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Enterprising soul creates BBC iPlayer download app for Mac
Friday 30 May 2008 11:34:23 by Andrew Ferguson

The PC has had a download version of the BBC iPlayer for sometime, but someone with no links to the BBC has now created a download application that works on Mac OS X.

The iPlayer Downloader can be downloaded from or

The downloaded shows are in Quicktime format apparently, and are also DRM free, which means Mac users have the potential to download a number of shows and keep them for future viewing without the worry of the 30 day expiry period the BBC iPlayer imposes on Windows machines for downloads.

We assume the software is creating the files by accessing the Flash based iPlayer website, so video quality will not match the full PC version, but file sizes will be smaller.

How long this software will be available is unclear, given the fact the BBC acted over someone publishing knitting patterns for Doctor Who monsters, circumventing its copyright protection mechanisms may result in another action. This seems very likely given that the emerging SeeSaw service is likely to charge for some material, so the BBC may view this Mac iPlayer software as bleeding revenue.

Given that the ratio of downloads to streaming views runs at 1:8 for iPlayer, it remains to be seen if a downloader will be popular for the Mac platform.


Posted by jrawle over 9 years ago
From the source code, it appears to be spoofing an iPhone to download the MP4 version, rather than the Flash version.
Posted by Going_Digital over 9 years ago
They have just added a GUI to the command line script from

Another similar GUI is called Beeb Downloader

But credit for spoofing the iPhone to enable MP4 iPlayer downloads must go to Paul Battley.
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
if its circumventing DRM I expect the bbc will move on it soon.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
As the first post says it works by fooling the site you have a different device connected for the content... This is not new, you can already spoof your browser to trick the site, linux users can even get firefox to spoof itself as IE see they can download the WMV streams... Its not much different to how the first firefox spoofs worked they spoof the sites script, others available alter the dll file... Not sure about the legality of it all but who cares if the BBC dont like it make your service work properly on non windows boxes.
Posted by jrawle over 9 years ago
The WMV streams are only available via P2P. Even if Linux users find a way to download them, they are useless without WM DRM support.
Linux can play the iPod streams as they have no DRM.

Ever since the start, it's been possible to strip the DRM from iPlayer's WMV files. The BBC know but don't really care - they don't want it themselves, but it's forced on them by other rights holders.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
The linux method spoofs see the user agent is seen as IE and windows NT, iplayer then trys to parse the link when you click on download to the p2p app, this you can either run with wine or again you can use capture tools to intercept what info is being passed along with a firefox plugin to grab the content without the full iplayer app installed... Off course once you have the content you have to break the DRM, but there are shed loads of linux tools to find DRM keys and use them to decrypt the content.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Video DRM is nothing more than an MS annoyance which in this day and age protects nothing, even a novice or a 12 year old can remove it.
Posted by cahaddras over 9 years ago
Paul Battley's script has been available for some time now, and runs on any platform supporting the ruby scripting language. The downloads are H.264/AAC encoded, about 70% of the size and resolution of the WMV P2P downloads, and of comparable compression quality (much better than the iPlayer streaming video). The significance of this GUI wrapper is that it makes the script accessible to a much wider group of users, so perhaps the BBC will be having a more serious look at plugging this loophole.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"so perhaps the BBC will be having a more serious look at plugging this loophole."

Yeah like the DRM protection i imagine they will be happy to spend piles of cash again to plug some loop hole someone exploits only for someone else to find another hole LOL, why they bother i dunno.. Something protected can be de-protected, something with a plugged loophole can be un-plugged, not difficult but still they insist on so called protecting their content.
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