The BBC and Adobe have joined forces to deliver streaming web video services of BBC content to computers using Flash.

The BBC plans to use Adobe Flash player to deliver its catch-up TV service, iPlayer, available as a streaming service for Mac, Linux and Windows computers.

The flash-based BBC iPlayer will have its public launch at Christmas when it will offer downloading and streaming services, as well as radio.

The service currently enables viewers to download and view around 400 hours of television programmes from the last seven days and store for up to 30 days.

The BBC iPlayer's on-demand streaming service will complement the download service currently available. The relationship between Adobe and the BBC is described as "non-exclusive".

This will also allow the BBC to provide a single consistent user experience for the majority of streamed video and audio content on the broadcaster's website.

Erik Huggers, BBC Future Media and Technology group controller said: "I'm delighted to announce this strategic relationship with Adobe. It is important to ensure that BBC iPlayer is available on as many platforms as possible.

He added: "It will offer our audiences increased flexibility as to how and when they consume our content, both live and on-demand, on bbc.co.uk. With a complete end-to-end workflow, Adobe's video solutions will revolutionise how we create and deliver content to audiences in the digital age."

Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen said: "Adobe is driving the next generation of video delivery by accelerating the fusion of TV and the internet. With more control over playback, interactivity and branding, the move to Flash Player compatible video will help the BBC to engage audiences by delivering a seamless, instant-on web video experience."

However, a BBC report explains the broadcaster has not committed to offering the iPlayer to Mac and Linux users who want to download and keep content on their machines for a limited period.

Highfield said: "We need to get the streaming service up and look at the ratio of consumption between the services and then we need to look long and hard at whether we build a download service for Mac and Linux. It comes down to cost per person and reach at the end of the day."

BBC iPlayer is only available to UK audiences and cannot be accessed outside the country.

And in related news, the BBC last night announced a new deal with WiFI hotspot operator, The Cloud. Undee this deal the BBC's online services will be made available free of charge at 7,500 hotspots around the UK.

Users will be able to look at BBC websites, and watch programmes and listen to shows using iPlayer.

Any WiFi enabled device will be able to surf the BBC's website in one of The Cloud's hotspots without paying a log-in or subscription fee, though streamed video will require a computer when the service launches.

Users will be able to watch streamed versions of TV programmes inside a web browser, as well as share video with friends via sites such as Facebook and blogs.