Posts tagged: bbc

Mar 10 2010

get_iplayer dropped in response to BBC’s lack of support for open source

The events of the past two weeks (here, here, here, here and here) have clarified the BBC’s stance on allowing interoperability with open-source iPlayer clients. I have therefore decided to withdraw get_iplayer with immediate effect.

Ian Hunter’s post (Managing Editor, BBC Online) provided very clear guidance on the way the BBC feels about open-source applications accessing iPlayer streams. I have no desire act against the BBC’s wishes in this respect.

The BBC iPlayer is built on many open-source products and yet, in this case, they have failed to let open-source clients access the very same service. The BBC have clearly not followed the spirit of open-source here.

From the outset, exactly 2 years ago when I developed get_iplayer, my intentions have been to never harm the BBC but to just provide a convenient way for me to watch iPlayer programmes on my TV with the hardware that I own. However, the BBC clearly considers such methods to be somehow detrimental to their service and therefore with great regret I have decided to cease development.

I sincerely hope that, in the future, the BBC will make steps to support open source given that they have gained so much from it.

Dec 20 2009

get_iplayer fix for BBC iphone modes

I’ve just released a fixed get_iplayer v2.50 so that you can now get the iphone streams once again. This is because the BBC appear to have changed (simplified) the method for iphone http streaming as of a few days ago. The freeze still stands so hopefully this will be the only critical fix before next year.

Jun 25 2009

Simplified Live BBC TV and Radio Support in get_iplayer

get_iplayer v2.04 now has very much simplified Live TV and Radio support.

Two new programme types have been added: ‘livetv’ and ‘liveradio’. These types, if selected, will list the available programmes in the familiar listing format:

get_iplayer --type=livetv
Matches:
80000:  BBC Four - live
80001:  BBC News 24 - live
80002:  BBC One - live
80003:  BBC Parliament - live
80004:  BBC Three - live
80005:  BBC Two - live
80006:  CBBC - live
80007:  CBeebies - live

INFO: 8 Matching Programmes

Or you can just search, stream or playback by channel/programme name:

get_iplayer --type=liveradio 'Radio 1'
Matches:
80132:  BBC Radio 1 - live

INFO: 1 Matching Programmes

To directly stream a selected live programme in all OSes (except Win32) you can use:

get_iplayer --stream 80001 --player='mplayer -cache 256 -'

Where –player can refer to any player command than can play programmes from STDIN. Or simply use:

get_iplayer --stream 80001 | mplayer -cache 256 -

The advantage of the –player option is that it can be saved in your default options as follows:

get_iplayer --prefs-add --player='mplayer -cache 256 -'

Then you can just stream via mplayer using:

get_iplayer --stream 80001

( –stream is just a synonym for –stdout –nowrite )

To record a live stream use:

get_iplayer --get 80001

Specifying modes has changed a little. –amode has become –radiomode and –vmode is now –tvmode. Additionally, –modes=<modelist> can be used to set a general default set of modes for all programme types.

Likewise, embedded media web pages can be played more easily. e.g.:

get_iplayer --stream --type=radio
  --url="http://www.bbc.co.uk/robertburns/works/a_bards_epitaph/"

Or recorded using:

get_iplayer --get --type=radio
  --url="http://www.bbc.co.uk/robertburns/works/a_bards_epitaph/"

The only major thing I’ve not been able to get working is direct streamed playback under native Windows. If anyone knows why it won’t work or has a fix or workaround please let me know! I’ve tried with ‘vlc -’, ‘ffplay -’ and ‘mplayer -’ and all seem to just fail.

Jun 10 2009

get_iplayer now supports BBC Embedded Media Player streams

As of today, not only can you watch/record live BBC TV and Radio as described in my earlier post, you can now also record/watch BBC embedded videos and Live streams. Yes, you can now watch the tennis Live!

Remember to update to flvstreamer v1.8 or later.

To do this just use the following examples (not in Win32):

get_iplayer –pid ‘tv:<URL>’ –stream | mplayer -cache 512 -

OR

get_iplayer –pid ‘tv:<URL>’ –stream | vlc -

Or to record an embedded video (all OSes):

get_iplayer –type=tv –url=’<URL>’

Where <URL> is a URL with an embedded video player like: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/8091015.stm

The ‘modes’ used by the BBC embedded media player streams in ‘flashnormal’ so you may need to add ‘–modes=flashnormal’ if you don’t normally have that in your mode list.

Apr 16 2009

BBC iPlayer HD 1280×720 now supported by get_iplayer

The BBC now provide HD 1280×720 resolution (720p) flash streams!!! And, OMG, the quality is awesome. get_iplayer also supports this as of now.

The even better news is that if the flash version determines that your broadband link is too slow for this HD content, get_iplayer will still record it for you to watch at your leisure on the player of your choice.

