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BBC admits iPlayer downloads are broken

Anonymous Coward

Thank god get_iplayer still works fine, and is not limited to the "approved" platforms

https://github.com/get-iplayer/get_iplayer

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Re: Thank god get_iplayer still works fine, and is not limited to the "approved" platforms

I dont know why they dont just direct people to get_iplayer. It works.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thank god get_iplayer still works fine, and is not limited to the "approved" platforms

If someone can stick a GUI on top that could even be a viable option - most people don't do well with a command line (in a way that's good - command lines hide a lot of power).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thank god get_iplayer still works fine, and is not limited to the "approved" platforms

If someone can stick a GUI on top that could even be a viable option

Try the automator (for Macs).

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Re: Thank god get_iplayer still works fine, and is not limited to the "approved" platforms

If someone can stick a GUI on top that could even be a viable option

I did myself a basic one in VB.NET (yes, really) years ago - took minutes, still using it to this day. If I can do it I'm honestly amazed no one has done a proper one.

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Re: Thank god get_iplayer still works fine, and is not limited to the "approved" platforms

After using get_iplayer for years I finally built a KDialog GUI box (started from an icon) that you can paste the pid number from the iplayer program page into, that then kicks off a bit of c that sends a request to a Pi that does the download. Works really well and the Pi downloads to a pendrive so I can easily pull it and take it away

The embedded KDialog line is : X=`kdialog --inputbox PID?` ; /home/bin/gip $X where gip is the c program that requests the pasted pid from the Pi daemon

You could, of course, just pass the pid from the dialogue to a script downloading the programme to the local machine

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Pint

Re: Thank god get_iplayer still works fine, and is not limited to the "approved" platforms

The BBC know all about get_iplayer - if only because I'm guessing some of their IT people prefer it. Hence rather a Nelsonian eye is aimed at its 'tender' enforcement of certain things.

The biggest danger to get_iplayer is we tell too many people about it. Its the paradox - if it becomes too popular and a real threat to the BBC third party licensing deals - it will simple be defeated by a cunning change of download specs. The BBC have done that many times already by accident which the author had to reverse engineer.

The beer is for the get_iplayer developer. Wish I could award another for the iPlayer devs. Its still the best from the mainstream broadcasters though C4 & ITV are beginning to catch up on picture quality.

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Re: Thank god get_iplayer still works fine, and is not limited to the "approved" platforms

if it becomes too popular and a real threat to the BBC third party licensing deals - it will simple be defeated by a cunning change of download specs. The BBC have done that many times already by accident which the author had to reverse engineer.

Unless things have changed (and I missed it), that's already in the works. BBC are (or maybe were?) planning on completely changing iPlayer to use their new "Nitro" API.

To interact with the API the software needs to present a valid key, and the BBC has/had a staunch list of who exactly those keys would be issued to, which is unlikely to include get_iplayer.

I'm hoping things have changed though, because get_iplayer is a decent bit of software (where the "official" product is not).

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Re: Thank god get_iplayer still works fine, and is not limited to the "approved" platforms

"iPlayer to use their new "Nitro" API. To interact with the API the software needs to present a valid key, and "

And DRM has worked flawless in the past. Never been broken when motivated...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If someone can stick a GUI on top that could even be a viable option

Web PVR ?

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Re: Thank god get_iplayer still works fine, and is not limited to the "approved" platforms

@GregC "I did myself a basic one in VB.NET "

I did a get_iplayer GUI in C#. I wonder how many variations there are out there. One of us needs to pull his finger out, polish up the code a bit, and open source it properly. If only I had the time. Or the will.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If only I had the time. Or the will

And there you have the modern paradigm.

The amount of effort to go from "works, but is shit" to "awesome" is far greater than the people who would appreciate the difference could make it worth.

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Re: Thank god get_iplayer still works fine, and is not limited to the "approved" platforms

https://github.com/speculatrix/web_get_iplayer

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Re: Thank god get_iplayer still works fine, and is not limited to the "approved" platforms

Jumpin' Jehosephat! It's simpler to just use the command line program than to get that GUI working.

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FAIL

They ****ed something up

sometime last week. My LG TV (has an iPlayer app) has - for the past year or so - faithfully built up a history of iPlayer progs I have watched. And remembered where I was, if I paused part way.

As of Saturday - no. All gone.

But in a clue as to what they have fucked with, I did get asked the question about a TV license.

Again.

4th time in a month.

So I can have a good guess at what activity has SNAFUd things.

