Sep 12 2009

Plenty of new features in get_iplayer and Web PVR Manager. It’s been a while; 18 versions of Web PVR Manager and 29 versions of get_iplayer have been released since I last wrote about them.


I recommend running get_iplayer –long-help to see full help on these new options.

  • Recording History search/indexing support (–history)
  • Ability to list programme Series names for improved readability (–series)
  • Multiple thumbnail sizes support (–thumbsize, –thumbsizemeta)
  • Improved meta-data display (–info)
  • Audio Description support for BBC iPlayer (–versions=audiodescribed)
  • Multi-mode support – i.e. ability to record more than one mode of the same programme (–multimode)
  • Better support for recording BBC iPlayer embedded media URLs (–url)
  • Support of BBC iPlayer short URLs (–url)
  • Ability to specify how long to record a live stream (–stop)
  • Ability to specify stop and start time offsets in BBC iPlayer TV and Radio programmes (–stop, –start)
  • Support for ‘presets’ – predefined sets of options (–preset)

Web PVR Manager:

  • One-click Series recording, playback and PVR queuing of available and recorded programmes
  • Ability to search and play back the Recordings
  • Improved programme info display with thumbnails and clickable URLs
  • Full support for running under Apache as well as the built-in web server (see the README file)
  • Improved navigation
  • Support for streaming under Windows
  • Software Update button
  • Help page and tool-tip improvements
  • Great new logo
Jul 30 2009

I’ve just released a new v2.0+ windows automated installer for get_iplayer. It now contains the experimental web-based get_iplayer PVR Manager. The installer downloads everything you need to record, stream and manage get_iplayer and the get_iplayer PVR manager. This includes: mplayer, lame, ffmpeg, vlc and flvstreamer. Take a look at the get_iplayer PVR Manager page for instructions and an overview of the available features.

Let me know if you find any bugs and I’ll do my best to squash them. Just remember that the PVR Manager is ALPHA quality experimental software!

You’ve probably already noticed; get_iplayer has a new shamelessly original get_iplayer logo.

Jul 24 2009

This is a follow-up to the post a few days ago. It is now much easier to get those AAC streams on your SqueezeBox.
It is now possible to navigate and play the High quality (up to 192kbps) AAC BBC iPlayer Radio and Live Radio streams on your Squeezebox by mean of an OPML playlist.

Just add the following URL to your favourites in SqueezeCenter and then navigate to the Favourites on the SqueezeBox remote an you will see a three-level menu of Channel -> Programme Name -> Programme for iPlayer Radio. You need to be running get_iplayer PVR Manager v0.24 or later. This has only been tested on Linux and may work on OSX and Windows.

http://[SERVER IP]:1935/opml?PROGTYPES=radio&MODES=flash,iphone&LIST=channel

To list all the Live iPlayer Radio channels add this to your SqueezeBox favourites:

http://[SERVER IP]:1935/opml?PROGTYPES=liveradio&OUTTYPE=wav

Finally, to only show those numbered BBC Radio stations:

http://[SERVER IP]:1935/opml?PROGTYPES=liveradio&MODES=flash&SEARCH=%20\d&OUTTYPE=wav

Update: Now works on windows except for realaudio mode. Ensure you use flvstreamer v1.8h or later.

Jul 23 2009

With the latest experimental release of get_iplayer PVR Manager you can now use to browse and play almost any BBC iPlayer programme directly from VLC‘s playlist. This functionality of get_iplayer PVR Manager should work on Linux/Unix, MacOSX and Windows.

Just download and run get_iplayer PVR manager as described in yesterdays post

Next, using VLC to open a URL such as:

You will get an automatically generated playlist for the programme type you selected.

Valid programme types are:

  • tv
  • radio
  • livetv
  • liveradio

Open the playlist in the vlc GUI and you will see all of the available programmes.

Just click on one and it will start playing after a few seconds.

There are many more examples and detailed usage in the comments at the top of the get_iplayer.cgi script if you are interested.

I haven’t tried opening the playlists in anything other than mplayer and vlc so far. When I get a chance I’ll try them out on the Squeezebox also.

