BBCThe BBC will launch its iPlayer on-demand TV service on 27 July.

The player will allow UK licence fee payers to catch up on news, and other programming, for free online for up to a week after transmission.

The BBC will also seed promotional clips to YouTube and link back to BBC iPlayer for the full programme.

The corporation is also in discussion with a range of potential distribution partners, including MSN,, AOL, Tiscali, Yahoo!, MySpace, Blinkx and Bebo.

However, these deals are dependent on the BBC Trust ratifying new syndication policy and management guidelines.

Once downloaded, programmes from the player will exist for up to 30 days before the file expires. The file will also delete itself after a full viewing.

Jana Bennett, director of BBC Vision, said: "This is a significant moment, as it heralds a new era when viewers will have the freedom to watch programmes from the BBC's linear TV channels when they want.

"It's a revolutionary service which offers audiences more value, because 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."

The new device has been developed by the BBC's Future Media & Technology division in partnership with Siemens, which has responsibility for technical infrastructure, and Red Bee Media, which has responsibility for coding content and quality control.

It's currently in closed environment testing amongst some 15,000 people. It will go live to the general public in open beta test on 27 July.

The number of users allowed to use the service at any one time will increase over the summer before a full marketing launch in the autumn.

"We are committed to making it as easy as possible to use BBC iPlayer. Developing a version for Apple Macs and Microsoft Vista is absolutely on our critical path.

"We're also committed to making it available on the Television screen, which is why we are delighted to be working with Virgin Media towards a launch on cable later this year. We are hopeful that other TV platforms will follow soon after," said Ashley Highfield, director of Future Media & Technology, in a press statement.

"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."

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