iPlayer TV downloads are broken
Updated information on the problem: there’s a problem at the BBC’s end
For all that the BBC is nominally the British Broadcasting Corporation, they’re doing a rather good job of making sure that the only way to receive iPlayer content is through US software companies: Microsoft, Adobe, and Apple. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this traitorous—I’ve never been a big fan of nationalism—but it doesn’t seem particularly helpful to the digital economy of the UK in the longer term.
In the past couple of weeks, the BBC turned on SWF verification on the iPlayer RTMP servers, breaking clients using that method—notably the widely-used iPlayer streaming plugin for XBMC.
This didn’t affect my downloader which—in case you weren’t aware—works by imitating an iPhone (or iPod Touch).
I don’t have an iPhone: I have an Android phone. If the BBC hadn’t gone to such absurd lengths to ensure that only iPhones can access the HTTP/h.264 version of the iPlayer, I’d almost certainly be able to use it. As it is, I can’t. It’s this short-sightedness and bad faith that keeps me motivated to work on ways to circumvent these stupid, audience-hostile restrictions.
As of today, however, it appears that my downloader can no longer retrieve TV content from the iPlayer. Radio still works. I’m not yet sure what has changed, but I expect to have a fix in the next few days.