Launch iPlayer Search


This is an alternative search page for BBC iPlayer programmes, BBC podcasts, and BBC Live Streams. It automatically generates playlists for podcasts, radio and live radio so that media players such as VLC can be used to automatically open the streams. By clicking the programme description a detailed page of the programme meta-data together with some of the international/UK-only available stream URLs. It is based on a mashed-up version of the now-unmaintained get_iplayer Web PVR Manager. Some user’s said they liked to use the Web PVR Manager as an iPlayer search portal so I decided to host one for you. This is a ***beta*** service so don’t expect wonders!

What it Does Not Do

  • Stream anything from All streams are direct from the BBC
  • It does not provide any means to record programmes except podcasts.
  • The UK-only stream URLs will not stream outside of the UK as they are GeoIP locked by the BBC. Just select the ‘Use International Streams’ option to get streams that are available worldwide.


I’ve only tested with Firefox 3.5. Ensure you have any ‘NoScript’ type plug-ins disabled). It does not work correctly in IE6/7/8/9 but let me know if there are any fixes/patches that you can suggest…


To get the streaming to work as intended you will need to install VLC Media Player (you should associate m3u playlists with VLC in your browser for immediate playback).
System requirements are very minimal however, if you want to watch BBC iPlayer TV programmes you will need a powerful system due to infeasibly inefficient video playback using abobe flash.

Using iPlayer Search
There are several different action buttons along the top and bottom of the search results:

  • Play – select the checkbox next to the podcast programme(s) you want to playback and click this to download an m3u playlist (you should associate m3u playlists with VLC in your browser for immediate playback).
  • You can play back the programme using the Play link on each programme. The Play link for podcasts just generates an m3u playlist with a single programme in it. (you should associate m3u playlists with VLC in your firefox browser for immediate playback). For other programme types you will be redirected to the BBC iPlayer page
  • Clicking Info or any programme description text will get it’s full info and more stream URLs for VLC playback (except TV)
  • Clicking any underlined programme text will search only for that clicked text
  • Clicking the Thumbnail will go to the episode web site
  • You can sort columns by clicking the heading
  • Columns can be added and removed by clicking the checkboxes in the Columns tab.
  • Apply Settings applies the options in settings tabs to the current search.
  • Save As Default saves the options in settings tabs and a few of the standard settings such as Programme Type. The settings are saved as browser cookies.

Saving a Search

At the bottom of the search page is a link which you can bookmark. Opening this link again will repeat the current search.


  • The layout currently sucks badly.
  • Doesn’t work with Internet Explorer yet.
  • Info lookup can be slow at times.


  • On March 12th, 2010, Andrew said:

    After hours of not seeing the BIG PINK LINK above I finally stumbled upon it.

    This is exactly the kind of thing I require, the only thing missing is the output available in RSS/XML but I guess I can get that by using Yahoo Pipes or something similar.

    Thanks again for implementing this!

    • On March 14th, 2010, O.C. said:

      Thanks for your great work in helping a wide range of listeners tune in to BBC programming. I just wanted to mention that while I love VLC and fully support its use, it doesn’t always do a good job with rtsp streams, even if it has the necessary codecs. Another app, SMPlayer, is sometimes a good alternative for rtsp streams that VLC won’t play consistently.

      If you find that VLC plays an rtsp stream for a few seconds and then starts to garble the sound, I suggest trying the same stream in SMPlayer. In some cases, you may be pleasantly surprised. For example, here’s the live Real Audio stream for WKCR-FM (Columbia University):


      In VLC, I find this stream plays for a bit then starts to garble. But in SMPlayer, I find that it plays continuously.

      SMPlayer can also dump the stream to a file instead of playing it, using -dumpstream in the advanced options for MPlayer.

      Thanks again, and keep up the good work!

      P.S. Your security codes are illegible not just to bots, but to human eyes as well! Took me about 10 tries to post.

      • On March 14th, 2010, linuxcentre said:

        I found that many versions of mplayer (and I haven’t tried SMPlayer) have problems with the rtsp based AAC streams. VLC, although, agreed, a little stuttery t start plays them well despite not being able to seek forward or backwards.

      • On March 15th, 2010, O.S. said:

        Since I like playing many different kinds of media files, I usually install both VLC and SMPlayer on whatever computer I’m using. Often, if one doesn’t work, the other will. IMO, as MPlayer gui’s go, SMPlayer is a fine compromise between good features and a clear user interface. I also find that it’s a little more consistent from one release to the next than VLC. It has excellent playlist features, and I sometimes use it to put together playlists which I end up playing in VLC. This is because some versions of VLC act finicky under Linux and need tweaked qt4 settings to save playlists to a file. Thanks again.

        • On March 19th, 2010, Ron said:

          This is a handy application. Thanks.
          All that’s missing is ‘right-click download with get_iplayer’.
          I wish.

          • On March 20th, 2010, Aularon said:

            First of all, many thanks for the awesome work.

            Second, I searched for the sourcecode of the new iplayer-search script, but didn’t find it.. where can I get it?

            Thanks in advance : )

            • On March 21st, 2010, linuxcentre said:

              It’s based on the now discontinued get_iplayer PVR manager which I’m sure you can google for. All I’ve done is strip out all the PVR stuff and improved the playlist generation. I don’t plan on releasing it since it is all hard-coded for this website 🙁

            • On April 23rd, 2011, Charlie said:

              Can it be made to encompass Radio 4 Extra ?

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