Archive for the ‘iplayer’ Category

Yes, I do use the official BBC iPlayer site

for the most part, I prefer to use get_iplayer for video, but it has come to my attention that I use the official BBC iPlayer site quite a bit: mostly for radio.  I am more likely to livestream radio.  In fact, I pretty much use internet radio for all my radio reception.

That’s where I use the official iPlayer site the most.

Posted 22/01/2014 by lacithedog in BBC iplayer, get_iplayer, iplayer

Getting frustrated with Get_iplayer

OK, I tried copying the options from a version of get_iplayer that was working which was:

lame .\LAME\lame.exe
mplayer .\MPlayer\mplayer-svn-36348\mplayer.exe
atomicparsley .\AtomicParsley\AtomicParsley\AtomicParsley.exe
output C:\Users\Michael\Desktop\iPlayer Recordings
flvstreamer .\RTMPDump\rtmpdump.exe
ffmpeg .\FFmpeg\ffmpeg-1.2-win32-static\bin\ffmpeg.exe
vlc .\VLC\vlc-2.0.6\vlc.exe
mmsnothread 1
nopurge 1

Yet this did not work and I am still getting these messages:

C:\Program Files (x86)\get_iplayer>get_iplayer –prefs-show
Options in ‘C:\Users\Michael/.get_iplayer/options’
mmsnothread = 1
lame = .\LAME\lame.exe
vlc = .\VLC\vlc-2.0.6\vlc.exe
ffmpeg = .\FFmpeg\ffmpeg-1.2-win32-static\bin\ffmpeg.exe
nopurge = 1
flvstreamer = .\RTMPDump\rtmpdump.exe
output = C:\Users\Michael\Desktop\iPlayer Recordings
mplayer = .\MPlayer\mplayer-svn-36348\mplayer.exe
atomicparsley = .\AtomicParsley\AtomicParsley\AtomicParsley.exe

C:\Program Files (x86)\get_iplayer>get_iplayer –type=radio –pid=b03q59v9 –for
get_iplayer v2.85, Copyright (C) 2008-2010 Phil Lewis
This program comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details use –warranty.
This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it under certain
conditions; use –conditions for details.

INFO: Episode-only pid detected
INFO: Trying pid: b03q59v9 using type: radio
INFO Trying to stream pid using type radio
INFO: pid not found in radio cache
INFO: Checking existence of default version
INFO: flashaacstd1,flashaaclow1 modes will be tried for version default
INFO: Trying flashaacstd1 mode to record radio: The Early Music Show – European
Union Baroque Orchestra
INFO: File name prefix = The_Early_Music_Show_-_European_Union_Baroque_Orchestra
WARNING: Your version of rtmpdump/flvstreamer does not support SWF Verification
WARNING: rtmpdump/flvstreamer 1.8 or later is required – please upgrade
INFO: skipping flashaacstd1 mode
INFO: Trying flashaaclow1 mode to record radio: The Early Music Show – European
Union Baroque Orchestra
INFO: File name prefix = The_Early_Music_Show_-_European_Union_Baroque_Orchestra
WARNING: Your version of rtmpdump/flvstreamer does not support SWF Verification
WARNING: rtmpdump/flvstreamer 1.8 or later is required – please upgrade
INFO: skipping flashaaclow1 mode
INFO: You may wish to try –modes=wma for version default
INFO: Note that wma mode is real-time only, and thus is generally only suitable
for recording live radio.
ERROR: Failed to record ‘The Early Music Show – European Union Baroque Orchestra

Next will be to try copying the working copy of the programme to the computer with the probelms.

Not so fast on the SWF URL change

I was on another of my computers and decided to try an experiment by recording a radio stream, which worked and confirmed I am using the latest version of RTMPdump.  Then, I decided to try to download a TV stream using iplayer to see if I would get the same error message.

I was able to download without problem.  Not sure of the reason for that.

