BBC Quashes iPhone iPlayer App

A promising and potentially useful iPhone application that would have allowed users to browse, view and even download content from the BBC was blocked by the corporation.

Manchester-based iPhone developer Camiloo unveiled Rewat.ch last month. The application, £1.19 (US$1.79) at launch, would have allowed users to browse all BBC iPlayer RSS feeds from a simple user interface on their iPhone or iPod touch.

A YouTube demo sh

owed the ability to browse by channel, day, programme genre, and by the first letter of the programme name or by a search term.

Last week however, Camiloo posted a message on the Rewat.ch website: "Due to circumstances beyond our control, we are unable to release rewat.ch. If you have e-mailed want@rewat.ch, please be assured that we have removed your e-mail address from our list."

Mark Newby, Managing Director at Camiloo revealed more details when Macworld UK contacted the studio earlier this week.

"We were given a cease and desist order by the BBC legal department despite our best efforts to try and meet the BBC's requirements in any way possible," Newby said.

"We were willing to make the app available for free and consume the development costs ourselves but this was also quashed."

Rewat.ch would also have enabled users to download episodes from the BBC iPlayer service for the length of time set by the corporation. For the first time it would have been possible to watch BBC shows on the way to work, for example, on a tube or train.

Newby and his small team are clearly deflated by the whole experience, at a time when the BBC finally announced plans for two official iPhone applications covering news and sport, highlighting at launch World Cup football.

"We are sorry to have let down the UK iPhone community -- when we started the project we didn't imagine that we would come up against any form of opposition from the BBC, as our app offered a way for the broadcaster to fight against the culture of downloading illegally to watch on the go. Instead, content would have expired in line with the iPlayer service."

Camiloo also had some useful additions planned for Rewat.ch, currently not available from the BBC.

"We also had support for subtitles -- a vital accessibility feature not currently available on the iPlayer for iPhone web service -- developed to the proof-of-concept stage. This along with push notifications of favourite programme availability, automatic downloading of favourite episodes and a 'Twitter conversations' ticker were all planned updates."

Camiloo had hoped to license the technology to other broadcasters, so that TV content could have been enjoyed on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices.

The company will now, short term at least, concentrate on developing another potentially useful iPhone application. "We're now hard at work on apps for clients, and our next internal creation is a 'Pro' version of our popular Fuel Calc Lite application."

"This will include an odometer which uses GPS to track your car's fuel consumption showing you in real time how much a trip is costing you in fuel."

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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