Let me know if you get this working on any other players or if you find any other novel uses for it.

Update: Now works on windows except for realaudio channels. Ensure you use flvstreamer v1.8h or later.

Jul 22 2009

Update: See Part II of this post – all this has been improved and simplified…

I’ve been playing with get_iplayer PVR Manager (get_iplayer.cgi) on Linux (although it works on MacOSX and Windows also). It can now also act as an RTMP proxy to allow simple streaming of any flashaac radio or liveradio BBC iPlayer programme to a Slim Devices / Logitech Squeezebox (SBII or better). WARNING: This is still alpha quality experimental code….

All you need to do is:
Install and start the get_iplayer PVR Manager:

  • download get_iplayer.cgi from SVN (see the get_iplayer PVR Manager page)
  • Ensure you have flvstreamer installed and it’s location saved in your options
  • Ensure ffmpeg is installed and in the system PATH
  • Start it on your Linux server:

    perl get_iplayer.cgi –port=1935 –getiplayer=/path/to/get_iplayer –ffmpeg=/path/to/ffmpeg

Now configure the Squeezebox:

  • Go to the Squeezecenter page for your Squeezebox
  • Add a Favourite with the streaming URL. e.g. http://[server_ip_address]:1935/?ACTION=stream&PROGTYPES=liveradio&PID=bbc_radio_one&MODES=flashaac&OUTTYPE=a.wav
  • Go to your Squeezebox remote control or web page and play the favourite you have added.
  • Sit back and listen to much higher quality Radio at up to 192kbps AAC on your Hi-Fi

Similarly you can stream all sorts of programmes and modes on other http based media players. e.g.:

* Stream flash AAC liveradio as 320k mp3 stream:

vlc "http://localhost:1935/?ACTION=stream&PROGTYPES=liveradio&PID=[PID]&BITRATE=320&MODES=flashaac\

* Stream flash livetv as an flv stream:

vlc "http://localhost:1935/?ACTION=stream&PROGTYPES=livetv&PID=[PID]&MODES=flashnormal\

* Stream flash AAC liveradio as a raw wav stream:

vlc "http://localhost:1935/?ACTION=stream&PROGTYPES=liveradio&PID=[PID]&MODES=flashaac\

* Stream tv as a quicktime stream:

mplayer "http://localhost:1935/?ACTION=stream&PROGTYPES=tv&PID=[PID]&MODES=iphone\
  &" -cache 2048

* Stream iphone radio as http mp3 stream:

vlc "http://localhost:1935/?ACTION=stream&PROGTYPES=radio&PID=[PID]&MODES=iphone\

* Stream flash mp3 radio as http flac stream:

vlc "http://localhost:1935/?ACTION=stream&PROGTYPES=radio&PID=[PID]&MODES=flashaudio\

***PLEASE REWRITE THE DOUBLE QUOTES – this blog mangles them***

The valid [PID]s for any programme type can be determined by running:

get_iplayer –info [usual search terms]

Update (July 30th 2009): I changed SEARCH= to PID= in the latest version…Also updated to use new cmdline options. Also now works in Windows with the latest Automated Installer.
Update (September 18th 2009): I changed streaming URLs for the latest version.

Jun 25 2009

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
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'
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

Or recorded using:

get_iplayer --get --type=radio

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 23 2009

Despite being the subject of a DMCA takedown notice at, rtmpdump has been short-listed for ‘Best Project for Multimedia’ in the Community Choice Awards 2009.

Please show your support now by voting for this project if you value the contribution it has made to free software and if you want to see the continuance of the project. Voting ends on 20th July 2009 so get clicking!

Jun 10 2009

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 –


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:

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.

Jun 09 2009

After many requests I have eventually given in and added Live stream support for BBC iPlayer TV and Radio. So now you don’t need to playback TV in a browser – you can use the video player of your choice. The Radio streams are of fantastic quality especially when not played back in adobe flash player – well done BBC! The Flash AAC radio quality is between 128-192 kbps and the TV is either 512×288 or 640×360 resolution at between 512-800 kbps.

