FAQ

This FAQ page is no longer maintained (see my reasons here). Please use the get_iplayer mailing list.

Q1) On Unix/Linux/MacOSX why can I not record or stream the flash versions of programmes?

get_iplayer needs flvstreamer installed to be able to do this:

1) Download flvstreamer for your OS from here
2) Rename the file: mv flvstreamer-whatever $HOME/flvstreamer
3) make it executable: chmod 755 $HOME/flvstreamer
4) Tell get_iplayer where to find it by saving it in the prefs: get_iplayer –prefs-add –flvstreamer $HOME/flvstreamer

Q2) Why do all my recorded files have the .flv extention?

For get_iplayer to automatically convert these flash video files you need to have ffmpeg installed. If you do have ffmpeg installed but not in the path then try telling get_iplayer where it is by using the option –ffmpeg=/path/to/ffmpeg. Some older versions of ffmpeg fail to convert flv to mp4 or avi properly and will just leave the flv file intact.

Q3) In Windows Vista I cannot see the downloaded files in the get_iplayer Download Folder.

On the top toolbar of the get_iplayer Download file window there is an option that says ‘compatibility files’ click that and you should then see them.

Q4) In iphone mode, why does the programme not record or stream when the programme is clearly available on the iPlayer web page?

The BBC separately encodes the iPhone versions of the programmes. Sometimes they just take longer than the flash versions to become available. In some cases a few programmes don’t quite make it.

Q5) Can I record or stream BBC iPlayer content from outside of the UK.

For TV mostly not; the BBC simply check that you have a UK based IP address before allowing you to get access to the download credentials. However, some of the iPlayer radio, live radio and podcast content is available outside of the UK. The iPlayer radio is typically streamed at lower quality than in the UK.

Q6) Does rtmpdump still work with newer get_iplayer versions?

This tool is never formally tested with get_iplayer there can be no guarantees that it will work at all. You really should use flvstreamer instead for recording or streaming BBC iPlayer content. There were legal threats to Sourceforge with the hosting of rtmpdump in the past (it was taken offline by Sourceforge in May 2009) because adobe complained that it ‘can be used to download copyrighted works’.

Q7) Why is it 1980 again? What are all these DOS commands?

Don’t fret – Margaret Thatcher is not back in power and you haven’t really experienced a tardis-like time warp. get_iplayer is a ‘command-line’ application. It doesn’t yet have an officially supported graphical user interface although a few developers are independently working on them. Command line applications can be very simple to use. Read the documentation page for simple examples.

Q8) Do I need a UK TV license to record or stream iPlayer TV or Radio?

No. You only need a UK TV license to receive, record or stream live or near-live TV (includes channels from any country by whatever means!)

Q9) Why on win32 do I get recv error ‘10060’ or ‘ERROR: ReadPacket, failed to read RTMP packet header’ when trying to stream flash modes?

Try downloading and running the latest get_iplayer Windows Installer (v2.61) and run it again to reinstall flvstreamer. This problem was caused by an incorrect socket timeout bug in flvstreamer prior to versions 2.1a.

Q10) Why do I get this: ERROR: Invalid option in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users/get_iplayer/options: ‘itvnothread = 1′

If you installed the get_iplayer automated installer v2.0+ before August 5th 2009 then you will have seen this error. To fix it please edit the C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\get_iplayer\options file using wordpad and remove the line ‘itvnothread 1′ then save. Alternatively, just run the installer again.

Q11) What modes should I use to get the highest quality recording or streaming?

The following modes will give you the highest quality BBC iPlayer TV (starting with the highest): –modes flashhd,flashvhigh,flashhigh,iphone,flashlow,flashstd,flashnormal,n95_wifi,n95_3g. To see details of these modes and their bitrates see this page on beebhack. For iPlayer Radio these modes are the highest quality (starting with the highest): –modes flashaac,iphone,flashaudio,realaudio,wma. Estimates of the resulting file sizes can be seen by using the –info option instead of –get.

Q12) Why are the ITV, Hulu, Channel4, Five plug-ins not working?

