Final plans for a new service which could revolutionise TV viewing by providing programmes on demand were announced by the BBC Trust today.
But the decision to exclude classical music recordings from the iPlayer has sparked disagreement with the BBC Executive, headed by director general Mark Thompson.
The BBC iPlayer is the latest response from the broadcasting industry to the decline of traditional TV viewing with consumers expecting to choose when to watch programmes.
ITV is expected to announce its own "catch-up" service tomorrow, while Channel 4 launched its "on demand" facility in December.
The BBC is hoping that its service, which will allow viewers to catch up on programmes for seven days on cable or online, will be up and running by November.
TV fans will also be able to watch programmes streamed live over the Internet from their homes or on wireless laptops in locations like cafes and airports.
But classical recordings, as well as book-readings, will be excluded from the new service because of the potential to harm CD sales.
In the public consultation, 66% of respondents felt the BBC should offer either all or some radio broadcasts of classical music as downloads over the Internet.
Organisations like British Music Rights, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and the Association of British Orchestras were prepared to allow very short extracts of classical music to be downloaded in limited circumstances.
The BBC Executive asked that the BBC Trust allow "taster" pieces of music up to ten minutes long to be downloaded.
But the Trust responded that "the market for classical recordings is in a precarious state and to allow the BBC to offer free classical downloads may risk a loss of consumer value in the commercial market which could outweigh the public value gain."
Mr Thompson said: "We are delighted with the BBC Trust’s decision to approve our on-demand proposals.
"The first Public Value Test has been an extremely rigorous and exhaustive process.
"This is a significant decision as the new on-demand proposals are at the heart of the BBC’s Creative Future."
He added: "However, we disagree with the Trust’s decision to exclude classical music podcasts from the proposal.
"Our research suggests that classical music audiences would wish to download classical music programmes from the BBC and to listen to them on their terms, free at the point of use."
The BBC Trust’s announcement today follows an unprecedented 10,500 responses to its open consultation on the proposed system.
Following concerns about the impact on DVD sales the BBC will only release 15% of its series for stacking (the download or storage of an entire run of programmes).
Within this 15%, viewers will only be able to stack series with a "narrative arc" of beginning, middle and end, such as Bleak House and Doctor Who as opposed to the likes of EastEnders and Top Gear.
In order to protect the DVD market, after 30 days the series will be automatically wiped from the TV viewers’ computer.