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.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.