Sep 09 2008

It would appear that the BBC have already made a stream available which looks like the one going to be used in the upcoming N96 iplayer download service. I may have jumped the BBC’s gun here slightly; I used get_iplayer to extract the media stream data for a programme and fed this to vlc (a media player) in Linux and it plays 🙂 You can even save the stream.
So far there is no need for any white-listed cookies or any User-agent spoofing.
The resolution is not as good as that of the iPhone iplayer version 320×176 compared with the iPhone’s 483×272 but at least its easier to download this one! It will certainly do for mobiles as intended.
I have put full instructions on the Beebhack wiki
I’ve released a new version of get_iplayer which makes this stream information more easily accessible. For example, you can use the following command to get the RTSP url (together with the RTMP flash urls):

get_iplayer –streaminfo 123

Then playback using:

vlc [rtsp URL]

Or save the stream using:

vlc –sout file/ts:stream.mpg [rtsp URL]

Update: I’ve had reports that the stream also works on Realplayer on at least the Nokia N95
Another update: get_iplayer can now download the N96 with the –n96 option
Update: I changes the –n96 option to –n95 (cos that is what the BBC seem to be labelling it as)


  • On September 10th, 2008, Irregular Shed said:

    Good sleuthing. I’ve just tried this on my N95, and it works – and the quality is fine for a phone screen/speaker. It’s not nearly as good as the iPhone version as you mentioned, the resolution and bitrate are pretty low (and the stream is delivered as a .3GP which illustrates its target). It’s interesting that the Beeb have labelled it as an N95 stream and not an N96 stream; I remember hearing one of their tech people mentioning targeting the N95 shortly after we all kicked up a fuss about jumping on the iPhone bandwagon as they did, and got concerned with the proclamation of an N96 app in case they reneged against the phone with an installed user base.

    I might have to put my SIM back in my old SE phone to see if it can handle the stream as well. It could handle the file format and bitrate if downloaded, but streaming might be another thing altogether.

    • On October 1st, 2008, Dave said:

      Any ideas how to view the links for the Nokia streams on a Nokia phone? My phone just goes to the PC version of iPlayer.

      • On October 1st, 2008, linuxcentre said:


        Irregular Shed has just updated the beebhack wiki with details on this:
        Hope this is what you were looking for.

        • On October 1st, 2008, Neil said:

          Nice work! 🙂 out of interest, how big was the saved stream file for the program play length? Just interested in the kind of compression they are getting – N96 data usage tariffs an all!

          • On October 1st, 2008, linuxcentre said:

            Well if the streams are still the same as when I discovered this they will be 192 kbps which equates to around 1.5 MBytes per minute / 90MB per hour. See this comparison table for more bit rate data:

            • On October 3rd, 2008, Rickstarr said:

              OK, I’ve used the URL from beebhack to download the app to my N82 – runs up OK, asks for a network connection, and then does nothing. Clicking the links does nothing too.

              Any ideas on why it doesn’t work..?

              • On October 3rd, 2008, linuxcentre said:

                Sorry I have no idea how that is supposed to work. Maybe post on the #beebhack IRC channel or on the Wiki talk page?

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