The BBC is ahead of the curve with "rich" Internet content. They have begun a pilot project that could lead to all of their TV content being available on the Internet on demand:
- The future of television is almost upon us: the day when we spend our train or bus journey to work catching up on the shows we missed the night, or even several days, before.
....Viewers will be able to scan an online guide and download any show. Programmes would be viewed on a computer screen or could be burned to a DVD and watched on a television set. Alternatively, programmes could be downloaded to a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), a hand-held computer that is becoming increasingly popular in Britain
....The three-week pilot, called iMP (Internet Media Player), will allow 500 of the corporation's staff to step into this new world of viewing. They will be given PDAs and access to a range of BBC programmes, which will include the soap EastEnders and the hospital drama Holby City. Also available will be the series One Life, the dramas Cutting It and Grease Monkeys, the motoring show Top Gear and news bulletins.
Sneak previews of parts of programmes will also be offered, but no full shows will be viewable until after they have been broadcast. The programmes will then be available online for a week.
"We might get an over-positive response because I think a lot of BBC staff would love to be able to catch up on the programmes they missed last night on the bus or on the train," Mr Highfield said. "The quality is staggeringly good. It's slightly better than you get on the seat-backs if you are in a plane, although PDAs have a slightly smaller screen."
After the BBC pilot, an external trial will be launched with 1,000 people selected from subscribers with the broadband service providers AOL, BT and Tiscali.
The trial will examine whether people watch more television with iMP and if they change their viewing patterns, such as "starting to watch EastEnders in the morning", Mr Highfield said.