Now, I need to try my other computer and see if I can still download using it.

I am on the computer where I originally had the problem, and it is still acting up.  The issue seems to be that RTMPdump is not being recognised, or accessed.  I have determined this by trying to download a radio stream.  I was told that I had the latest version of RTMPdump when I did this earlier.  Now, I am again getting the message.

I am not really keen on messing about with the path statement for a lot of reasons.

The solution seems to be to try and reinstall RTMPdump, but I think a good test for whether your system can download is to download a radio stream.

Further update:
The issue seems to be that I ran a registry cleaner and it erased something that allows RTMPdump to be recognised.  not sure I want to mess about with the detective work to fix this when I have other computers that can download this material.

Why I hate Microsoft and prefer Linux

SWF verification change at the Beeb?

Disclaimer: yes, I could use the official BBC iPlayer programme, but it isn’t as fun.  not to mention that the BBC shouldn’t be blocking open source software per its charter. Not to mention SWF verification doesn’t really work.

It seems that the Beeb has once again changed the SWF verification URL meaning that get_iplayer is acting up and I am receiving this error message:

WARNING: Your version of rtmpdump/flvstreamer does not support SWF Verification
WARNING: rtmpdump/flvstreamer 1.8 or later is required – please upgrade

This is nonsensical for several reasons: the major one being that there was no problem earlier in the day.  I am also using the latest update for all the components of get-iplayer.  On the other hand, the last time this happened, the Beeb had changed the SWF verification URL and there was the simple fix of:

get_iplayer –prefs-add –rtmp-tv-opts=”–swfVfy=”

Yes, the issue is a changes SWF verification URL since I tried it in my browser and received a 404 error and then a “this content doesn’t seem to be working” error:

swfurl 404

Of course, the simple fix was provided by the good people who have been maintaining get_iplayer lately.  I did a search to try and locate a newer patch, but there are a few problems here which are:

1) I received an e-mail saying that get_iplayer forum digests were no longer being sent out.
2) I searched the get_iplayer forum and didn’t see a recent post on this (Latest was December 2013).
3) I couldn’t post to the get_iplayer Forum even though I was on the get_iplayer mailing list

I was hoping to receive the new swfvfy url patch from a get_iplayer list mailing, but that hasn’t happened.  I tried to login to the forum, but received a message asking me to supplicate the forum mods to join (even though I’ve been on the list for yonks).

In short,  I’ve done everything dinkypumpkin says to do in the “When SWF Verification Attacks” post and am reckoning the issue is a change in the SWF URL.  OTH, I haven’t seen anything in the get_iplayer forum to tell me there has been:

1) a change in the URL
2) a new patch issued
3) if I am the only person with this problem.

I’m not sitting around on my thumbs here and have been trying to find some way to learn the new SWF verification URL, but I think that may be covered by the Official Secrets Act (after all, BBC employees are government workers).  I should also add that I tried playing with the RTMPdump commands that are listed here: in particular:

−−swfVfy −W url
URL of the SWF player for this media. This option replaces all three of the −−swfUrl, −−swfhash, and −−swfsize options. When this option is used, the SWF player is retrieved from the specified URL and the hash and size are computed automatically. Also the information is cached in a .swfinfo file in the user’s home directory, so that it doesn’t need to be retrieved and recalculated every time rtmpdump is run. The .swfinfo file records the URL, the time it was fetched, the modification timestamp of the SWF file, its size, and its hash. By default, the cached info will be used for 30 days before re-checking.

Only to get more error messages about RTMPdump and that I am not using the correct URL.

I know that this will all pass, as it has in the past, but the problem is that this is yet another annoyance which will be overcome.  As I said in my disclaimer, SWF verification doesn’t work.

And it sure as hell doesn’t stop the pirates.

(Give up and allow for a PBS style donation licence fee system for those outside the UK, but that raises other issues with DRM).

What izzit?