These plug-ins are no longer supported. Please don’t request support for them.

Q13) How do I report a bug or issue with get_iplayer or Web PVR Manager?

It is best to describe the problem as a comment on the web page for the tool. If the trace is very long I suggest emailing to iplayer2 (at sign) linuxcentre.net. Please always include the program versions, the platform you are using and the command you are running. If is often helpful to add the –verbose option when sending any text output.

Q14) With Windows7 and Vista why do I get “Exception: STATUS_ACCESS_VIOLATION”?

See Q15.

Q15) With Windows 7 and Vista why can I not record programmes and get an FLVstreamer error saying “Failed to open file! C:/Program Files/get_iplayer/Downloads/….” ?

Vista and Windows 7 appear to not allow applications to save data into system folders (which is a good thing). To work around this you should tell get_iplayer to use a different recording location e.g.:
‘get_iplayer –add-prefs –output=C:\Users\[myusername]\Desktop\Recordings\’. Then create the new folder that you have selected. Better still just run the latest installer as this is all done automatically.

Q16) I get an error saying “ERROR: Duplicate Option Defined ‘itvnothread’ -> ‘mmsnothread’ and ‘itvnothread'”, how do I fix this ?

This is because you have a very old version of the obsolete ITV plugin on your system. Simply delete the plugin file and it will be corrected. The ITV plugin is usually found in ‘~/.get_iplayer/plugins/itv.plugin’ or ‘C:\Documents and Settings\[myusername]\.get_iplayer\plugins\itv.plugin’.

Q17) Why can I only see the last few hundred lines in the get_iplayer window under Windows?

You need to set the size of the command buffer as follows on the get_iplayer window: (1) Right-click in the top left corner of the title bar and choose Properties. (2) Select the Layout tab, (3) Set the width and height in the Screen Buffer Size section to something nice and big.

Q18) On Windows, why do my recordings often fail part of the way though?

It could be that your anti-virus / anti-malware / anti-spyware / personal firewall / file-sharing blocker is getting in the way of the RTMP connection. Try disabling this software (at your own risk) to see if it makes any difference. I have had reports specifically that ‘AVG link scanner’ causes this problem.

Q19) Why does get_iplayer keep retrying the recordings every minute?

This is because the BBC have started to roll-out ‘SWF verification’ feature on their content delivery networks. This feature is not (and never will be) supported by flvstreamer (the tool that get_iplayer uses to record flash streams). flvstreamer disconnects after the flash server disconnects the client after a timeout which is currently set to around 1 minute. After this get_iplayer, as usual, tries to resume the programme recording. This shouldn’t cause any problems except for the obvious increased resume attempts which can add a second or two overhead per attempt..

Q20) Why does iPlayer TV streaming fail after a minute?

See Q19. This is currently broken. There may be improved support for streaming of non-live programmes in the future. Unfortunately for the time being you will have to record it before watching it.

160 Comments

  • On December 27th, 2009, David John said:

    Erm – oops – cheers. (Old = last June? At my age (don’t ask) – um.)

    Going like a dream – ta – DJ

    • On December 28th, 2009, Jo said:

      Re-installed and OK now. I installed it by pasting command into Terminal but it stayed at the same version. Now I installed the ‘deb’ and ran it for version 2.52

      Thank you.

      • On December 29th, 2009, Doug said:

        I’ve used get_iplayer for several months using xp pro and have had very few techy problems but one very basic thing is that when I search using a broad term e.g. get_iplayer –type=radio it lists them all but then all I can see is T to Z and A to S is missing. How do I ensure I can see all the listings?

        • On December 30th, 2009, linuxcentre said:

          The windows command box has a limited scrollback. Try setting the window options to make the buffer larger. Or, just specify a more limited search term.

        • On December 31st, 2009, linuxcentre said:

          1) No, AFAIK id3v2 does not support it. 2) It already does that.

          • On January 4th, 2010, Mugsy said:

            First of all, a VERY Happy New Yeay to everyone, and thank you for such an amazing application. Initially I was over-whelmed with all the commands but when you sit down and go through it step by step it really is quite simple.

