Steve Jobs rescues freetards from BBC iPlayer wilderness (for now)
iPhone streams start DRM-free download party
Enterprising Linux hackers have built a new way to download BBC iPlayer programmes that lets online viewers store shows indefinitely - and it's all thanks to Steve Jobs.
Last week, Auntie launched the streaming version of iPlayer for the Jesus Phone and iPod Touch. It's meant transcoding shows to the H.264 format used by Apple's QuickTime player - and a whole raft of other players on all platforms - because Steve Jobs doesn't think Adobe Flash video is good enough to appear on his magnificent tool.
The BBC has "secured" this non-DRM'd stream using the awesome power of browser user agent strings, which are trivial to manipulate. Consequently, penguin fanciers have quickly cobbled together hacks that will grab the whole show as a 512Kb/s video download.
Such files have the advantage that they won't go pop after 30 days because of the Windows Media timebombing that third-party TV production firms have negotiated as a condition of shows being downloadable via the official iPlayer desktop client. Hobbyists have aped the process of grabbing DRM-free downloads on Windows and Mac OS X too.
In a statement, a BBC spokeswoman said: "This is not unusual or surprising. We are working with our partners to ensure that our content is delivered to users in a secure way.
"We have made it clear that BBC iPlayer on iPhone and iTouch is currently in beta, which enables us to pick up on such issues and find a solution before we roll the service out in full in due course."
The BBC says an official Mac download client will be available this year, and a Linux one "within two years".
Thanks to all those who wrote in about this. ®
What about RISC OS?
Why is the Britich Broadcasting Corporation supporting U/S platforms first, second and third, and not British platforms at all?
@Michael - lol
You made me spit biscuit on my screen. Stop it at once.
Hey! Chris Williams is a c*nt!
Only joking, no harm done. You windows zealots really need to calm down, it's just a joke see.
H.264 because Flash Video isn't good enough?
Hey, it's all about INTEROPERABILITY.
Even Adobe has embraced H.264 for future versions of Flash. It's not technically or aesthetically better than On2 VP6 but it *is* an open, non-proprietary standard.
In other words, H.264 will be Flash Video, Real Soon Now. Actually I think the latest version of the Flash player can handle it already, but the Flash video encoder is yet to be updated.
This means it's possible to make a video file which will play on youtube, on any MPEG-4 compliant set-top box, and on the iPod. That's pretty cool, no?
So let's say for sake of argument that we do need a licence to watch iPlayer streaming.
Why are we the British alone in having to pay for content the rest of the world gets free? They need to have some sort of validation dependant on physically having a license, and they could charge a fee for foreign usage. The point I was making, was that I could just move abroad, watch all the uk tv I want on the interwebnet and not pay a thing over my connection fee which I would be paying anyway.
In answer to Paul Warne, I do not currently have any download thresholds.