By mistake, I pasted the following into a response and thought about leaving it:


A little hint by providing a QR code if you have any thoughts that this might be a password.

It’s more of a bleed through from my real blogging passion (that is not an optical effect in the centre).  I wasn’t sure what exactly a QR code was when I first saw one on an advert at a train station.  I thought it might be the work of one of those Banksy types who have tended to proliferate with work of varying quality–mostly crap.

I like this from the Wikipedia article on Banksy:

Banksy does not sell photos of street graffiti directly himself;[9][10]
however, art auctioneers have been known to attempt to sell his street
art on location and leave the problem of its removal in the hands of the
winning bidder.

Somebody say something about one being born every minute?

If you figure out what is going on here, you will find that my taste in art is a bit more traditional–although clever modern “art” is appreciated.

I do find Banksy to be quite clever–even if I can’t hang his work in my front room.

But would I really want to anyway?

BTW, don’t waste your time or freedom trying to use this as a password.  It is what it purports to be.

Charging for BBC iPlayer downloads

This is a longer version of the comment I left at the BBC website. Unfortunately, they only allow 350 characters, which is almost two whole tweets! That is not enough to leave a proper comment on this subject.

OK, I’ve said that the Beeb should begin charging for BBC iPlayer, not totally in jest. The major problem is that people are already paying for this service by their Television Licence fees–in theory. Perhaps, the BBC should require that one’s iPlayer profile also include the TV licence information.

Although, I have also pointed out that a loophole exists if one time shifts BBC programming via iPlayer downloads, as the licence fee only covers live broadcast reception. We come into curious other policy problems with this. The major one is that the BBC tries to have as large an audience for its programmes as it can. That said, charging for this material begins to run against this policy. Additionally, this is a regressive charge which will hit the poor. The BBC could charge a lower fee for an “iPlayer” specific licence.

Also, if the BBC is going to start charging for this material, then they need to make more of it accessible. The big case in point to me is News (e.e., News at Six and News at Ten). I would be willing to pay for access to news programmes if they are downloadable via iPlayer.

Another problem, many of the iPlayer downloaders can access this material from outside the UK. I’m not going to get into this, but this also has some ramifications for the debate. If the BBC is going to start charging for this material, are they going to turn a blind eye to where the view is accessing the material? One can buy the DVDs and watch them in another region using a region free DVD player. I know that the BBC’s response is that there are other digital rights holders, but if someone is waving money at them.

Of course, I have this vision of people applying for TV licences from Effing Sodbury and Chipping Wedgewood if the only criteria is a TV licence!  How many people would get TV licences with the address  10 Downing Street, London SW1A 2AA?  Some addresses could have more TV licences leading one to conclude that more people lived there than a Calcutta tenement!

Then, this gets to another issue I have with the BBC. They have a revenue stream which they do not exploit, which is some of their unissued material. The big case in point would be issuing DVDs of the Goodies TV show. That is a tremendously popular series, yet the BBC has not issued any of the shows in a serious manner. I think we can blame a couple of things here, which is the old archival policy which has trashed as significant amount of British Television history (e.g., Take Three Girls, The Borderers, etcetera).

The final problem is that popular British TV programmes end up in the download community, which I doubt will be something that will stop if the BBC begins to charge for iPlayer material. In fact, I think that would become more of a problem for the BBC if iPlayer material is subject to a fee. So, unless the BBC is going to begin to put more of its material out on DVD, I don’t think they will come up with a fool proof way of making money from the iPlayer downloads.

As I said, I think the best way would be to introduce a reduced iPlayer fee and not loot at where the person is accessing the material from which would allow for better access to the BBC material. But, I don’t think the BBC chiefs are going jump at this. That means they are left with people using iPlayer on the honour system.

See also:

iPlayer is better with Linux. Life is better with Linux.