Remember that you do need a TV License to legally record or watch any Live TV streams in the UK. The Live support does require flvstreamer v1.8 or later(rtmpdump v1.6 is not as reliable with these streams). The below examples assume that the tool is in your path already. If not then add it using ‘–flvstreamer=/path/to/flvstreamer’. As a side note, rtmpdump 1.5/1.5a, albeit somewhat unreliable, will work only if you want to record the live streams or listen to Live Radio – direct TV playback does not want to work on those older versions.

Live BBC iPlayer TV

To watch BBC iPlayer TV channels via mplayer, for example, use:

get_iplayer –pid tv:bbc_one –stdout –nowrite | mplayer -cache 512 –


get_iplayer –pid tv:<iPlayer Channel URL> –stdout –nowrite | mplayer -cache 512 –

Or to record a Live programme:
Where <iPlayer Channel URL> is a URL like: or

get_iplayer –pid tv:bbc_one

The ‘vmode’ used by the BBC iPlayer TV Live streams in ‘flashnormal’ so you may need to add ‘–vmode=flashnormal’ if you don’t normally have that in your vmode list.

Live BBC iPlayer Radio

To listen to BBC iPlayer Radio channels via mplayer, for example, use:

get_iplayer –pid radio:bbc_radio_one –amode=flashaac –stdout –nowrite | mplayer -cache 128 –


get_iplayer –pid radio:<iPlayer Channel URL> –amode=flashaac –stdout –nowrite | mplayer -cache 128 –

Or to record a Live programme:

get_iplayer –pid radio:bbc_one –amode=flashaac

Please not that the recording and streaming will not stop after the end of a programme – it is perpetual.

Other Media Players

The recorded live streams will playback on any media player that can decode flv streams. So far I’ve successfully managed to get them playing back on xine, vlc and mplayer on Linux. I’ve not tried the various players on Windows or MacOSX.
I tried to playback th live TV streams directly with those players and found that both mplayer and xine were successful. I had trouble getting vlc to work without stuttering because I couldn’t figure out how to set the buffer/cache size. For xine use: ‘| xine stdin:/’.
The direct audio playback seems to work on mplayer and vlc only although vlc does result in slightly glitchy playback compared with mplayer.
Let me know below if you manage to get other media players to work.

Converting flv Streams

Convert Audio losslessly:

ffmpeg -i infile.flv -vn -acodec copy -y outfile.m4a

Convert video flv to avi losslessly:

ffmpeg -i infile.flv -vcodec copy -acodec copy -y outfile.avi

May 24 2009

This is the reason adobe have issued the DMCA removal request for rtmpdump – the tool which allows saving of downloaded rtmp streams from sites that use the rtmp streaming protocol. I’ve had some more clarification. The DMCA removal request by adobe does not claim that rtmpdump infringes any copyright of adobe, but it claims rtmpdump can be used to infringe copyrights of others. It says in the letter:

The rtmpdump utility hosted on (see URL below) can be used to download copyrighted works, such as those on

Well isn’t this kind of like saying that web browsers can be used to download copyrighted works – and almost all web site content is copyrighted; Maybe adobe should issue a DMCA removal request on Does the fact that rtmp is used necessarily mean that the user cannot save the stream for time-shifting, fair-use or legitimate archiving purposes? The content could even quite possibly come under a creative commons license which can allow indefinite storage, copying and distribution with the right attribution.

As ever, I wonder what adobe’s motivations are here. Maybe adobe just don’t want their highly obfuscated protocols to become widely implemented in open source projects? Or maybe their protocol is sold on the basis of rtmp streams being secure and non-downloadable and now they must face the fact that it was not the case? Who knows? Is this just another example of the Emperor’s New clothes?

It would appear that the rtmp and rtmpe protocols have now been documented in detail according a story that just broke on slashdot.

I’d like to encourage readers who value such tools to nominate rtmpdump for Best Multimedia Project on Sourceforge. Just click the icon.

Update 24th May 2009: The entire letter can be now be viewed at

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