ITV Player: UK Silverlight-based catch-up

Jan 20, 2009
Updated • Dec 13, 2012
Music and Video

Catching up with the BBC's iPlayer and Channel Four's 4oD, British broadcaster ITV has released its own free video-on-demand service: ITV Player.

ITV Player uses Microsoft's Silverlight format to stream its media, which allows it to be played on Windows and Macs. Users report problems with it working under the Linux build of Silverlight. The website itself looks quite slick but is nowhere as near as nice to use as BBC's iPlayer.

The service allows users to watch shows like Coronation Street but I cannot see any way to download these episodes to watch portably as you can with iPlayer.

Whilst it's nice to see ITV using a non-Windows only brand (unlike Channel 4), it would have been good had they used a more universal format like Flash or OGG.

There are a few other issues with it. Many shows can't be watch live due to licensing issues, the video is too small and the only options are small or fullscreen – unlike iPlayer. ITV Player also fails to offer HD shows.

I think ITV Player will either be drastically improved or scrapped! I'm surprised ITV are in-touch enough with the public to stay clear of DRM but I'm disappointed they used Silverlight and made it incompatible with Linux. The interface needs work too.

I expect the site won't work outside the UK but it's still a convenient service British readers may have overlooked. If it does work outside, please comment and let us know!

Update: ITV has released an update to iPlayer recently. When you open the site right now you get a selection of popular shows that air on ITV, and options to browse ITV 1 to 4 by day to find out what is airing and what has aired on each channel. A click loads the player interface which is now using Flash and not Silverlight. Note that you can only watch shows using ITV Player if you are living in the UK as contents are geographically restricted to that area.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Anonymous said on August 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Why not make use of the mplayer.conf?

  2. Mike J said on August 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Huh, I have never even seen this “font cache” pane; videos play at once for me, using VLC & XP SP3.

    1. Martin said on August 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Mike, in theory this should have only been displayed once to you, at the very first video that you played with VLC. The time this window is displayed depends largely on the number of fonts in your font directory.

      1. Mike J said on August 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm

        huh, I lucked out for a change?? Amazing!!
        Apparently VLC keeps this info through version updates, but I didn’t see this message after a fresh OS install about 8 weeks ago, & a new VLC.

  3. myo said on August 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    yes, yes, i have the same problem. sometimes, VLC crashes when it is playing .mov file.

  4. Kishore said on August 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Buidling font Cache pop-up


    Open VLC player.

    On Menu Bar:


    (at bottom – left side)
    Show settings — ALL

    Open: Video
    Click: Subtitles/OSD (This is now highlited, not opened)
    Text rendering module – change this to “Dummy font renderer function”


    Re-open – done.
    Progam will no longer look outside self for fonts

    Source –

    1. Martin said on August 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      Great tip, thanks a lot Kishore.

  5. javier said on August 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    @Kishore, I’ll try your tips, but does this mean it will no longer show subtitles either?
    I do use subtitles, but the fontcache dialog box pops up (almost) everytime I play a file.

    Could this be related to the fonts I have installed? Or if I add/remove fonts to my system?

    I’ll try to do a fresh install also, if your tips does no work. I’ll post back here later…


  6. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,

  7. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,Dont worry, VLC is currently sorting out this issue and the next version will be out soon.

    No probs @ Martin !! Its my pleasure

  8. Ted said on October 22, 2010 at 3:57 am

    Try running LC with administrator privileges. That seemed to fix it for me

  9. Evan said on December 8, 2013 at 1:48 am

    I am using SMplayer 0.8.6 (64-bit) (Portable Edition) on Windows 7 x64. Even with the -nofontconfig parameter in place SMplayer still scans the fonts. Also, I have enabled normal subtitles and it is still scanning fonts before playing a video. Also, it does this every time the player opens a video after a system restart (only the fist video played).

  10. Mike Williams said on September 6, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Does that mean that only instrumental versions of songs will be available for non-paying users?

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