I have to admit that I now use Ubuntu pretty much whenever I can, but the latest get_iplayer Digest has made me realise that it makes sense to use a linux based OS for that programme.  The error message one recieves when using the windows version reiterates that fact:

WARNING: Stream does not start with requested FLV frame

First off, get-iplayer is a linux based programme.  RTMPDump tends to work with that error to start the recording at the place where the download stopped, unlike when using windows where you have to delete the file.  You do have to install ffmpeg separately to get the file converted from Flashvideo.

Linux will eventually find the proper spot and resume recording the flash stream.

I’m finding the results of using get_iplayer with linux are very favourable.

Posted 02/08/2011 by lacithedog in BBC iplayer, get_iplayer, iplayer, Linux, Ubuntu

Another iPlayer comment

An addition to my last post, The BBC should have some way to comment about the quality of the BBC iPlayer material. In particular, the video, sound, download, etcetera.

Posted 19/06/2011 by lacithedog in BBC, BBC iplayer, iplayer

Complaints about the Official iPlayer Desktop

I am going to come straight out and say that I have disliked the official iPlayer programme since it became “user unfriendly” due to various attempts at DRM. For the most part, I prefer to use the third party programmes such as get_iplayer and the now defunct ipdl.exe for their flexibility.

I do use the official iPlayer site to keep up with the latest BBC programmes and news, but that is pretty much it. Except for this case, I wanted to see Paul Murton’s Grand Tours of Scotland. It was originally broadcast on BBC One, but lately it was rebroadcast on BBC HD. Sometimes, get_iplayer will record HD material, but Grand Tours of Scotland was not recording not matter what I did.

An alternate choice is to buy the DVD, but that doesn’t seem to be available. Neither does the download avenue, which is my ultimate last resort (trust me, if ITV would package Time Team on DVD…).

Well, my real last resort actually was the official iPlayer programme.

First off, I do not like official iPlayer programme’s DRM which requires that I watch the downloaded material within a 30 day period (which goes to 7 days once one begins to watch the episode). The main reason is that it forces me to watch the material which can build up. There are other reasons as well dealing with portability of material since I have to watch any downloaded material on a TV attached to a computer. This is instead of using a UPnP device to view the material.

Secondly, The quality of the official iPlayer programme in HD leaves quite a bit to be desired. While the audio can play fairly reasonably, the video quality is jumpy. I place this on the official iPlayer programme rather than my computer since HD material which has been downloaded with get_iplayer will play using VideoLan’s VLC Media Player Software with the type of results I would expect from an HD broadcast. Of course, DRM precludes me watching this BBC iPlayer material with third party software.

I thought the BBC wanted to get this material out to as many eyes as possible, which I would like to think they would prefer to do in a quality manner. That is that the material is playable in a manner which is acceptable. It’s annoying that the HD quality of the official iPlayer programme is this poor. I’m hoping that this will be rebroadcast in standard definition sometime soon. At least before I cry Ruth from the motion sickness caused by the official iPlayer programme’s HD quality.

BBC iPlayer to offer ITV material

A young Jeff Rawle. What character was he in the Harry Potter series?

In case you missed it, this is the big news in the iPlayer community. I do have to admit agreeing with the Inquirer’s comment that “Middle class, middle aged people will be outraged that the great unwashed’s commercial telly has found its way onto the BBC’s Iplayer, and Youview might be worried too.” Part of me is happy that programmes such as Time Team will be accessible through the official iPlayer (probably not get_iplayer). On the other hand, most of ITV seems to be US offerings with the good stuff getting repackaged as BBC on US public TV (false labeling that).



Here’s the BBC’s take on it:

Mixed feelings on my part. I have a lot of “brand loyalty” to the BBC with most of my viewing being BBC material. I don’t write off the independents, but I can make do without them. On the other hand, it is nice to have access to their programmes for those treasures which poor, ignorant Yanks are deceived into believing are BBC productions (e.g. the Original Upstairs, Downstairs was produced by London Weekend). My old fav, Billy Liar was also an ITV production, but it was remade for US audiences.

