn't be if the developers would only control their egos long enough to learn some lessons from the past, and pay attention to the things that really were good about iPR rather than being so determined to reinvent the wheel once again that they end up producing something that has a smashing new logo on the side, but doesn't sit true on its axle so ends up giving the user a rather uncomfortable ride...

      And that was just the latest in the ongoing trend of BBC developers to take something that worked pretty well and really just needed a bit of polishing to turn it into something truly world-class, and instead throw all their resources into coming up with a completely new replacement which ignored the lessons learned from the existing product, as well as anything other than 100% positive feedback from users during the transition period where we could still use the old whilst evaluating the new.

      Still, they're in good company - it seems to be an annoyingly common trend for developers to now adopt a policy of "if it ain't broke, make up some other excuse for replacing it with something completely new anyway". I'm an R&D engineer earning a living out of coming up with new solutions for problems, which means I'm absolutely not opposed to change where change is justified. I just hate, truly hate, this modern concept of change for the sake of change that too many developers seem to subscribe to.

      1. iron Silver badge

        Re: Jargon in rubbish out?

        A BBC recruiter contacted me a few months ago about working on BBC Sounds. I laughed and said no, I don't believe in locking content that should be open away behind a specific app or the extensive user tracking they perform so it would be against my personal ethics. She sounded very confused, much like ad agency recruiters when they speak to me. lol

      2. Fred Dibnah

        Re: Jargon in rubbish out?

        Good call. All of that also applies to the BBC's TV weather forecasts. It took about a year and thousands of complaints before they would do something as simple as show the British Isles map in its correct dimensions.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Jargon in rubbish out?

          You mean use a different projection conformal projection from the conventional one to please a few anal retentives.

          We live on a near sphere. Lines of longitude converge at the poles. The view point of a satellite image will emphasise this. This is the way it is and no amount of crybaby wailing can change it.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Jargon in rubbish out?

            We live on a near sphere. Lines of longitude converge at the poles. The view point of a satellite image will emphasise this. This is the way it is and no amount of crybaby wailing can change it.

            But the Bbc is supposed to inform, educate and entertain. So yesterday there was a story about the UK's weather. Rather than being text and images, it was a video. In which the presenter basically said it's because it's Spring, and being in between Winter & Summer, we get a bit of both. Not an isobar to be seen. It did devote a bit to waffling about global warming, because obviously when low temperature records are broken, it's global warming.

            But then global warming is an area where the Bbc is incredibly biased. Possibly due to it's 'experts' not being scientists, just arts & (oh the) humanties grads. So we get stories about weather 'extremes' interspersed with stories about how we simply must build more windmills and solar that are most vulnerable to those extremes. But although watching the Bbc trying to explain how CO2, a 'well mixed' gas could lead to extremes would be entertaining, it probably wouldn't be that informative.

          2. Fred Dibnah

            Re: Jargon in rubbish out?

            The viewpoint of a satellite flying directly above the British Isles will show roughly correct shape, area, and distances. A satellite over the equator will see shape, area, and distances incorrectly, which is why it was a stupid idea for the BBC to choose that viewpoint. In any case, weather satellites are often in polar orbits.

            Next time you look at a paper map of the British Isles, think about where the view is from. It's not from the equator, and for a very good reason.

      3. X5-332960073452
        Megaphone

        Re: Jargon in rubbish out?

        Having read you post ChrisC, I think your use of the word developers should be replaced by manglement.

  10. Ross 12

    WebAssembly, rust, webgl, canvas... just missing the blockchain element

  11. teebie

    That's a lot of words to say "As requested by nobody, we're going to ruin iPlayer for TV, just like we did for radio".

  12. Dr. G. Freeman

    Will all this faffing about with the iPlayer mean that there'll be decent things to watch on it, or am I just getting my hopes up again ?

    1. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

      I have been a bit disappointed the last 2-3 years of BBC content. When they get it right - it's amazing and leaps ahead of the competition.

      When they get it wrong... it is like they hired some chimps to write the storylines, while the lawyers and HR teams mess up the script beyond a joke.

      The last thing I was watching is Line of Duty, which has been generally excellent. But the last season was hot garbage.

  13. Barry Rueger

    Disaster

    We're avid BBC viewers and have no doubt that we'll hate this. I cherish the increasingly rare moments when a service I rely on remains unchanged.

    1. hedge

      Re: Disaster

      Sadly, the glory days of the BBC have already ended because most of us will never buy another television or radio.

      So, as the BBC runs around designing new digital services to track us and to use to commercialise our data, many of us have already drifted off to consume entertainment elsewhere.

      Just remember the days when the BBC was a non-stalking public service.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Disaster

        Sadly, the glory days of the BBC have already ended because most of us will never buy another television or radio.

        Yet sales of ever more bigger, flatter and luscious screened TVs continue to be big business.

        TV will live on just like radio lives on. The live broadcast will always have certain qualities that dumbed down streaming content lacks and cannot supply.

