The BBC iPlayer has been provided with a recent upgrade courtesy of an Adobe Flash upgrade. The upgrade has provided the iPlayer with a reason to encode its video content at a higher bit rate for its popular iPlayer VOD service.
At 800kbps and in H.264 format, the BBC promises better and sharper images which will be ideal for large size, HD ready screens and simultaneously, the BBC will start using AAC+ for audio.
This development also means that both the iTouch and the iPhone will be provided with better quality content via the iPlayer.
The move away from VP6 compression technology is due partly to the fact H.264 and AAC+ are fairly open platforms compared to the aforementioned one which was developed by On2.
Version of the iPlayer that are to be developed in the future will also detect which bit rate to stream automatically, enabling the new iPlayer to cater for a wide range of broadband speeds throughout the country.
“The advantage for the audience will be a noticeable improvement in audio and video quality. Furthermore, it should become easier for the media to simply work across a broader range of devices. While it’s not a magic bullet, it certainly is a significant step in the right direction.” - BBC director of future media and technology Erik Huggers
The Shelf has previous highlighted how Internet Service Providers had suggested that they should not carry sole responsibly for paying for the extra costs that come as a result of the popularity of the iPlayer’s success. (Titled ISPs vs BBC iPlayer)
Well, after this ISPs could be even more miffed, since it means that in effect, the bandwidth consumed by the average iPlayer user could jump by nearly 60 percent overnight piling pressure on them.
As big fans of Ubisoft recent PS3 offering Assassin’s Creed, news of the games manufacturer suing US duplication firm Optical Experts Manufacturing for $10 million after an early PC version leaked onto the internet, was news that certainly interested us.
Ubisoft has claimed that USD was directly responsible for the leak that happened in late February 2008, six weeks prior to the games official release.
According to a report on Gamespot, OEM ignored security protocols which would have prevented the leak. The contract that Ubisoft signed with OEM apparently stipulated that the code for the game would be held in top-level security and that no copies of the game would be allowed to leave the premises without permission. It is thought that an employee of the firm took the game home and uploaded it to internet.
The source of the leak was tracked down to the house of an employee of OEM. An OEM-manufactured copy of the game was later found at the employee’s residence, though the suit doesn’t specify when that copy was found.
Ubisoft has said that the security breach is directly responsible for 700,000 pirates downloads of game, including 25,000 downloads in one day from torrent site Yowzers.
Ubisoft described the breech as “an extraordinary breach of trust and gross negligence”
It also became clear in the report that the copy released was not the finished version of the game, and as a fail safe included a deliberate bug for security reasons causing the game to crash half way through.
As the game was released a short time after the breech it is believed that numerous reviews were written on the pirate version, causing “irreparable harm” to Ubi’s reputation.
As part of the legal action OEM now faces the full wrath of Ubisoft’s legal muscle, and is being sued for breach of contract, negligence and copyright infringement, with damages and legal fees also sought for the three claims to the tune of USD10 million.
Google’s new Street View service was this week given the go ahead in the UK after the service was given the okay forms the privacy watchdog. The service had attracted opposition from civil liberties campaigners concerned that that the service would infringe on individual’s right to privacy and break data protection laws.
The Street View system will take photos of streets at ground level to provide users of Google maps with a ground level view of the location they are viewing.
The information commissioner said in a statement that it was “satisfied” Google had put safeguards in place to avoid risking anyone’s privacy or safety. These safeguards include blurring the faces of people and number plates of vehicles.
The statement read – “Although it is possible that in certain limited circumstances an image may allow the identification of an individual, it is clear that Google are keen to capture images of streets and not individuals.”
It was also reiterated that due to the time delay between picture and update to the web, the service could not be used as a tracking tool.
The Street View tool has already been launched in the US in 2007 with ground views of a selection of major cities. It has since expanded it reach and is now looking to expand the service internationally.
Street View cars have been seen throughout the UK but Google has yet to reveal when pictures will be added to UK maps.
Google said of the ruling – “We’ve always said we will not launch in UK until we are comfortable Street View complies with local law,” they added, “and that we will use technology, like face-blurring, licence plate blurring and operational controls, such as image removal tools, so Street View remains useful and in keeping with local norms wherever it is available.”