            I listen to Radio 7 a great deal, and am wondering whether I am getting the best quality. For example, for Sleepy Hollow episode 3 I am using:

            get_iplayer –pid b007xrtx –modes=flashaacstd

            Is this a better quality option than iPhone mode? Lastly, by doing the above am I getting a ‘pure’ download of the BBC file, or is any transcoding taking place? I prefer pure files even if they are AAC.

            Many thanks again,

            M

            • On January 4th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

              Hi, iphone for radio is typically 128kbps mp3. If you can get flashaachigh,flashaacstd (both native AAC) then these are better quality than iphone,flashaudio (both native MP3). No transcoding ever takes place on flash or iphone modes. I’d recommend the following –radiomodes=flashaachigh,flashaacstd,iphone,flashaudio

              iphone and flashaudio are identical quality – just iphone is simpler/quicker to download.

              • On January 4th, 2010, Mugsy said:

                Thank you so much for your quick response – much appreciated. And cheers for that information :)

                Last question: when recording an HD program, I wish to use the –raw command. Does it matter where this command is used? i.e.:

                get_iplayer –type=tv –get 184 –vmode=flashhd
                –flvstreamer=’C:/Program files/get_iplayer/flvstreamer’ –raw

                Thank you.

                • On January 4th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

                  That looks fine. Order is not important on any option. FYI: –raw will leave the mp4 stream still muxed in the flv format – the demuxing to mp4 does not alter the quality in any way – you probably already knew that though.

                  • On January 4th, 2010, Mugsy said:

                    Oh no I didn’t know that. I just didn’t want to lose any quality so figured I needed to keep it in its FLV state. But if demuxing to MP4 doesn’t lower the qualty then I’ll leave out the –raw command then (also means it’ll play easily in the PS3 as an MP4. Great!).

                    A gazillion thanks again :)

            • On January 4th, 2010, John Dinton said:

              If I select –mode flashstd or flashhigh the file seems to be downloaded as .flv and is then transcoded to .mp4. Is there any way I can tell it to leave it as .flv and not transcode it? (If it is relevant I have used the Windows installer.)

              • On January 4th, 2010, John Dinton said:

                Sorry, I see this has already been answered in the previous question. I need to use –raw.

              • On January 4th, 2010, John Dinton said:

                How do I use the -o or –output option in Windows XP? -o ‘h:\getipl’ and ‘h:\getipl\’ give No such file or directory at get_iplayer.pl line 4022. I have separate program and data partitions. The data partition is much larger so I want downloads to go to it.

                • On January 4th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

                  Update to get_iplayer v2.54 – I just fixed that on Saturday :-)

                  You might also want to check out the new installer (see my latest blog post fort a link) which allows you to choose this recordings folder location upon installation.

                  • On January 4th, 2010, John Dinton said:

                    Many thanks for your reply. I haven’t yet tried the new installer, but I have updated from v2.53 to v2.55. A mistake I had made was to enclose the partition letter and directory name in quotes. Now I have removed those it works.

                • On January 4th, 2010, John Dinton said:

                  Does specifying –pid cause confusion between –info and –get? I wanted to find out if the flashhigh version was available yet so I used
                  get_iplayer –info –tv –modeflashhigh –pid b00psz6p
                  As the flshstd version was in my download history it told me to use –force, and when I did it started to download, which was not what I was expecting.
                  I had previously used the index, 17, instead of –pid but that was pointing to a different programme than it was 10 hours earlier, so the index seems to be of limited use.