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Boffin

Re: They ****ed something up

"LG TV"

I have located the problem.

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Thumb Up

Re: "LG TV"

It's the closest way to get iPlayer on the TV. If it fails, I have:

TiVo;

Chromecast;

Firestick;

Cast tablet to TV

Laptop.

Which is why paying for any "smart" feature is a mugs game, The sooner the ̶T̶V̶ panel manufacturers realise that, the better.

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Anonymous Coward

Thank God ..

.. the BBC is mostly repeats these days.

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Mushroom

Remove! Flash! Everywhere! on! your! site! Now!

Pause iPlayer, nobody cares, atm, JUST remove the bloody flash player from bbc.co.uk, NOW - you already hide it for iP*ds!

Just invert the code that checks the user agent and replace Apple device user agents with ancient (unsupported) browser user agents, HOW HARD CAN THAT BE ? Would probably take me 10 minutes, tops, in notepad/vi/emacs/nano/eclipse/visualStudio/sed/awk/whatever and I have never seen your code, FFS!

BBC, embarrassment to the world!

Seriously, it is so TRIVIAL a fix that I would be inclined to think some evil bastard org is forcing you to stick to flash ... then again, your are the Beeb for reason, hey ?

BTW: Care to name your webmasters/devs ... would not want to end up hiring one of them...... EVA!

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Pint

Re: Remove! Flash! Everywhere! on! your! site! Now!

Calm down Hans 1 - Just uninstall Flash.

I haven't had it on my computer for a couple of years. iPlayer has worked for a long time and the vast majority of the rest of the BBC content (not old news stories) is not flash based. They seem to have shifted news stories off flash around the time of the 2016 Olympics. I rarely (if ever) come up against a video on the beeb asking for flash.

Beer icon, because I think you need one.

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Re: Remove! Flash! Everywhere! on! your! site! Now!

Or maybe YOU should do the sensible thing and remove Flash from YOUR system, problem solved.

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Re: Remove! Flash! Everywhere! on! your! site! Now!

"Calm down Hans 1 - Just uninstall Flash."

I have a couple of sites I use that need Flash, but I do have it set up to ask for permission. On the BBC sites I generally find that ignoring the request to authorize Flash now automatically starts the html5 version.

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Re: Remove! Flash! Everywhere! on! your! site! Now!

Aaaaaaaaaaaand breeeeeeeeeeeathe, Hans 1.

In through the nose, out through the mouth, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Feel better yet?

Probably not.

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Re: Remove! Flash! Everywhere! on! your! site! Now!

For iPlayer, just opt in to the HTML5 version online

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Re: Remove! Flash! Everywhere! on! your! site! Now!

Some people want to read information over making point of principle statements.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Remove! Flash! Everywhere! on! your! site! Now!

Mangle and invert the agent check? Really? That's your solution?

I'd not want to hire you!

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Unhappy

Bah!

"...some people are experiencing problems downloading BBC iPlayer content to computers. "

Yes, me for one.

Not because of any cock-ups with the iPlayer but because the BBC does not recognise Linux as an OS. I have complained repeatedly to the BBC about it and have always been blown off with the reply that "We do not support Linux" Why the hell not? Don't tell me that some IT people in the BBC have never heard of Linux.

If my licence payments are good enough why should the fact that I use Linux disqualify me from something I actually pay for?

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Linux

Re: Bah!

Because they know that using a powerful OS might be used to circumvent their DRM?

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Trollface

Re: Bah!

If my licence payments are good enough why should the fact that I use Linux disqualify me from something I actually pay for?

Pfft, consider yourself lucky mate, think of us poor VIC-20 users, we're still waiting too!

(Because it is a horrific waste of money to spaff a disproportionate amount of it on such a small special interest group like Linux users - and I say that as a Linux user. Besides: wtf, you never heard of get_iplayer?)

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Re: Bah!

There is NO DRM on iPlayer.

None, not now, not ever.

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Re: Bah!

Not true, the prototype had a DRM.

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Re: Bah!

There's DRM by definition - it's a streaming client. What they don't like is any saving of that stream

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bah!

If something doesn't work on linux, you guys are quick to moan about cross-platform accessability. But if a product does happen to have a linux version, and anyone else complains, you're always the first to shout "you should use linux"

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Bronze badge

Not just downloads

They have broken the sync between sound and pictures. It's been unreliable in that respect on my Amazon stick for a while. Now, since an update that was supposed to give "improved quality" on my phone, even on downloaded programs, it gets so out of sync that it's unwatchable.

