View Full Version : BBC iMP - Catch Up For Free - On The Way

18-10-2005, 10:42

1. What is the BBC Integrated Media Player (iMP)?
iMP is a broadband service the BBC is developing that allows you to use the Internet to download and watch programmes from BBC TV and Radio. iMP allows you to catch up on BBC radio and TV programmes by downloading them to your PC or laptop for up to seven days after they are transmitted on radio/TV. If you have portable devices connected to your PC like a mobile phone or PDA you can watch or listen to these programmes on the move. [Top]

2. How does it work?
iMP uses peer-to-peer (P2P) technology to distribute the programmes via the Internet cost-effectively. Download times will depend upon the length of the programme and the speed of your Internet connection. On average a 30 minute programme will take just over that time to download if you have a broadband connection, (as opposed to five hours if you were to use a dialup connection!)

Once a programme has been downloaded, iMP uses digital rights management (DRM) software, which acts like a 'key' to prevent unauthorised users from watching the programme, as well as ensuring that the programme is deleted from your PC once the programme DRM expires. [Top]

3. Why is BBC conducting this trial?
Before the BBC commits to a full rollout service such as iMP we need to evaluate:

the demand for particular types of programmes and this type of service;
the value iMP offers to BBC licence fee payers; and
the overall impact of iMP on the commercial market.
This will assist the BBC Governors in evaluating its public value. [Top]

4. What can I do with iMP?
An awful lot. Not only can you download a programme once it has been broadcast, you can also:

Set the iMP application to download programmes which are coming up over the next seven days;
Search for programmes within the 14 day schedule either by programme type (genre) or BBC channel. For example: you can search for all 'Comedy' on 'BBC One';
Download programmes based on what you have downloaded in the past, as well as on the recommendations of some well-known BBC celebrities;
Transfer the downloaded programmes to your mobile device and view them offline once they have been downloaded;
Get subtitles (available for approximately 85% of the programmes); and
Decide which content is suitable for younger viewers, through a unique guidance rating next to the programme title, and use a pin code to block content bearing the symbol. [Top]

5. How long have I got to watch a programme?
All programmes are available to watch/use for 8 days from the day they are transmitted on TV/Radio. This means that if you go back 7 days in the 'Guide' then you will have only 1 day to watch the programme. [Top]

6. What happens to expired programmes?
Expired programmes are automatically deleted from your hard drive after the 8 day window has expired. [Top]

7. How do I know there will be no viruses in the file?
The programme files are checked for viruses and include a digital signature. This ensures that you cannot receive a virus when downloading a file. [Top]

8. Can I set up iMP to book a download for me ?
iMP will allow you to book a "Series download". You can do this either from the "Home" or from within the "Guide" sections of the application. The "Guide" provides an extensive selection of all "Series" available for download. [Top]

9. Isn't peer to peer illegal?
No. Applications like Napster and Kazaa and Bitorrent, which use peer to peer, have been used to illegally download content over the web (primarily music and films) but the technology itself is not in any way illegal. [Top]

10. Is it new? Is any other broadcaster also offering audio visual content over the internet in this way, either here or abroad?
The technology iMP is using isn't new. We believe, however, that the BBC is the first broadcaster to trial the downloading of TV and radio programmes in this way over the internet. [Top]

11. Won't offering BBC programmes over the internet in this way encourage piracy?
On the contrary, the idea behind iMP is to discourage the illegal downloading of BBC programmes by offering a legitimate way to get BBC content over the internet. [Top]

12. When can I get iMP?
iMP is still undergoing trials. Depending on the evaluation of the public trial, and approval by the BBC Governors it may move to a full service in 2006. [Top]

13. Will internet users abroad be able to get iMP?
No. The BBC will be using Geo-IP technology to restrict usage to UK users only. [Top]

14. When will I get iMP on Mac & Linux?
Currently, our supplier is working towards supporting a Mac and Linux version. [Top]

Technical Questions

15. What do I need to use iMP?

FOR PC (and the High Definition tests):

A broadband connection at home - 512kbps or higher
Windows 2000 or XP, with IE5.5 or later installed.
(This trial unfortunately does not support Apple Macs dues to the Digital Rights Management being Windows based)
Pentium 4 or above
512MB of RAM or above
64 MB video card
800x600 screen resolution or above
Windows Media player version 9 or above
Hard disk space of 4Mb for the iMP application and a minimum of 500Mbfree space for downloading programmes.
ActiveX controls need to be enabled from within the IE browser (this is normally a default)

The BBC is supporting the Orange SPV c500 only in this trial which should have:

Windows Mobile 5.0
Windows Media Player 9 or above [Top]

16. How much disk-space will the programmes take?
A typical 30 minute TV programme is around 112MB and a radio programme is 115MB. We recommend a minimum allocation of 500MB which is set as default when you install the iMP application. This amount of disk space enables you to download around 4 TV programmes of 30 minutes length. You can allocate as much of your disk space as you like. You may want to experiment with the disk space allocation during this trial.

You will also automatically receive TV and radio promotional trailers. Typically, you will receive no more than 4 minutes of audio/video trailers per week, which will take up around 32 MB of your disk space. [Top]

17.Where can I get more technical information about how the iMP works?
iMP is powered by an application from Kontiki. More information can be found on the Kontiki website under 'Secure delivery'. Find out more about Kontiki http://www.kontiki.com . The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites. [Top]

18. What is DRM- Digital Rights Management?
Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a term that covers the technology that can be used to manage and protect copyright material that is in digital form. DRM enables secure distribution and disables illegal copying and distribution of digital copyright material. Typically a DRM system protects digital copyright material by encrypting it so that the material can only be accessed by authorised users. The BBC is using DRM to manage and protect all programmes available on iMP. [Top]

19. I cannot download a programme? Why?

Have you recently deleted your cookies?

