The BBC will launch its iPlayer service on July 27th offering on-demand TV services to UK licence owners.

Viewers will be able to access the player via the BBC's website and can download a programme which will then delete itself after being watched.

After downloading a show the file will give a viewer 30 days in which to watch it, but it can only be viewed once.

Ashley Highfield, director of future media and technology, said: "BBC iPlayer is a free catch-up service for UK licence-fee payers.

"Your favourite programmes from all the BBC's network TV channels will be available to download over the internet and watch on your PC without advertising for up to a week after transmission."

The director of BBC Vision, Jana Bennett, hailed the new service as "revolutionary" and said it offered audiences "more value".

"From now on they never have to miss out on their favourite programmes - or those that they didn't previously have the opportunity to try," Ms Bennett added.

Far from being a standalone application, the iPlayer will eventually link up with the BBC site and YouTube.

The BBC also said it was developing another version of the player for Apple Macs and Microsoft Vista as well as holding discussions with Virgin Media to make it available on cable.

Mr Highfield added: "Our vision is for BBC iPlayer to become a universal service available not just over the internet, but also on cable and other TV platforms, and eventually on mobiles and smart handheld devices."

The version available on July 27th will be an open beta version which will then be succeeded by a full marketed version in the autumn.

27/06/2007 15:44:49