                  • On January 4th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

                    –pid tells get_iplayer to record an arbitrary pid – it cannot be used for searching. If you want to just search for a pid (and get info only etc) use:

                    get_iplayer –fields=pid b00psz6p

                    • On January 4th, 2010, John Dinton said:

                      Thanks for clarifying that.
                      –fields=pid b00psz6p does indeed work, but
                      –fields=pid tv:b00psz6p says 0 Matching Programmes

                      • On January 4th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

                        Nah, –fields just tells get_iplayer what fields to do a text/regex search on. If the pid is ‘b00psz6p’ then putting tv: in front of it will result in no match… I think you are trying to do:

                        get_iplayer –fields=pid b00psz6p –type=tv

                        • On January 4th, 2010, John Dinton said:

                          Yes that was what I was trying to do. Where I was getting confused was the example on the Documentation page under PVR usage for a one-off recording from a specific pid. It uses the form
                          –pid=tv:b00psz6p. –pid b00psz6p also works, so inserting a type prefix seems to be optional with –pid. If I try to use a type prefix with –fields=pid it stops it working, because as you say the prefix is not part of the pid.

                  • On January 4th, 2010, John Dinton said:

                    Now that it has been fixed, you can use the -o or –output option to specify a file name. You will need to use –force as well.

                    • On January 4th, 2010, John Dinton said:

                      Sorry, I did try it before I posted that reply, but forgot to check the result before opening my mouth. You can’t specify a file name, but you can specify distinct folders for each download. If you try to specify a file name it will create a folder with that name to put the file in. (In my example it created a folder called feral.mp3)

                    • On January 5th, 2010, Ed Tew said:

                      Hi,
                      I have installed get_iplayer and the Web PVR onto my UBUNTU web server as a CGI module. I can record iPlayer TV through the interface but I cannot get the files to play back through the PVR.

                      I was attempting to stream the files from the Linux box to a Windows Vista PC to be played back with VLC but it does not seem to work.

                      The PVR generates a M3U file that VLC can open but the stream does not start.

                      Is this an issue with running the PVR as a Apache module versus using it’s internal web server?

                      I can play the files in VLC if I have the Output folder as a Samba share and open the files directly so I believe the recording and transcoding has worked correctly.

                      I believe that the PVR CGI is not streaming the files correctly through apache.

                      This is the link from the M3U file
                      http://ub-media:80/iplayer?ACTION=direct&PROGTYPES=tv&PID=b00plz8y&MODES=flashhd1&HISTORY=0&OUTTYPE=Doctor_Who_Confidential_-_Allons-y_b00plz8y_default.mp4&STREAMTYPE=flv&BITRATE=&VSIZE=&VFR=

                      • On January 5th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

                        What versions of get_iplayer & cgi, vlc ? What precisely did you click to get to that URL?

                        • On January 5th, 2010, Ed Tew said:

                          Hi, thanks for the reply

                          Get_iplayer 2.55
                          CGI 0.59
                          vlc on server version 0.9.9a
                          vlc on vista client 1.03a
                          Firefox 3.56 on vista client

                          Clicked on the Recordings tab then on the play item in the action list of the recorded file.

                          This then opens up the firefox downloads window and I select Open with VLC and VLC just fails to play the file.

                          So I opened the M3U file in Wordpad to haver a look at the URL it was passing and the link is what I get.

                          • On January 5th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

                            Have you looked at your apache error log? Does it have the following error: Unknown encoder ‘libfaac’ ? Or any other error?

                            • On January 5th, 2010, Ed Tew said:

                              yes, hit the nail on the head,
                              I am just updating ffmpeg and x264 libfaac etc hope it fixes things,
                              Thanks again.

                              • On January 5th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

                                Good luck, my newest Fedora11 one now *doesn’t* have this built-in – strange – it did in Fedora10!

                      • On January 6th, 2010, Ed Tew said:

                        Got it working thanks, I followed the instructuions at http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=786095
                        to get x264 and ffmpeg up to date.
                        The apache log showed that the stream was started but stopped due to ffmpeg libfaac errors and therefore the client VLC got nothing.

                        It works now although my WiFi and server are not up to the heavy lifting of streaming 1280×720 HD content.

                      • On January 11th, 2010, David Emerson said:

                        Can’t figure out how to download this video. Here is a link:
                        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8450385.stm

                        So all I want to do is download the video on that page. I’ve spent about 40 minutes trying different commands. Any clues on how to do this?

