The BBC's controversial iPlayer online catch-up TV service is to get a full launch by the end of the month. The player will receive its full "consumer marketing launch on Christmas Day".

That basically means a few ads in between the Queen's speech, Doctor Who and two depressing episodes of EastEnders as well as myriad links to the iPlayer from programme websites and the BBC homepage.

As for the iPlayer itself, either somebody's working long hours to perfect it, or all that will happen is the 'beta' tag will be removed from the name. We'd expect a basic update to fix some bugs and that's about it.

We're fans of the iPlayer - despite the platform-centric caveats. Though we have to confess that we uninstalled the first Tech.co.uk version of the iPlayer when the P2P Kontiki software that powers it decided to take the CPU usage on our 2.8GHz P4 upwards of 98 per cent. This meant there wasn't a lot else we could do with our ageing home PC. A known bug apparently. We have installed it on other, newer systems and it works like a treat.

Downloads still rooted to Windows XP

One thing the full release won't be helping with is Mac and Linux compatibility - at least not for downloads. They will remain rooted to Windows XP. However, a BBC partnership with Adobe will mean the launch of a streaming service that can also be used by other Windows installations as well as Mac and Linux owners using the Flash player plugin.

Streaming, like the download option, will be available for up to seven days after the programme has aired, while downloads can be kept for up to 30 days.

The BBC says it is now providing over 250 programmes per week over the service which is UK-only. Regional programmes will also be available.

Over time, the corporation says the iPlayer will include radio programmes and series stacking as well. The service will be available via a partnership with Virgin Media in early 2008 and on mobiles later in the year.