BBC's Barcelona means you'll never want for anything


Most decent TV shows, and plenty of not so great failures, make it onto DVD these days, and in the next couple of years even more will be available on Blu-ray. But if the future is solid state data storage- from films to music- then obviously we’ll be needing these transferring to digital files, rather than physical items.
As ever the BBC, along with numerous other broadcasters no doubt, has already been thinking about this, and believe the solution is ‘Project Barcelona’. Quite why it’s been given such a title is unclear, as this is about entertainment, not covert operations abroad. Regardless, it’s a sign of the times that promises much, including the opportunity for renewed criticism directed at Auntie.
Quite simply the idea is this: allow programmes shown on BBC to be downloaded for keeps immediately after they’re aired on TV. Obviously this answers the age old quandary of how to get our hands on ‘that show’; there simply aren’t enough hours in the year to commit everything screened to home release proper, so some gems are still woefully unavailable. This, of course, sounds like a fantastic idea. There is at least one potential problem though.
Bosses at the Beeb have already made a statement in response to the suggestion that there may be some naysayers that have an issue with people paying £1.89 for a programme they have already funded through a license fee. Pre-emptive yes, but it’s a good comeback, using the example of DVD and VHS, wherein the public happily pays extra to take home and watch at their own leisure. All of which is fair enough.
Yet this attitude disregards an integral point. Physical items cost far more money to produce, granted not the £15 price tag a shiny disc often tries to convince us is reasonable, but still more than a digital equivalent. And, regardless of the fact computer files also require investment to get right (someone has to create and master them), most of the public don’t want to acknowledge this. That’s why free music is everywhere, and we can now store an overwhelming amount of TV shows, recorded at the touch of a button, on an average digital box. Regardless of technological progress then, the same issues with ownership may still prevail… we shall see.