Iplayer has taken over your computer – public broadcaster

I don't normally write about tech issues but after an evening with tech mate Matt with the lid off the computer – a very satisfying way to spend an evening I discovered Kservice.exe and after a good 15 minutes work managed to switch it off. Kservice is a programme that installs itself on your machine when you download the BBCs Iplayer or 4OD from Channel 4. We spotted it because it was taking about half (I repeat half) of the CPU load of the machine continually. This is a dual core PC running at 3Ghz with over 3GB of RAM. What does Kservice do with all that power?

Well TV programmes take up a lot of space and take some downloading. The Beeb doesn't have the bandwidth for us all to download directly at once. So once you have got a programme – how ingenious to set up a peer to peer facility – which is jargon for saying that when you think you are downloading a programme from the BBC actually you are downloading it from someone else's machine without their permission or knowledge. I still don't have a problem with this – its a creative solution to a network problem.

Gremlin What I object to is that Kservice takes so much of my computer's processing to send out signals from my PC that there is an Iplayer and there MAY be relevant programmes on it.  As of yesterday there was one programme on Iplayer I happen to have downloaded yesterday (an obscure documentary from BBC2 about TE Lawrence hardly a blockbuster). Normally there's nothing on iplayer.  Kservice wasn't using my computer to distribute programmes it was just making my machine available.  It took several tries to disable Kservice which came on automatically because Iplayer is launched at startup. We managed to switch off iplayer from startup and switch kservice to manual.

You can see if Kservice is running on your machine by clicking on the bottom bar of Windows and opening the task manager. Look under the Processes tab and sort by the CPU column – that shows in percentage terms which programmes are taking up most of your processor.

I appreciate the difficulties of making video content available to a mass market but this is wasteful of energy and computing resources. The BBC should behave better or should be a lot clearer about the performance degradation which the use of iplayer brings.

Here's a couple of other links to bear me out: here and here. Note that these posts are from 2007 and 2008. As of 2010 Kservice doesn't seem to have become any less of a gremlin.



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