Posts tagged: iplayer

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]
Jan 06 2009

get_iplayer Indexes, Searches and Downloads ITV player TV Programmes

Happy New Year!
For all of those who desperately want to watch UK ITV programmes, get_iplayer (v1.13 onwards) can now download them for you! (just specify –type=itv)

Normally ITV programmes can be streamed in real-time, on-demand, from the website. However you need microsoft Silverlight to watch them in a web browser. On the back-end provides these programmes as obfuscated asf (wmv/wma) streams.

get_iplayer scrapes the Catch-Up parts of the ITV site and indexes all of the available programmes. You can then search and download them as you would with BBC iPlayer programmes.

For example,

get_iplayer --type=itv 'Rising Damp' --get

Due to the advertisement breaks, many of the ITV programmes are split into a handful of approximately 15 minute segments. get_iplayer will find all of the segments and download them in parallel. At present I have not found a way to download the segments in anything except real-time so the parallelism means that most programmes only take around 15 minutes to download.

And before you ask – No, I’m not planning on adding 4oD or DemandFive because they use Windows based DRM and I’m not going to play that game. DRM will eat itself.


get_iplayer v1.17+ now indexes the ITV ‘TV Classics’ programmes in addition to the ITV ‘Catch Up’ programmes. This adds over 300 episodes to the avaiable list.

Update (16th September 2009):

Looks like ITV have completely redesigned their site and back end which has broken the existing ITV plugin. Maybe someone would like to write a new plugin?

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.

Dec 15 2008

Don’t Want to Miss that Programme on iPlayer over Christmas?

You know how it gets over the Christmas period; busy visiting relatives and friends, drinking and partying. The last thing you remember to do is to watch that crucial episode on iPlayer within the minute window of seven days the BBC has kindly granted you.
Now is the time to set up get_iplayer to act as a PVR (you know Sky+, TiVo, series-link, etc, etc)! get_iplayer can be easily configured to automatically download your favourite BBC TV programmes just like any other PVR except that there are no limits on how many programmes you can ‘record’ simultaneously (OK, except your broadband speed maybe). You even get seven days grace when you’ve forgotten to setup the PVR.

Here is a quick guide to setting it up. Read more »

Dec 03 2008

get_iplayer working with MythTV plugin

I’ve just been contacted by Richard Ablewhite who has recently updated his excellent iPlayer MythTV plugin MythVodka that now uses get_iplayer.

You can see a slightly older version of it running on this youtube video which gives you an idea of how well it works. The streaming capabilities do seem to be very slick 🙂

You can download the plugin from this site

Let us know if you get it working.

Nov 12 2008

get_iplayer 1.00 released

Yeah, yeah, before you say it – I know my version numbering system is rather pathetic. However version 1.00 has been released because this is actually the 100th version. There are, however, some useful features that have recently been added:

‘–tree’ option: Displays the lists of programmes or matching programmes in a sort-of tree view
‘–hide’ option: Removes programmes that have already been downloaded from listings and searches.

I will also try now to update with new releases.

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 »

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