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iPlayer goes cross-platform (again)
Thursday 18 December 2008 19:00:17 by John Hunt

Many readers will be familiar with the BBC iPlayer, the on demand catchup TV service from the BBC that allows you to watch programmes from the past week via the BBC website. Perhaps less will be familiar with the first incarnation of BBC iPlayer as a downloadable program that allows you to queue up and download the content you wanted to watch rather than streaming it using the Flash player on the website. In fact, BBC iPlayer Desktop is still available and it allows you to watch what you've downloaded without being connected to the Internet, handy if travelling or away from a fast Internet connection.

Whilst this version was only available for Windows originally, users were up in arms about this as they too wanted to view the content on their Mac or Linux based PC's. The Flash version, when it was released in December 2007 solved this cross-platform problem partially as it made the content available to everyone who could view flash video, but the BBC have now held up their end of the deal by also bringing the promised downloadable version to both the Mac and Linux. I do run in to one problem on my Linux PC however. The BBC requires a newer version of Flash than is currently available for the 64-bit Linux that I'm using.

Comments

Posted by TonyHoyle over 8 years ago
Looks good, but I'm not convinced it actually works yet.. there's no obvious way to download shows, and clicking on the 'click here to start downloading' just brings up the standard flash streaming site, with no download links.
Posted by john (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
Perhaps it got enabled on the website too soon. I've also heard other people saying there doesn't appear to be anything to download in it.
Posted by prayme over 8 years ago
I had the same problem downloading a programme. I think the BBC have not made many shows available yet to MAC/Linux users.
Never Mind the Buzzcocks is one you can download currently. Give it a try!
Posted by john (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
Hmm.. apparently it is live:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7787335.stm
Posted by timmay over 8 years ago
Something wrong here with two PC's running Linux (Ubuntu, 8.04 and 8.10). Can't even install the program, no install button?! I already have the latest flash I believe; 10.0.12.36.
Posted by TonyHoyle over 8 years ago
How do you download? Tried Never Mind the Buzzcocks and couldn't see anything different to the other programmes.. no obvious button saying 'download' or anything.
Posted by timmay over 8 years ago
Well this is rubbish, installed Air 1.0 and Flash 10.0.15.3. Still no elusive install button, any one got a direct link to the Linux iPlayer Desktop installer?
Posted by tcrooks3843 over 8 years ago
Well just tried it with Mac OS X with the latest Buzzcocks programme and in iPlayer a button to download Air and the iPlayer Desktop appears. Installer is pretty clumsy but works. Started downloading as soon as installer had completed. End result OK, might be useful on occasion though I've found the streaming service good enough so far as I tend not to watch programmes beyond 7 days.
Posted by uklad77 over 8 years ago
Apparently, you also have to sign up to the iPlayer labs to get the right download links for the new Download Manager

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/labs
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Well done to the beeb for producing what they promised :)

quote"The BBC requires a newer version of Flash than is currently available for the 64-bit Linux that I'm using."
The source of the latest version of flash can be downloaded freely and self compiled for 64bit linux

quote"Something wrong here with two PC's running Linux (Ubuntu, 8.04 and 8.10). Can't even install the program, no install button?! I already have the latest flash I believe; 10.0.12.36."

Save rather than downloading and running and than run via command line, or ensure you have activex enabled in your browser.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
I cant confirm for mac users but i can confirm you can with minor fiddling get it to work on Sabayon Linux 64bit and Open Suse 32bit :)
Posted by solitaire over 8 years ago
I got it working quite easily :D . *NOTE* Only a handful of programs are downloadable with the BETA download manager at the moment. BBC will include all shows once it's out of beta (expected Feb).
Posted by solitaire over 8 years ago
For people having problems with the Install. You have to first remove the current Ubuntu Adobe-Flash and install the one from Adobe's website (you may as well get "Adobe AIR" while you are there!) install Adobe AIR ".bin" file WITHOUT using 'sudo' (does not need admin rights!) then go to the iPlayer site and click on a download link (since Flash and AIR are already installed it will quickly download the Desktop Manager and install). One it's installed you can then Update Flash to the latest version in Ubuntu repositories. It should work. :D
Posted by aos101 over 8 years ago
CARPETBURN you seem confused:
"The source of the latest version of flash can be downloaded freely and self compiled for 64bit linux"
No, Flash is closed source and you cannot get the source code unless you happen to work for Adobe.

"Save rather than downloading and running and than run via command line, or ensure you have activex enabled in your browser."
ActiveX is a Windows only technology, so Linux users cannot enable it on their browser.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
No the latest linux versions (if you pick the right download) include a debugger, the source is in the redistributable pack, which it now appears you have to apply for a license to get (unless you know how to use google to get a direct link ;)

The activex instructions were for people to download on a windows system and transfer the file over to linux if they were having trouble running or getting it while using linux. Solitarers instructions above should also work, getting and installing it is not rocket science, it should be straightforward for any linux user.
Posted by timmay over 8 years ago
YaY! I got iPlayer working. Had to completely remove flash using synaptic and then install the latest.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
just another heads up........ If you have an iplayer downloader (the non official type that downloads MOV files) and elisa mediacentre you can also now configure that to stream the mov files and play them back also... Well done to the bbc for the upgrades :)
Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
it only works on Intel based Macs. On Ubuntu I had to remove the flash stuff then the BBC installer worked fine, before that it was stuck in a loop where it downloaded the latest version of flash but didn't update the browser plugin. There is a blank button under "Download" which you need to press to trigger the installer http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/install/bbc_iplayer_desktop
Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
just to add its a direct http downloader not a P2P app like the Windows version.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"just to add its a direct http downloader not a P2P app like the Windows version."

If you also use a windows pc herdwick it may be worth you grabbing the latest windows iplayer downloader, i THINK (and only think) you can now turn off the kntiki p2p functions in it :)
The BBC IMO have done a pretty decent job with iplayer, its far from perfect but in the time its been going they have made a few nice little upgrades :)
Posted by rickw over 8 years ago
Sony PS3 should be an excellent candidate for iPlayer, in fact it already is one in that someone did a hack after the BBC said it was not possible. All worked well until recently when it all seemed to stop.
So now we know that the BBC were being 'economical with the truth' as they say and don't like the media centre that the PS3 truly is to be compatible.
Posted by rickw over 8 years ago
How come I miss all this stuff ;-)
Anyway bbc.co.uk/iplayer now works on the PS3 but sadly ps3iplayer.com is not working.
Only prob is that the BBC version seems to force the big screen version and I cannot select the small screen low bandwidth version.
Best invest in higher bandwidth then eh?!!!
Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
Carpet - Using the link above I installed the iPlayer Desktop beta via Google Chrome and have that running under windows.

Like the Linux version it starts out with a default hard disk space allocation of zero GB, a bug I suspect in the Beta.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Hmm interesting herdwick will have to investigate that and google chrome, thanks :)
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Quick update...
Thanks to herdwick about the google chrome trick, even without it seems to load the plain old regular streamed content a second or so quicker than firefox or opera, so thanks again a slight improvement but every little helps :)
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