bbc iplayer - is it a bandwidth hogger?

  theDarkness 18:11 19 May 2010

I have a friend that uses the iplayer service once every couple of days for one episode of childrens bbc programs. They have just been sent a large bill for the last 3 months, which shows they went over their download limit by around 30 gig (their limit was around the same!), yet this is the only downloading they ever bother with.

I am wondering since the iplayer is based on peer to peer technology, if the iplayer therefore does not stop uploading even after exiting/switching the program off (eg the iplayer service may keep running in the background)? This may be why they are stated as going over their download limit (perhaps uploading as with most companies adds on to their general data usage). Has anyone monitored the bbc iplayer, and if so can they verify that the program keeps running even after closing?

I am wondering what anyone can recommend for a simple freeware download/upload monitoring tool?

  tullie 18:13 19 May 2010

Check if its running in the taskbar.Try Tautology Bandwith Meter

  theDarkness 18:21 19 May 2010

I heard its not as trustworthy as that, and might not show in the taskbar at all, only in start>run>msconfig services, so I think Ill just install 'iplayer desktop' and give it a quick go myself to find out. I heard the iplayer was set to disappear very soon anyway. Im guessing they might be planning to either get rid of the current torrent technology they use for the service, or by replacing it with a program more honest to the customer-that actually tells you its still in use, lol. thanks

  theDarkness 18:32 19 May 2010

I just found this on the wiki "There was criticism levelled at the iPlayer's use of KService from Kontiki, the peer-to-peer application which continues to use users' bandwidth, even after the iPlayer has been shut down,[28] though this could be controlled using options available within the software. Because of this, users may have been charged by their Internet service provider for exceeding their download limit or fair use policy.[29] However, since the new client was introduced in December 2008 the Kontiki P2P system has not been used"

so it would seem even if their net provider hasnt got their numbers wrong, iplayer may not be the cause

  wiz-king 19:12 19 May 2010

Any streaming video uses a lot of bandwith, HD iPlayer has a bit rate of 3.2Mbs - you may do the maths!

  theDarkness 19:44 19 May 2010

Im not sure if they used any hi-def version of iplayer, but if most progs are good quality anyway, and it still uploads content non stop even whilst nothing is playing (with iplayer in the taskbar or not) then its not looking good!

  octal 20:57 19 May 2010

You got me worried, I use iplayer a lot to catch up on the programmes I miss, so I've checked my internet log on what I've used click here which is quite low, certainly no more than is usual for me. I use Linux so I'm wondering if that has got something to do with not showing a large amount of traffic.

I'm just wondering if you friend has got a nasty that's calling home, 30GB seems a huge amount to me.

  theDarkness 21:13 19 May 2010

good point :) ill need to find out if theyre using either just the browser to watch programmes, or the actual iplayer desktop program, as im not sure if the iplayer service only uploads if 'iplayer desktop' has been installed.. and also get them to do a full malware scan. thanks

  Simsy 22:27 19 May 2010

but I think...
The peer to peer issue applies only to the Desktop application. If you download that, and then download progs for subsequent watching the peertopeer comes into play...

If you are watching streamed content it doesn't.

I repeat I'm not an expert on this and am open to correction!



  Sea Urchin 23:07 19 May 2010

I find downloading a program from BBCiPlayer uses on average 2% of the CPU and Adobe Air about 1% as the download begins. KService (Kontiki) is not used at all. Once the download completes then all CPU activity ceases. I have always found that if I go over 5GB of downloads in a month iPlayer warns me of possibly exceeding my ISP's limit - in fact I have a 40GB limit.

You can always check on the General Settings tab on iPlayer to see exactly how much you have downloaded at any one time.

  theDarkness 23:30 19 May 2010

ill need to look for a basic vista compatible broadband meter for them to have on their system, but its too bad they cant use it now as proof that they didnt go over their monthly limit. since the bill was for 3 months and they supposedly went over their usage by 20-30Gb, they probably wont be able to do much about it. Im not sure if its possible for them to find out exactly when the bulk of this usage was taken-even if the internet company can only state the exact times and mb downloaded, that might still give a better insight into whether it was iplayer to blame or not.

I tried the online only iplayer, my own "sent" bytes info did seem to keep going for quite a while before stopping completely, although thats hardly solid proof that the web only service from the bbc was both sending as well as receiving the same tv programme data as any regular torrent would do


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