Posts tagged: live tv

Jun 09 2009

get_iplayer gets Live BBC iPlayer Stream Support

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 –

Or

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: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/radio/bbc_radio_one or http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/playlive/bbc_radio_one/

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 –

Or

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

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