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iPlayer Streams 7 Petabyte Of Content Per Month, Coming to Freeview Soon

BBC's iPlayer has been one of the most successful products of the corporation in the past few years and after the failure of Kangaroo and potential legal issues associated with Canvas, it has taken a bigger part in BBC's current plans.

In an interview with CNet UK website, Crave, Andthony Rose revealed that during peak time, the iPlayer content distribution network churns out a whopping 7.5GB worth of data every second, which translates to 7 Petabyte worth of data every day.

Think that's huge? Well, Hulu, the video website backed by major studios, streamed 17 Petabytes worth of video in 2008 while Youtube achieved 31 Petabytes over the same period. By 2012, Cisco VNI estimates tha tthe monthly bandwidth consumed by online Commercial videos will reach around 5 Exabytes (that's 5000 Petabytes).

But the iPlayer, as a non-commercial platform, still retains some interesting features. For one, It is very popular on the iPhone with 1.5Gbps bandwidth allocated to Apple's nifty smartphone (ed: since iPhones support low res content, that must mean that an awfully big number of iPhone users use the iPlayer). Then there's the fact that it is available only in the UK (at least for now).

Rose revealed that the BBC uses 60 dual Quad Core Intel Xeon servers (ed: that's surely workstations) to encode thousands of hours of content that the corporation has stored on .... tapes. Ultimately, they manage to churn out around 60 hours worth of content per day. He also said that iPlayer would shortly morph into a more personalised version with series link built in as well as pre-booking downloads, possibly with a "favourites" feature as well.

With nearly 500 million requests to stream BBC content via the iPlayer, the corporation has also launched a new CBeebies iPlayer for children up to the age of six, which will also include a parental guidance lock, a series catch ups. This will give parents more flexibility and freedom to choose what their children watch and when. That's the plan anyway.

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In related news, the MD of Freeview, Ilse Howling, has announced that iPlayer-capable Freeview set top boxes will be available by the end of the year, almost 12 months before BBC, BT and ITV brings out the first devices based around Canvas, another Video on Demand platform. iPlayer-enabled Freeviews STBs are likely to connect to the internet wirelessly or by using an Ethernet cable.

Related Links

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iPlayer at 7 petabyte/month peak

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.