Also, I don’t think that the availability of ITV material is going to make me more likely to use the official version of iPlayer over get_iplayer. Maybe if they do something about the DRM and offer a purchase service for material past the 30 day “catch up date”.

Posted 18/02/2011 by lacithedog in BBC, BBC iplayer, Channel 4, iplayer, ITN, ITV

I know you read this (part 2)

Especially since I know how to get your attention, but it isn’t something that my relations who work for Auntie haven’t heard until they are sick of it.

I know the BBC’s (and ITV’s) point of view about preserving digital rights and all that. It’s not just the BBC since other entities are involved (E.g., US Public Broadcasting and The Discovery Network). The problem is that there is still revenue haemorrhaging which can’t be blamed on the BBC iPlayer being pirated to the Internet.

Whilst the boffins are trying to keep people from downloading material which bypassed the iPlayer’s Adobe Air DRM, the material still makes it to the internet on Pirate Bay and Files Tube. It doesn’t take too long for something like a Being Human, the Tudors, or Even the Michael Portillo Great British Railway Journeys to show up as downloads in HD format. One site,, sells the material.

The other gripe I have with the official iPlayer is how the catch up service tends to be erratic, with episodes being up for a week to much longer. Not to mention that there is a 7 day lifespan once an episode has begun to be watched, and 30 day lifespan without viewing. I reckon that Michael Portillo Great British Railway Journeys runs anywhere from 10-32 1/2 hours (10 for series one 22 1/2 for series two) which is far more of Michael than I want to sit through at once.

I realise that it is blasphemy to suggest that the iPlayer material should have an additional charge in addition to the licence fee, but there must be a way that this material can be delivered digitally in a reliable manner that earns money for the BBC. Why should something like make money selling this material whilst the BBC loses out?

And the regional issue, couldn’t you also look the other way at that? After all, the official iPlayer material plays anywhere once it has been downloaded. Likewise, one can buy the Region 2 DVDs and watch them anywhere in the world with a region free player. I have to admit that the regional restriction isn’t that much of an issue, but any pay service should be a bit more liberal in who can access the material.

My preference is to acquire this material from legitimate means, usually iPlayer or purchase of the DVD. On the other hand, it is annoying to find that this material is freely available (in fact more freely available–e.g., the Goodies complete and Time Team) via download.

There is a market for this which can earn money for the BBC. It is a shame that the BBC is not working to exploit it: both in terms of revenue and increased audience for its products

Posted 16/02/2011 by lacithedog in BBC, BBC iplayer, DRM, get_iplayer, iplayer, ITN, ITV, Piracy

The real issue with my iPlayer

It wasn’t the BBC or get-iPlayer, but my new ISP. Or should I say, my new internet connection. There was a switch from DSL to wireless. While my wireless connection is excellent, it was a little too good.

I live less than half a kilometre from several towers, which was confusing my wireless modem.

The simple fix was to contact my service provider and get them to lock the modem to one tower. It works a treat now.

Iplayer is working a charm. But it wasn’t any of the typical issues, but something related to how I connect to the internet. That makes me glad I didn’t clog up the get-iplayer listserve. Anyway, I had pretty much tried all the suggested fixes with no joy.

That doesn’t stop my rants on the official iPlayer, DRM, and BBC’s misguided management.

Has the BBC “done” it again? NO!

Editorial Comment: get_iplayer is still working on one of my computers: so the question is: (a) is the issue with flvstreamer (my version does not support SWF verification or (b) my new ISP. Later in the weekend, there will be an experiment to figure out what was the problem.

Also, there wasn’t a rash of queries in the get_iplayer list.

Soooo, it’s either the computer or the ISP.

Editorial Comment 2: It was actually something at the BBC since get_iplayer is now downloading.

