Posts tagged: bbc

Nov 02 2008

Is your broadband connection too slow for BBC iPlayer?

Given that I don’t actually suffer from this problem I guess it is not surprising that I didn’t realise until now how useful get_iplayer is for people with slow ‘broadband’ connections. I have recently heard that several people use get_iplayer to download because watching the BBC iPlayer via the flash web page just keeps pausing and rebuffering resulting in a very annoying experience.

get_iplayer will just download the H.264 quicktime version of the programme at your broadband speed so that you can watch it after it has downloaded. Yes, this even works if you have a dial-up modem – should you be so desperate!! (it will even resume downloading when you redial after your connection drops)

The PVR options of get_iplayer will also take the pain out of having to wait while programmes download – it will download your favourite programmes as soon as they become available.

Oct 20 2008

New BBC iPlayer Mobile uses WMV with DRM

Looks like my prediction in this earlier post was not quite right. Things are marginally better and much worse;

The Bad news: The BBC eventually announced that the iPlayer Mobile download service would in fact not be using 3GP/H.264 but in fact DRMed WMV HTTP downloads (yes that’s a Windows video format!).

The good(ish) news: The resolution is better than I reckoned it was. One test report suggests that the resolution is 320×240 which is a marginal improvement over the 320×176 I reported as available 3GP/H.264 for the Nokia N95/N96.

The other good news is that the 3GP/H.264 feeds still seem to be available even though these do not appear to be official in any way. You can see these URLs from get_iplayer using the ‘–streaminfo’ option listed as ‘Nokia N96 h.264 low quality stream URL’.

To restrict what you can do with the programmes you have funded, the BBC has opted to employ ‘OMA DRM 2 specification’ which, incidentally, Apple does/will not support. So I guess that is why we still have those higher quality iPhone download streams available. The OMA DRM 2 spec only appears to be currently implemented (supported?) on closed source players and platforms (correct me if I’m wrong here).

For a one interesting legal evaluation of DRM (in easy-to-understand terms) see this link 🙂

Oct 14 2008

BBC iPlayer download client will use ‘platform-neutral’ AIR with DRM

Erik Huggers, ex-Microsoft BBC Director of Future Media & Technology, has just announced that the BBC, in partnership with Adobe, are building a platform-neutral download client.

It will use the Adobe Integrated Runtime, or ‘AIR’.

Unfortunately, even though AIR is supposed to be platform-neutral, Adobe, in their wisdom have chosen again (as with flash) to prohibit the use of AIR on

…on any mobile device, set top box (STB), handheld, phone, web pad, tablet or Tablet PC (other than Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and its successors), game console, TV, DVD player, media center (other than Windows XP Media Center Edition and its successors), electronic billboard or other digital signage, internet appliance or other internet-connected device, PDA, medical device, ATM, telematic device, gaming machine, home automation system, kiosk, remote control device, or any other consumer electronics device, operator-based mobile, cable, satellite, or television system or other closed system device.

Erik goes on to say: Read more »

Oct 07 2008

get_iplayer RPM and DEB packages now available

You can now install and update get_iplayer using DEB and RPM packages for Linux. I’ve tried to keep them as generic as possible so the RPMs will most likely work just fine on all Redhat/Fedora derived Linux distributions. Same goes for the DEB packages on all Debian derived distros such as Ubuntu.
Please let me know if there are any problems with these.
Note that the –upgrade option of get_iplayer is probably not the best idea if you choose to use RPM and DEB versions.

Oct 01 2008

get_iplayer has new BBC iPlayer PVR functionality

Ever wanted to automatically download your favourite BBC iPlayer programmes and podcasts? Well now get_iplayer v0.84 can act as a quite sophisticated PVR.

It allows you to download any number of iPlayer / podcast programmes using any combination of search terms that you would normally run on the get_iplayer command line. This includes searching by channel, category, version(i.e. Signed or Default), date added, programme name, episode name, description etc.

The PVR searches are saved in ~/.get_iplayer/pvr/. You can Add, Delete and List the PVR searches. You’ll need to run a single command from a scheduler such as the Unix cron daemon (or possibly
the Windows scheduler).

Examples of usage are as follow:
Read more »

Sep 29 2008

Improved ‘Sign Zone’ Programme Support for get_iplayer

At long last I have included proper support of programmes that are signed in get_iplayer v0.83, i.e. those in the ‘Sign Zone’ category of the BBC iPlayer TV. You can now search for programmes based on their version; The version can be one of many different types. Most are default and a good few are signed. If you want to list just the programmes that are signed then use this:

get_iplayer –versions=signed

You can also specify that a signed version of a programme be downloaded in preference to a default (i.e. not signed) programme by changing the versions preference list as follows:

get_iplayer –version-list=signed,default –get <search term(s)>

Also, if you prefer not to have any signed programmes downloaded you can specify that only default programme versions are downloaded as follows:

get_iplayer –version-list=default –get <search term(s)>

Sep 09 2008

Nokia N95/N96 BBC iPlayer Downloads working on Linux with vlc

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)

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