Your iMP registration may no longer work if you (accidentally) delete your Internet cookies. If you have deleted your cookies after installation of iMP, please uninstall and then re-install iMP. If you have used up your permitted number of installations then please get in touch with the BBC's iMP support at: Imp-help@bbc.co.uk [Top]

Check your firewall settings
If you have a firewall, you need to permit the Kontiki application which powers iMP to connect to the Internet.
In your firewall programme select the permissions screen and re-select/permit the Kontiki application access the Internet.

If you have the Norton Utilities Firewall programme, follow these steps to change your firewall settings. When the iMP programme is first installed the Norton Utilities Firewall programme will ask you whether you want to block or allow the Kontiki "Delivery Manager" application. (See screen shot below.) You should choose 'Permit' to allow the Kontiki application to access the Internet.

If you have the Norton Personal Firewall installed follow these steps to change your settings. The default option for the Norton Personal Firewall is to "Block" any unknown programme. You may have at some point chosen to "Block" the Kontiki application. To "Unblock" the Kontiki application first go to the main page ( as shown below). Select the Personal Firewall application and the select the Configure button.

From the Program Control screen (below), find the KHost.exe program and make sure this is set to "Permit All".


20. I can no longer see a programme I have downloaded in "Your Downloads"? Why?
It is likely that the 8 day period for your downloaded programme has expired-remember you can download and use programmes for 8 days from the day they are transmitted on TV/Radio. Once the 8 day period expires you will not be able to access the downloaded programme. [Top]

21. I keep getting a secure plugin error.
Please get in touch with BBC's iMP support at Imp-help@bbc.co.uk. [Top]

22. My screen freezes for about a minute and then produces an error every time I try to
download a programme.
Your computer may not meet the systems requirements for iMP. For systems requirements please read What do I need to use iMP?) [Top]

23.I have reset my account and the iMP application no longer works either at home or at the office.
Check which email address you are using to login. Have you changed your email address recently? [Top]

24. I've noticed the "Guide" and "Home" section are not available.
Are you connected to the Internet? The "Guide" and "Home" are only available when you are online and connected to the Internet. [Top]

25. The video is clear, but is blocky and out of sync. It could be a memory problem. Please check out the system requirements needed to run iMP. (See What do I need to use iMP?) [Top]

26. I am unable to view a programme because I keep getting a password error in spite of entering
it in exactly, several times.
Please get in touch with BBC's iMP support at Imp-help@bbc.co.uk [Top]

27. I use Windows XP Professional and have different users so I tried to install iMP under two accounts using the same username and password and am now having download problems.
If you use Windows XP Professional you need to have "power user" or "admin" status to be able to install iMP and use all its features. [Top]

28. I downloaded a program successfully and tried to watch it the next day but the program
wasn't available anymore.
It is likely that the 8 day period for your downloaded programme has expired-remember you can download and use programmes for 8 days from the day they are transmitted on TV/Radio. Once the 8 day period expires you will not be able to access the downloaded programme. [Top]

29. If I download and use iMP will my computer be vulnerable to virus attacks or can it used as a host to infect other computers with viruses?

The BBC has taken the following precautions to protect your computer and others from virus attacks:

All programmes are virus checked before being made available for you to download;

The BBC is using a a closed network to distribute programmes for use on iMP. The BBC controls the distribution of all programmes on this network through its suppliers who virus check all programmes prior to making them available for download.

All programmes distributed through the network have a digital fingerprint. Any attempts to tamper with or introduce a virus into a programme will be detected as a fingerprint mis-match and any affected programmes will not be distributed to your computer or others. [Top]

30. How do I transfer content to my mobile device?

During this trial, the BBC is testing the ability to move downloaded programmes across to portable devices. For those of you who have been given such devices by the BBC you can transfer content, by connecting your device to your PC and clicking on the ' Transfer to Mobile ' button on the bottom right hand side of the screen.

On clicking this button you will be presented with a File Explorer window which shows the mobile files you have currently downloaded. (They will have 'mob' suffix in front of each filename) Transfer the file to your portable device by selecting the desired file and right clicking your mouse (Ctrl+'R'). You will be presented with a little menu of 'Options'. Select 'Copy' (Ctrl+ 'C') or 'Cut' (Ctrl + 'X'). Don't shut the file explorer window yet as you will need to locate your portable device within the same file explorer window.

Browse to your portable device by going up several directory levels until you can locate it in the root of 'My Computer'. Paste the file at the desired location within your portable device (\Storage\My Documents\My Videos) on Your device or Your storage card (\Storage Card\My Documents\My Videos). You can store Audio and Video in the same folder or create a new folder (eg: 'My Audio') if you want to keep them separate.
You can play these files through your Windows Media Player application on your portable device.


Scouse Monkey
18-10-2005, 10:49
cool. now i need one for ITV, C4 and channel 5 and then i don't need to buy a TV.

14-11-2005, 16:16
Can this record Top Gear for playing back later?

Scouse Monkey
14-11-2005, 16:21

Terran, u is such a n00b!