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Faked iPhone BBC iPlayer

The BBC have just launched a version of their iPlayer that works with the iPhone (and iPod Touch). Instead of streaming Flash, it streams an MP4... but they don't let non-iPhone users know it's an option. So, I used the User Agent Switcher to set Firefox to claim to be an iPhone, and in place of the normal Flash playback doofer, I got a Quicktime one instead... and nothing much happened. It turns out it's because it won't actually stream, it wants to download the whole thing. That's no problem though, I get 600kb/sec downloads at work =)


So, I got out Firebug and found the stream; then copied and pasted it into the address bar, and it started downloading to play in Firefox again. Not what I wanted - so I went to Save Page As... and saved the MP4 file. And then realised that I was actually, at this point, trying to download it three times (the original iPlayer window, the new QuickTime-only tab and the download) so I closed everything else, and watched it download the mp4 at the aforementioned 600kb/sec.


Once finished, I knew it had worked - hovering the pointer over the file in Windows Explorer showed its dimensions (480x272), and moments later an entirely randomly chosen programme was playing in VLC.


So, who fancies cobbling together some code to automate this, to do what the BBC has failed to do all along - make a reasonable quality iPlayer download service for platforms other than Windows, which lacks DRM?

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Taken on March 7, 2008