        Streaming abstracts the viewer a few more steps away for real life and humanity and may will just not ever be excited by it. It's the sex-doll of media entertainment.

    2. razza

      Re: Disaster

      ""We're avid BBC viewers and have no doubt that we'll hate this".

      It doesn't look promising from the efforts they have shown on their demo site - BBC3 x10 times as bad and behind the times.

      Most disappointing again is that the BBC wannabe (who couldn't get a job at a proper internet company like Yahoo) seems to have been told something and not fully understood it.

      WebAssembly is nice - in a few years, basically Web2.0 again as it was a nice name for a group of emerging tech) - but it's the WebAI bit that he has missed. The next-gen is the WEB (only) and it will be hyper-customisation, but not like he is doing it.

      They are still thinking Web2.0 with multiple platform issues. That has mostly been solved. The next step is much greater automatic individual customisation and you need AI for that - not going to discuss merits or whatever, it's there, it works when used for the right things, it's getting better and fingers crossed it will get better than us at everything worth being best at.

      The lag time is reducing between generations. Personal web will take much less time to reach mainstream than WWW or mobile.

      We killed the vast majority of old media dead. Only the fittest, leanest and ones with the biggest begging bowels survive now. As is us.

      1. razza

        Re: Disaster

        "WebAssembly aims to execute at native speed by taking advantage of common hardware capabilities available on a wide range of platforms."

        Legacy apps is a bonus feature really. Faster PWA's is the real point as we are using this tech at the moment in some areas.

      2. bin

        Re: Disaster

        ......Only the fittest, leanest and ones with the biggest begging bowels survive now.....

        My first reaction was - don't you mean bowls?

        BUT - you know sometimes the keyboard tells the truth the eyes would rather not see.........

      3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Disaster

        They are still thinking Web2.0 with multiple platform issues. That has mostly been solved. The next step is much greater automatic individual customisation and you need AI for that

        Oh hell no! All you should need are some device profiles and a preference linked to the user. The user should be in control of their 'experience', not some pseudo-AI that thinks it knows what the viewer wants. YT's recommendations being a case in point. Or just simple stuff like hitting refresh should give a different selection of videos, not the same ones over and over again.

  14. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    And then there was the One .........

    Of course, I'll have to use a VPN to check it out. The BBC doesn't like being viewed from outside the UK. ..... Pascal Monett

    I think you'll find, PM, it is much more the case that foreign administrations don't like/want BBC programming directly interfering with their own media hosted manipulation/remote audiotelevisual command and control of native subjects/home based objects.

    It is probably why it appears to be a gentlemanly reciprocal arrangement right across the globe so that there can be many Caesars doing their wannabe leader thing to audiences which might understand them and be encouraged and/or fooled into supporting them whenever shown recordings of what they/mass multimedia mogul operations have done/are doing/are planning to do on your behalf in their interests.

    It does create and exacerbate conflict in any bigger united picture programming though, all those silos and walled gardens/virtual gulags and private prisons, although if anyone anywhere were to begin broadbandcasting attractive imaginative creative programs which all can enjoy to experience the belief that beings just like themselves whenever all can see/hear/realise they are part and parcel and instrumental in the production, direction and presentation of a novel interactive future existence hosted via all manner of ubiquitous broadbandcasting devices displaying alternate versions of augmented virtualised reality in other domains/foreign lands/alien spaces, one imagines the program and project would be warmly welcomed as an advanced masterpilot for testing/copying/pirating.

    If IT is better than just good, it will be great and both practically and virtually ....... well, uncontainable and extremely exciting is certainly inevitable even right from the very beginning,

    Is that what the BBC are basically planning with their new iPlayer in WebAssembly rebuild/NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive ITERation ...... which in such a parallel dimension and metadatabase discipline is akin to an international nuclear fusion research and engineering megaproject aimed at replicating the fusion processes of the sun to create energy on earth. ....... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITER ..... for it would definitely be guaranteed groundbreaking and Earth shattering?

  15. xyz Silver badge

    Can they just fix their website first...

    A) so it goes faster and B) get rid of all that tracking crap. Mind you I think their mission statement these days is "we don't do news, so just show pictures of puppies"

  16. Rob 15

    R&D

    I wonder how much the BBC spends on R&D, and is it still justified? Their hit rate seems quite low but maybe that's normal for R&D. But it seems like rebuilding iPlayer repeatedly isn't a particular problem that R&D seems to solve. If the BBC still need an R&D department it should be much more tightly focussed.