                        • On January 11th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

                          If you try:
                          get_iplayer http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8450385.stm

                          It says: ‘try using –modes=flashnormal’

                          So try the suggestion:

                          get_iplayer http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8450385.stm –modes=flashnormal

                          • On January 11th, 2010, David Emerson said:

                            Thanks for the quick response!
                            I managed to solve this problem via other means: I am using get_iplayer v2.51, and according to the changelog at http://linuxcentre.net/get_iplayer/CHANGELOG.txt :

                            v2.53 * Auto-detect http: URLs in a search term and set it as if it were a –url option.

                            So I tried specifying –url before the url, and it now works great (without any modes specified)

                            Previously, aside from copyright/warranty, the only output I was getting was: INFO: 0 Matching Programmes

                            Cheers,
                            David

                            • On January 12th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

                              Excellent! I guess mine needs it because I don’t have flashnormal in my modes default settings.

                        • On January 12th, 2010, Nick Francis said:

                          Entering the following line on mac osx and getting the same error…everything is installed…..

                          ./get_iplayer –get http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8451317.stm

                          get_iplayer v2.58, Copyright (C) 2008-2010 Phil Lewis
                          This program comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details use –warranty.
                          This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it under certain
                          conditions; use –conditions for details.

                          INFO Trying to stream pid using type tv
                          INFO: pid not found in tv cache
                          Matches:
                          : – , , ,

                          INFO: 1 Matching Programmes
                          INFO: Checking existence of default version
                          INFO: No specified modes (iphone) available for this programme with version ‘default’ (try using –modes=flashnormal)
                          ERROR: Failed to record ‘ – (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8451317.stm)’
                          iMac-Nick:~ nick$

                          Any ideas?

                          • On January 12th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

                            try using –modes=flashnormal ?

                            • On January 12th, 2010, Nick Francis said:

                              Have tried & get the same error….

                              ./get_iplayer –modes=flashnormal http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8451317.stm

                              INFO Trying to stream pid using type tv
                              INFO: pid not found in tv cache
                              Matches:
                              : – , , ,

                              INFO: 1 Matching Programmes
                              INFO: Checking existence of default version
                              INFO: flashnormal1 modes will be tried for version default
                              INFO: Trying flashnormal1 mode to record tv: –
                              WARNING: Required program flvstreamer/rtmpdump does not exist (see http://linuxcentre.net/getiplayer/installation and http://linuxcentre.net/getiplayer/download)
                              INFO: skipping flashnormal1 mode
                              ERROR: Failed to record ‘ – (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8451317.stm)’
                              iMac-Nick:~ nick$

                              • On January 13th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

                                Have you tried what it says in the text you just pasted above? If you have make sure you have told get_iplayer where you have installed flvstreamer:

                                get_iplayer –add-prefs –flvstreamer=/path/to/my/flvstreamer

                                • On January 13th, 2010, Nick Francis said:

                                  Have to confess to being a Unix fresher, but Flvstreamer has been chmod and so has FFMPEG they are both in the same folder as get_iplayer. I can grab episodes and Tv progs, but the streams are still playing up…..Did the following and getting same result….

                                  ./get_iplayer –add-prefs –flvstreamer=flvstreamer
                                  INFO: Changed option ‘flvstreamer’ from ‘/flvstreamer’ to ‘flvstreamer’
                                  INFO: Options file /Users/nick/.get_iplayer/options updated
                                  iMac-Nick:~ nick$ ./get_iplayer –modes=flashnormal http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8451317.stm
                                  get_iplayer v2.58, Copyright (C) 2008-2010 Phil Lewis

                                  INFO Trying to stream pid using type tv
                                  INFO: pid not found in tv cache
                                  Matches:
                                  : – , , ,

                                  INFO: 1 Matching Programmes
                                  INFO: Checking existence of default version
                                  INFO: flashnormal1 modes will be tried for version default
                                  INFO: Trying flashnormal1 mode to record tv: –
                                  WARNING: Required program flvstreamer/rtmpdump does not exist (see http://linuxcentre.net/getiplayer/installation and http://linuxcentre.net/getiplayer/download)
                                  INFO: skipping flashnormal1 mode
                                  ERROR: Failed to record ‘ – (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8451317.stm)’

                                  Should I try and get a rtmpdump binary?…if so, where from?

