Watch BBC iPlayer on your phone offline in 6 simple steps (Download streams)

Since BBC iPlayer app on Android only works on wifi and has no support for offline playback I was looking for another way to watch BBC content on my Android device. Previously I had used an Android app called MyPlayer which allowed me to watch BBC streams over 3G but the app has since been pulled at the BBC's request I believe. It's a shame their own app is so poor the future of TV is user driven on demand any time any where viewing and the BBC needs to keep up with this if they're going to compete in the Web2.0 digital age of streaming. If I'm on wifi it's likely that I have a TV nearby - the BBC is missing a huge audience with its wifi online only based app where it needs to be is 3G streaming or offline show shifting (with DRM if it must). Furthermore the lackluster quality of the Android flash feeds versus the Apple H.264 feeds from the BBC is another hot topic where as a license payer I feel hard done. Part of my solution to watch BBC content of the go offline is with get_iplayer read on...



NOTE: This will only work if you have a UK IP Address

get_iplayer is a linux based application that has PVR-like capabilities (like Sky+ / TiVo / Series-Link); You can save lists of programme searches which are automatically recorded when they become available so that you can watch them when you choose and on devices that cannot run Adobe Flash Player - even if you don’t have adequate broadband speeds or if your broadband streams too slowly at peak hours when you want to watch a programme.


The iPhone H.264 feeds from the BBC are higher quality than in the Flash iPlayer (normal quality). See the beebhack wiki for a comparison. They are intended for the Apple iPhone and are consequently difficult to download for any other OS. The same goes for the iPhone MP3 radio streams. get_iplayer also allows recording of the high-quality (even HD 720p) flash based content using rtmpdump. None of the above content is ‘protected’ by DRM. get_iplayer cannot remove DRM.


Phil Lewis and a few others worked out how to work around these problems and now have tools which essentially simulate an iPhone as far as the BBC web servers are concerned.
get_iplayer does the recording, indexing and searching of the iPlayer TV/Radio programmes and podcasts available. It can even stream the iPlayer TV programmes while recording them to mplayer, vlc or xine, etc.


Source: http://www.infradead.org/get_iplayer/html/get_iplayer.html
Original developer: http://linuxcentre.net/getiplayer


1. Download get_iplayer 
wget ftp://ftp.infradead.org/pub/get_iplayer/get_iplayer-2.80.tar.gz

2. Unzip get_iplayer
tar get_iplayer-2.80.tar.gz

3. Make iPlayer executable   
cd ./get_iplayer-2.80
chmod 755 ./get_iplayer

4. Update iPlayer
./get_iplayer --update


5. Install rtmpdump (an open source command-line RTMP client intended to stream audio or video content from all types of flash or rtmp servers)
sudo apt-get install rtmpdump

6. Get a list of iPlayer programs available and their indexes
./get_iplayer -i

7. Pick a programme to download the stream
./get_iplayer -g INSERTPROGRAMMEID --output="PATH" --flvstreamer="/usr/bin/flvstreamer" --modes=QUALITY --force

8. Alternatively intstead of using the command line start the web gui

#!/bin/bash
nohup perl /pathtoiplayer/get_iplayer.cgi --port=1935 --getiplayer=/
pathtoiplayer /get_iplayer > /dev/null 2>&1

Make sure you adjust the firewall to allow the port you select to run the server on, 1935 in the above example.

9. Open the web gui on another PC:

http://serverip:1935


10. Copy the recorded programme to your Android device by any means and watch away!

The following Quality modes are available from the BBC not every quality is available on every stream, use --info to check the quality available for the stream:

Quality
Video Resolution 
Video Codec   
Video Frame rate 
Audio Codec
Audo Sample rate 


flashhd1

1280 x 720
H264 - MPEG-4 AVC1
24.93 fps
MPEG AAC mp4a
44.1khz



flashhd2

1280 x 720
H264 - MPEG-4 AVC1
24.93 fps
MPEG AAC mp4a
44.1khz



flashvhigh1 (akamai)
832 x 468
H264 - MPEG-4 AVC
25 fps
MPEG AAC mp4a
48khz

flashvhigh2 (limelight)
832 x 468
H264 - MPEG-4 AVC
25 fps
MPEG AAC mp4a
48khz



flashhigh1 - this is a little jerky on the Nexus one
640 x 360
H264 - MPEG-4 AVC
25 fps
MPEG AAC mp4a
48khz

flashhigh2
640 x 360
H264 - MPEG-4 AVC
25 fps
MPEG AAC mp4a
48khz
 
flashstd1 - this is my preferred option for watching on the Nexus one with smooth playback
640 x 360
H264 - MPEG-4 AVC
25 fps
MPEG AAC mp4a
48khz

flashstd2 - this is a little jerky on the Nexus one
640 x 360
H264 - MPEG-4 AVC
25 fps
MPEG AAC mp4a
48khz

Others:

rtsphigh1
rtsphigh2
rtsplow1
rtsplow2
rtspstd1
rtspstd2
rtspvhigh1
rtspvhigh2

32 comments:

  1. It should be so simple to download and play files on my Samsung Note. I'm a uk based TV licence payer, I can download to my laptop but when I'm stuck in a hotel I simple want to be watch recorded shows on my phone. Until reading this article I was strugling to do so. Now I can but it would be far easier if BBC could get their finger out to enable Android users to simply download direct (I'm on infinity at home and really don't want to be downloading big files on some slow WIFI hotspot - even less want to be eating into my 3G allowance and sod stuttering streaming)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Easier to use torrent. Shame really.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The BBC are retards. They kill off two decent iPlayer clients (BeebPlayer and MyPlayer) and replace them with a Flash based abortion that is next to useless.

    This was done, according to the BBC, to improve quality (clearly bullshit) and to protect the delivered content.

    The use of Flash does provide a modicum of protection, but the utterly shite user experience just encourages all who use the "official" iPlayer app to hit the torrents.

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