    BBC have done interactive TV / branched narrative stuff before (see Attack of the Graske, Test the Nation and so on). It's fun and gimmicky, but has high production overheads and little use. And the technologies it was built in have all disappeared so there's no longetivity to it. At the time, the BBC hailed interactive TV as a new medium, after TV and radio, but they eventually closed the interactive TV team as a waste of licence fee money. In pursuing this again (but with shinier technology) it seems that the BBC tech departments have no accumulated corp experience and too much cash to blow.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Independent R&D Subcontractors

      the BBC hailed interactive TV as a new medium, after TV and radio, but they eventually closed the interactive TV team as a waste of licence fee money. In pursuing this again (but with shinier technology) it seems that the BBC tech departments have no accumulated corp experience and too much cash to blow. ..... Rob 15

      Now that is very encouraging news, Rob 15, to that and those with the novel shinier technology know-how to make much more effective dynamic ACTive use of the likes of a BBC, and in a fashion not very dissimilar to fulfil wishes of their own, and with only as much flash cash as it is necessary to blow [as in invest in and donate to able and enabling drivers] for I would wholeheartedly and vehemently dispute and disagree that there is no accumulated corp experience available to such as BBC tech departments, although it may be the case that it is not essentially in-house incestuous and home grown by such businesses/corporations/organisations themselves.

      And have you any idea how much as a vital invisible export that Progressive Effective Dynamic ACTive IT Programming expertise would be worth to other mass multi media mogul operations scattered right around the globe? Methinks any digit followed by more noughts that can ever be spent would be prime indicative of it real value and true worth.

      1. Rob 15

        Re: Independent R&D Subcontractors

        Hmm, that's all a bit cryptic for me. It sounds like you're invested in it. Don't blow the cash on croissants. Good luck...

        In the mean time, something like surround sound on iPlayer would be more useful. It's a bit more tangible at least.

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: Independent R&D Subcontractors

          In the mean time, something like surround sound on iPlayer would be more useful. It's a bit more tangible at least. ...... Rod 15

          Whenever it is so obviously failing so spectacularly, Rob 15, quadrophonic stereo for British Brainwashing would be more considered as virtually useless and somewhat gratuitous.

          And to fix that international disgrace and glaring national security and secret intelligence service threat is a top down task via bottom up channels assumed and performed by chiefs and agents who actually know what needs to be done and how it is done. Does Blighty have any/many of those?

          I trust that very plain text is not ambiguously cryptic, Rob 15. It certainly shines crystal clear and transparent whenever viewed here.

          The government funding of the BBC to add a few greater bells and shrill whistles onto their crashing train wreck of an easily abused and cynically misused education and entertainment tool spewing programs and projects almost freely into the homes and minds of viewers and listeners, is not useful whenever the content is less than stellar and universally attractive.

          Having failed to live up to their motto ..... 'Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation' ..... [and the current Tony Hall/Martin Bashir fiasco/soap and Middle East war screenings and Far East nations and Russian State bashings are recent enough evidence of that offence and dereliction of duty in a government office?] ...... perhaps something more ambitious along the lines of "Per Ardua ad Astra" is much more appropriate given the spaces and places in which leaderships now work, rest and play with 0days today. And that is only one private/pirate/public sector and ACT*ive vector to exploit and explore/employ and enjoy.

          *Advanced Cyber Threat/Treat.

          1. Rob 15

            Re: Independent R&D Subcontractors

            Whenever it is so obviously failing so spectacularly, Rob 15, quadrophonic stereo for British Brainwashing would be more considered as virtually useless and somewhat gratuitous.

            Not really. Most drama, sport and films already created and broadcast in surround. Some of the music does, like Jools' shows. Despite having created or acquired the surround mix for broadcast, the BBC then chucks this away and uses a stereo mix for iPlayer. Multiple streaming services use surround and promote it alongside HD/4K as a core part of their service.

  17. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells
    Paris Hilton

    > personalising content such as focusing on a favourite football team

    This coming from a firm that for decades has shown the football scores right at the end of the news proceeding Match Of The Day so that when you start the recording you have a reasonable chance of seeing the score for the game that you've been avoiding all day.

  18. TimMaher Silver badge
    Windows

    By the pricking of my thumbs

    “Something WASM this way comes.”

    I never liked the acronym “WASM” especially if it cums comes at you.

  19. dubious

    full HD

    Could I suggest they please get basic 1080 streaming working first before disappearing up their own arses in a cloud of techno-wanky?

  20. The obvious

    Chalk up another client for ActiveX 2.0...

    ...everything old is new again.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Optional sound mixes

    Something none of the broadcasters seem to be doing is giving viewers easy options for the sound mix. Many older viewers would probably prefer reduced effects and music and less dynamic range in the dialogue* - so they don't have to have it so loud to follow the story. Some viewers like the cinema immersive experience and can cope with and enjoy a large dynamic range. 4 basic choices would probably be enough - maybe something like 'Full range', 'Reduced effects','Music free','Dialogue emphasised' - manual controls for the geeks out there.

    I know they won't do it (having worked there for many years)

    *YES compressed - at the viewer's choice.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Optional sound mixes

      What you ask for is possible, but I think levels of complexity in production, I had to do a web search to find this https://www.bbc.co.uk/taster/pilots/casualty-ae-audio, I remembered that some investigation had been do, shame they never took it further

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