Next I will try get_iplayer for this. Normally I use that mostly for radio.

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Anonymous Coward

Can they sort out the sodding android app too whilst they are at it. Sound goes out of sync and crackly about half way through any downloads. This is on Samsung S6, so not exactly an obscure device.

I'm *forced* to use getiplayer if i want to watch stuff on my phone due to the BBC's own fuckwittage.

I'm guessing the I thingie versions work just dandy?

Oh, and ffs, is 1080p and DD sound really too much to ask for?

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Anonymous Coward

Just ditch the BBC.

I got rid of BBC iPlayer last September with the new rules for iPlayer, blocked it in the router. Even asked my ISP if they could block it.

I had a trial for a month on Amazon Prime to wean me off (not difficult though), I genuinely haven't missed it even though I expected I would.

I now have a regular night out at the Cinema instead (instead of watching the same crowd plug their wares on Graham Norton). House got decorated over Winter (that would never of happened) and looking forward to a lot more outside activities this Spring/Summer.

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Re: Just ditch the BBC.

"...blocked it in the router. Even asked my ISP if they could block it."

Isn't it enough that you blocked it yourself without trying to get your ISP involved too?

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Re: Just ditch the BBC.

Why block it at all? Why not just stop using it?

Honestly, it's like some people enjoy winding themselves up about things.

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Devil

Re: Just ditch the BBC.

Amazon prime

Much more evil to content producers than Sky or BBC.

Subscription services MUST be bad value, because you pay the same even if you take a break watching and the people selling them make a LOT of profit. That's why Adobe has switched to sub. Cheaper subscription services are only cheap because they are in customer acquisition/growth mode. I expect Netflix to double in price in Ireland and does Spotify actually make money?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just ditch the BBC.

You don't understand, when the TV licence man comes round he's going to invite him in and show him his router's firewall rules. Only then will he have stuck it to The Man.

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Re: Just ditch the BBC.

Yes. I personally am still very surprised when people deploy hyperbole in comments pages on news sites. I expect a more relaxed, calm and measured approach from users of the interwebs.

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Re: Just ditch the BBC.

I guess that you aren't paying for a TV license then?????

Otherwise, despite its faults, you get iPlayer and the downloads for free if you are a license payer.

So you moved and became a license payer to Amazon Prime. Bully for you but you really must have had a huge fit of pique to want your ISP to block iPlayer. They wouldn't but I expect that your request gave the support team a bit of a laugh.

Sheesh. There is no pleasing some people.

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Its this new fangled "internet" thingy.

We're still developing the tech to allow you to download a file from the interwebs.

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HTML5

I cannot get iPlayer to do anything unless I install flash.

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Re: HTML5

I cannot get iPlayer to do anything unless I install flash.

I had this problem for a while on BBC News pages (which are mostly what I use - programmes I get via get_iplayer). Two things.

If you either do not have Flash installed, or have it "click to activate", just wait for about five seconds and the page will refresh and give you the HTML5 player if your browser is capable. Personally I'd prefer it to be HTML5 first, refreshing to Flash for older browsers, but hey.

This might not happen if you have something like NoScript and have blocked certain sites (can't remember which now, as not at that computer).

You can tell which you are viewing by right-clicking on the window. It should be obvious from the menu that pops up.

Even if the page does refresh, you might find that the HTML5 player doesn't work - I did; it gave me the controls, but just sat there with a spinny thing for ever. It turned out that it uses a different (pair of?) content delivery network(s) to the Flash player and I had to unblock those on NoScript before it would work.

M.

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Anonymous Coward

Fine

Well my torrent downloads continued to work.

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WTF?

Autoplay madness

Watching videos on the BBC news site with Ubuntu 16.04 (64) is driving me mad. Flash refuses to remember "Autoplay off". Just because I view one story about a volcano does not mean that I want to see every volcano since the beginning of time :(

Dear BBC, please abandon Flash.

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Re: Autoplay madness

The thing is that would be easy for a two year old to set and read from a cookie but for some reason they dont want to implement it - they'd rather waste our and their bandwidth than write a couple of lines of code.

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Re: Autoplay madness

Install a flash blocker and the page will reload and play HTML5 instead. If you search BBC html5 you should find a page where you can select html5 as your default too.

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Anonymous Coward

Never mind the bug. Was one sad individually really going to sit down and watch 880 minutes of something?

I think "get a life" is the phrase I'm looking for.

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