Broadband News

BBC iPlayer comes to portable devices with Windows DRM

Catching up on BBC TV shows while traveling just become a little easier with the announcement in the BBC Internet Blog that devices which support Windows Media protected content will now be able to play files.

To get the files onto the portable device involves downloading them to your computer and then loading across the USB cable or what ever connection the portable device uses. The files themselves are WMV format encoded at 500Kbps with a 128Kbps audio stream and are a direct download from the website, to give an example of the file size Big Cat Live which is a one hour show is 254MB (megabytes).

The list of devices tested by the BBC is shown below, it is not an exhaustive list.

One annoying feature of the way Windows Media DRM works and the lack of connectivity on many of the devices is that for the video to play you will have to play it for a few seconds using Windows Media Player on a PC so that the licence file is downloaded and available when the video is synced to your mobile device. This stops people from using other computing devices that can otherwise access the iPlayer website.

Anthony Rose also reveals something of what seems to be an ongoing area of discussion about why the iPod and iPhone do not have download options yet. Namely that Apple has not licensed its DRM technology to third parties, the end result of this is an ongoing battle between people finding ways of downloading MP4 files from the iPlayer site to let them play them on any MP4 compatible device.

One big advantage for many will be that these downloads do not require the installation of any software from the BBC, and as its a download, playback should be without the stutter that can occur when watching streamed video over an Internet connection.


Thankfully it works on Creative Zen devices, it's great. Any device that can play Windows Media DRM'ed video files should do it.

The annoying part is the BBC do not show the "Download" button in the Opera browser, because the traditional download would not work - but the media player download would work.

  • SimpleRules
  • over 12 years ago

It begs the question why DRM? Without this the OS is not important.

  • bosie
  • over 12 years ago

LOL or you could download the non DRM .mov versions and spent 10 minutes converting and making it work on any device for as long as you want it

  • over 12 years ago

Good god - What a waste of time.

Aren't the BBC supposed to have a commitment to support non-Windows compatible devices? When will we start to see any evidence of this commitment - the BBC are still persisting with flogging the Windows Media DRM dead horse.

I know why the program makers/publishers are insisting on DRM - but a five minute search on any Torrent site will reveal that the DRM DOESN'T WORK - So why not just drop all the DRM nonsense and as a previous poster says, they will instantly have support for any platform on any device that can play MP4s.

  • amphion
  • over 12 years ago

Lets not forget that, although you can't download files from iPlayer to the iPhone, you can stream video. Have been able to for a while now.

DRM problems? You can use a screen capture program.

  • ianeiloart
  • over 12 years ago

quote"DRM problems? You can use a screen capture program."

Yep thats another way apps like orbit will happily download the stream based FLV version :)

Plenty of ways to get content from iplayer with no DRM :)

  • over 12 years ago

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