I’ve managed to get this working with get_iplayer on ‘Dr Who – Planet of the Dead’. (Thanks to Andrew who pointed this out)

  • Resolution: 1280 x 720 pixels
  • Video Codec: H.264
  • Audio Codec: AAC
  • Bitrate: 3200 kbps
For BBC HD content please use get_iplayer –vmode=flashhd … with get_iplayer v1.61 and rtmpdump v1.4. The fedora, ubuntu, MacOSX and Windows binaries on this site are already at v1.4.
Do be warned that a one hour programme will consume approximately 1.4GB.
Interestingly enough, my desktop PC suffers badly when trying to playback even the 640×360 programmes in flash player but using get_iplayer and mplayer to playback works perfectly even with 1280×720!
Update 20th April: It seems that the BBC were a little premature in their earlier announcement. They launched the HD iPlayer today properly.
Mar 17 2009

BBC Readies new iPlayer HD 720×404 streams

It would appear that the BBC have started to serve the new High(er) Definition iPlayer streams with the following stream quality:

  • Resolution: 720 x 404 pixels
  • Video Codec: H.264
  • Audio Codec: AAC
  • Bitrate: 1500 kbps

I’ve managed to watch some of the content and the quality looks excellent and a marked improvement over the existing 640 x 360 / 800kbps content.

So, to stop all the speculation, yes, it does seem that this new BBC iPlayer HD (well not quite 720p) will be served via the web based flash player.

Also, please update to the newest get_iplayer because flashhigh support has now been fixed after the BBC changed it today.

Update: For BBC HD content please use get_iplayer –vmode=flashvhigh … with get_iplayer v1.47 and rtmpdump v1.4. The fedora, ubuntu, MacOSX and Windows binaries on this site are already at v1.4.
For the programmes that have this new mode available this seems to work mostly reliably now.
Another Update (16/04/2009): You probably already noticed my newer post and that the BBC have released 1280×720 3.2Mbps HD streams now – and that the SD stream is now 832×468 (no longer 720×404) but still 1.5Mbps

Mar 11 2009

New and Improved Automated Windows Installer for get_iplayer

Today I managed to get access to a Windows XP desktop and thought I’d try out the latest get_iplayer Windows Automated Installer. I have to say I am really quite impressed. The Installer is maintained and put together by Simon Dible. I just downloaded it, ran it and it automatically downloaded and installed all of the get_iplayer support packages such as rtmpdump, mplayer, lame, ffmpeg and Strawberry Perl (an open source perl for Windows that is not broken like ActivePerl!).
This really takes all the pain out of using get_iplayer on Windows. I just had to fire up get_iplayer from the Start menu and I had a shell with get_iplayer primed and ready.
The even better part about the new installer is that it now supports get_iplayer updates from the menu, which is good news because the release frequency is higher than the average. The update only usually takes a second or two because you are no longer forced to re-download the whole installer again – only the perl script. I suppose it might be worth looking for installer updates now and then in case you want updated support packages.

Feb 14 2009

BBC iPlayer AAC Radio streams now available using get_iplayer

It’s just been pointed out to me the after much waiting, the BBC have started to make AAC streams available for their listen again content on the iPlayer. The bitrates vary from 96 kbps to 128 kbps from what I can see. This will possibly result in better quality. AAC 128kbps can certainly be an improvement over the same bit-rate MP3 but it does seem that the BBC have reduced the bandwidth and quality to AAC 96kbps to save us a whole 32 kbps !! Oh well, you at least still have the choice between MP3 and AAC. Make sure you have rtmpdump installed to be able to download AAC.

In get_iplayer, the default order of trying to download a Radio programme is: iphone,flashaac,flashaudio and realaudio. You can explicitly specify to use AAC mode by using

get_iplayer --type=radio --amode=flashaac [other search options]
Dec 25 2008

get_iplayer gets High Quality Flash BBC iPlayer RTMP Downloading Capability

Merry Christmas!

Another great feature has been added to get_iplayer. You can now download programmes from the high quality flash version of the BBC iPlayer (640×360 resolution) using the optional rtmpdump tool. This means that you will be able to download ANY programme as soon as it is available on the iPlayer Flash web page.

Andrej Stepanchuk has very kindly written and released rtmpdump. If installed, get_iplayer (v1.04 or above) can use it by adding the –vmode=rtmp option to any TV download. This feature is currently an alpha test.
Pre-requisites are:

  • Installation of rtmpdump
  • ffmpeg (to convert the flv file into mp4 format)

You can get rtmpdump here (compiled for Linux/x86-32bit, MacOSX/x86 and cygwin). The Home Page and C++ source is here. I recommend you compile your own – it is very easy – just make sure you have the boost libraries installed.

In get_iplayer you’ll need to specify the location of rtmpdump binary (using –rtmpdump) if it is not already in the path.

Let me know how it goes.

Update (28th December 2008)

Andrej has released rtmpdump-v1.1 this addresses issues with 64-bit Linux and adds download resume support. Use in conjunction with the latest get_iplayer 1.05 or newer.

If you come across problems specifically related to rtmpdump (i.e. not get_iplayer) you can post them at the Sourceforge page for rtmpdump.

Update (2nd January 2009)

For get_iplayer 1.09 and above to use the RTMP features you’ll need rtmpdump-v1.2+ this addresses issues with Normal quality RTMP Flash downloads and adds download resume support for this quality.

Dec 21 2008

BBC Local Radio Support in get_iplayer

I just noticed today that the BBC Radio Audio-on-demand (aod) for BBC Local Radio has at long last been integrated with the iPlayer. Although there still only appears to be RealAudio streams for these local radio programmes at least get_iplayer v1.03 can now index them and get the information for a consistent set of XML feeds.

So now you’ll notice over 3000 radio programmes from 56 BBC radio stations in the get_iplayer index!

As ever, RealAudio streams will be transparently transcoded to mp3 format unless you choose to disable this behaviour.

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