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BBC tests downloads of TV programmes to viewers' PCs

LONDON – The BBC is testing technology that will enable viewers to download and watch programmes such as 'EastEnders' on their home computers.

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The interactive media player (iMP) will allow users to record shows up to a week before they are aired and play them a week after they have been broadcast.

The BBC believes the software can avoid potential copyright and piracy issues because it gives users only a two-week window in which to view the downloaded programmes.

The right to watch a show is activated once it is broadcast and is deactivated seven days later.

The BBC expects 1,000 people to test the iMP over the next three months.

If the trial is successful, iMP stands to become part of the corporation's strategy to digitise production and encourage more viewers to embrace digital TV before the government switches off the analogue signal in 2012.

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