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BBC Trialing Internet Multicast TV & Radio

BBC Research and Development is cooperating with the UK commercial broadcaster ITV on a technical trial to deliver high-quality audio and video over the internet by making their channels available for the first time as multicast streams.

Although the BBC has previously experimented with multicast streams, notably for the Olympics, this is the first time that television channels have been made available continuously in this way.

It could pave the way for the whole country to be able to watch television over the internet, although that is still �a long, long way away,� according to Tom Loosemore, head of strategic innovation at the BBC. �We want to offer live TV eventually and so this is clearly one area where we�re trying to help the UK internet become ready for that.�

The channels available in the technical trial include the four main BBC television channels plus News 24, and the four main ITV commercial networks. The channels are being provided in a variety of formats, with the BBC television networks available in both MPEG-2 at 5Mbps and MPEG-4 H.264 at around 1.2Mbps. The ten BBC national radio networks will also be available, including feeds using the AAC advanced audio compression scheme.

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