                                  All your help is much appreciated btw!

                                  • On January 13th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

                                    You need to use:
                                    get_iplayer –add-prefs –flvstreamer=/path/to/my/flvstreamer

                                    or in your case (a relative path):

                                    get_iplayer –add-prefs –flvstreamer=./flvstreamer

                        • On January 13th, 2010, Nick Francis said:

                          genius!

                          Thanks a million!

                          • On January 14th, 2010, Allan said:

                            My get_iplayer, prior to updating it, saved the download files as .mp4, but after updating it, it saves them as .mov’s.

                            I assume that this is because the update trashed my preferences, and its defaulting to converting the files to mov.

                            How can I get it to convert them to mp4’s instead?

                            • On January 14th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

                              get_iplayer –add-prefs –tvmode=flashstd,flashhigh,flashvhigh

                              You might just want to change that to suit you. iphone mode creates the mov files.

                              BTW: v.260 is out – best update.

                              • On January 15th, 2010, Allan said:

                                Wonderful, thank you so much.

                            • On January 15th, 2010, vatachino said:

                              I’m trying to run under cygwin on Windows.
                              flvstreamer is in /usr/local/bin; when I type

                              /usr/local/bin/flvstreamer

                              I get

                              FLVStreamer v2.1a
                              (c) 2008-2010 Andrej Stepanchuk, Howard Chu, The Flvstreamer Team; license: GPL
                              ERROR: You must specify a hostname (–host) or url (-r “rtmp://host[:port]/playpath”) containing a hostname

                              so I assume it is working OK. But when I run get_iplayer it says

                              ./get_iplayer –modes=flashnormal http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8451317.stm
                              get_iplayer v2.61, Copyright (C) 2008-2010 Phil Lewis
                              This program comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details use –warranty.
                              This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it under certain
                              conditions; use –conditions for details.

                              INFO Trying to stream pid using type tv
                              INFO: pid not found in tv cache
                              Matches:
                              : – ,

                              INFO: 1 Matching Programmes
                              INFO: Checking existence of default version
                              INFO: flashnormal1,flashnormal2 modes will be tried for version default
                              INFO: Trying flashnormal1 mode to record tv: –
                              WARNING: Required program flvstreamer/rtmpdump does not exist (see http://linuxcentre.net/getiplayer/installation and http://linuxcentre.net/getiplayer/download)
                              INFO: skipping flashnormal1 mode
                              INFO: Trying flashnormal2 mode to record tv: –
                              WARNING: Required program flvstreamer/rtmpdump does not exist (see http://linuxcentre.net/getiplayer/installation and http://linuxcentre.net/getiplayer/download)
                              INFO: skipping flashnormal2 mode
                              ERROR: Failed to record ‘ – (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8451317.stm)’

                              • On January 15th, 2010, vatachino said:

                                Oh, and yes I have run

                                ./get_iplayer –add-prefs –flvstreamer=/usr/local/bin/flvstreamer

                                • On January 15th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

                                  You beat me to it! I have no idea… Very strange.

                                  • On January 15th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

                                    Can you run with –verbose and see what options get_iplayer is picking up?

                                    • On January 16th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

                                      Thanks for the emailed trace. Try:

                                      ./get_iplayer –add-prefs –flvstreamer=/usr/local/bin/flvstreamer.exe

                                      Note the .exe

                                    • On January 15th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

                                      I suspect you don’t have /usr/local/bin/ in your PATH. Try telling get_iplayer exactly where to find flvstreamer (this will save the option for next time):

                                      get_iplayer –add-prefs –flvstreamer=/usr/local/bin/flvstreamer

                                    • On January 19th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

                                      Comments are now closed. Please use the forums on http://linuxcentre.net/forum/

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