iPlayer launches on iPhone, iPod Touch.

The BBC has released a beta version of its iPlayer on demand service compatible with Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch devices.

The software uses the wi-fi connectivity available on both devices to deliver streams encoded at 516kbps, with 400kbps used for H.264 video and the remainder for AAC audio. Because of the bitrate used, programmes are not deliverable over iPhone's EDGE connection.

In a post on the BBC's internet blog, the corporation's head of digital media technologies Anthony Rose explained that content is transcoded for delivery over iPlayer to a variety of platforms including Flash streaming to web browsers, Windows Media DRM-protected downloads to PCs, and now the H.264 streams to Apple's mobile devices.

He explained: "Looking at the BBC iPlayer website, it all looks pretty simple - but beneath the hood, there's a lot of moving parts to deal with those real-time high-bitrate long-format incoming programmes, to process them, to QC them, and to make them available in BBC iPlayer, 24/7.

"The challenge is to continuously enhance that transcoding platform to support a whole host of new formats to make BBC iPlayer available in the coming months at higher and higher display resolution and quality, and on more and more devices."