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After much delay the BBC’s on-demand broadband TV catch-up service, named the iPlayer, is to launch on July 27th. The new service will offer broadband users access to TV and radio programmes from the BBC which have been broadcast over the past seven days.

The BBC announced yesterday that they were in discussions with potential distribution partners including MSN,, AOL, Tiscali, Yahoo, Myspace, Bebo and Blinkx. Unfortunately the iPlayer service will not be available on Apple computers at launch, although progress is being made to deliver the service on the Apple platform.

Not only will users be able to view TV shows from the past seven days but they will also be able to download programmes and save them on their computers for up to 30 days. Once opened, programmes will be viewable for up to seven days.

The BBC iPlayer project has been in gestation for almost three years, during which time TV competitors such as Channel 4, ITV, BSkyB, Virgin Media and Channel Five have launched their own on-demand services, to varying success.

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