Phil Bull (philbull) wrote,
Phil Bull

Catch-up and on-demand services on Ubuntu

All of the major TV channels in the UK now have on-demand or catch-up services available online, so I thought I'd perform a quick survey to check their compatibility with Ubuntu. I threw in a "Mac support" column for comparison too (needless to say, they all support Windows). Note that I've actually tested all of them on Ubuntu; the information for Macs is just compiled from the help pages of the service in question.

ServiceTechnologyUbuntu supportMac support
BBC (iPlayer in browser)FlashYesYes
BBC (iPlayer Desktop)Flash (plus client software)Yes (beta)Yes (beta)
ITV Catch UpMicrosoft SilverlightNo*Yes
Channel 4 (4OD)Windows Media Player 10 (plus client software)NoNo
Channel 4 (Catch-Up)Windows Media Player 11NoNo
Channel 4 (TV Clips)Flash YesYes
Demand FiveWindows Media Player 11NoNo

* Silverlight support should be available via the Mono Moonlight project, but the video wouldn't play after I installed the plugin.

Hmm, doesn't look good, does it? The BBC are leading the way and should have full Linux and Mac support once their iPlayer Desktop client leaves beta. As for the others, a common thread that I noticed in the help pages of those services was that they use Microsoft technologies because their content providers apparently require them to use a certain standard of DRM. As such, I think my online viewing will be limited to BBC programmes only for a while yet.
Tags: 4od, catch-up, drm, iplayer, mac, moonlight, on demand, silverlight, tv, ubuntu, video

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