OK, I am trying to download using get_iplayer using the following:


Latest search:

get_iplayer –get 764 –modes=iphone,flashhd,flashvhigh,flashhigh,flashstd,flashnormal,flashlow,n95_wifi –force

The result:

764: The Boats That Built Britain – 6. World War Two Landing Craft, BBC Four, Factual,History,TV, default

INFO: 1 Matching Programmes
INFO: Checking existence of default version
INFO: No specified modes (flashhd,flashvhigh,flashhigh,flashstd) available for this programme with version ‘default’ (try using –modes=)
ERROR: Failed to record ‘The Boats That Built Britain – 6. World War Two Landing Craft (b00sfsqw)’

Earlier, I was getting an error about “handshake”,:

ERROR: Connect, handshake failed.
INFO: Command exit code 1 (raw code = 256)

but now it is totally no modes available whatsoever (includes iphone mode). I tried this using Linux and Windows, but no joy.

The problem is that I can download to official iPlayer, which is OK. Except that I have to watch any programme using a computer attached to a TV. My UPnP isn’t very useful to me with Official iPlayer.

Second grouse–head to the download sites and the popular programmes are available in HD: e.g. Being Human Season 3.

Somebody needs to break it to the folks at the BBC that there are other ways to get this material out on the internet. The only people getting worked over are the people who want to use a programme other than the official iPlayer for whatever their reasons. I can use a DVR to record this material (if I want to buy one).

Anyway, I’m sure people will figure out a work around making this a minor inconvenience.

This rant is staying up since I make some point about Auntie’s ridiculous practise of thwarting other modes for downloading iPlayer material.

get_iplayer not recording?

OK, there has been a lot of discussion on the get_iplayer listserve about get_iplayer not recording.  I’m not responding to the listserve, but blogging about it for a few reasons.

First off, this failure is intermittent and unpredictable.  That is some of my computers experience it, and others do not.  I have been able to record HD material on one computer, yet I copy my get_iplayer files to another computer and it only can record flashvhigh.

Another computer is totally unable to record altogether.

I will admit to multiple variables here since I use around 4-5+ OSs, but that shouldn’t make a difference since my two ubuntu based machines give me different results and they are on the same version of Ubuntu.

And the one machine which is more effective at recording is still using the old version of get_iplayer!

I will say that the video quality can suffer with some recordings.  I’m not sure of the technical term for what I am having, but it is downright annoying.

I don’t really have the time or patience to try and suss out the reasons for this, but I thought I would get it out in the iPlayer community. I know that people who are better situated for addressing these issues are working on them.  Still, I would like to think that results would be consistent rather that totally eccentric.

Posted 16/01/2011 by lacithedog in BBC iplayer, get_iplayer, iplayer

To BT or not to BT, that is the question

When I say BT, I mean BitTorrent, which is a peer-to-peer, open source file-sharing application effective for distributing very large software and media files. In my case, video files.

My preferred method is to download directly from the BBC site (or in the past ITV and Channel 4), but the problem is that some programmes are no longer available for download. Or they may be at the end of their life for download (e.g., they reran Professor Robert Bartlett’s The Normans, or Dig 1940) where download availability is spotty. The best example is Two Men in a Trench, Tony Pollard’s and Neil Oliver’s battlefield archaeology programme.

Unfortunately, this one is almost totally unavailable through official channels (there is a small flash version of the Battle of Britain Episode), but is available as a download: in particular, bittorrent downloads.

OK,it’s nice to be able to see these programmes, but I’m none too happy with bittorrents. First off, they take forever to download. One episode downloads in no time, while the rest take weeks to download.

Personally, I would prefer to be able to download this material from the BBC even if I had to pay anything from 99p to £1.99. Of course, there is the proviso that I would prefer to download a high quality version without DRM if I am paying more money for the download.

Anyway, the BBC is losing money as this material still shows up in the various download sites not matter how much they hope their DRM will prevent this activity.