back to article Steve Jobs rescues freetards from BBC iPlayer wilderness (for now)

Enterprising Linux hackers have built a new way to download BBC iPlayer programmes that lets online viewers store shows indefinitely - and it's all thanks to Steve Jobs. Last week, Auntie launched the streaming version of iPlayer for the Jesus Phone and iPod Touch. It's meant transcoding shows to the H.264 format used by Apple's …

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"hacktard?"

I'm not an evangelist I don't run around mouthing about the perils of M$ and that true freedom is the only way to go but I do use FOSS and if I cant get a free version of BBC iPlayer I just won't bother, the fact that they are using my license fee and ignoring my needs is a separate issue.

What I take issue with is being called a "freetard" would you write an article about Downs Syndrome etc and publically call them "retards"?

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On AI Role Roll, with BBC Apple Orchards through to Perfumed Gardens?

Bravo the BBC. That's more like IT and its Motto. How dDeep into Virtualisation do you want to Go?

And IT is always Best 42 Insist, Nothing Less than All the Way in Order to XXXXTract Full Benefits from ITs AI Programming and Advanced Beta Protocols/Special Application of Programmings.

I suppose Steve is chuffed too..... although who would have thought he was into Virtualised Jumping .... Quantum Leaping. He must be a Newbie as we haven't heard anything to identify his Presence. Maybe it was a step too far?

Or one he hasn't come down from yet, would be the AI Beta Bet Option, though :-) As would it always be.

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Jobs Horns

Tool

One can't help but wonder what Chris Williams was thinking about when he used "Steve jobs" and "magnificent tool" in the same sentence...

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Happy

RIAA?

Wheres the RIAA when you need them most! Well, atleast I can have a decent copy of Skins without going into them ILLEGAL torrent swarms, you leaches.

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Losing battle

Nice to know of this little hack.

Unfortunately they also use geographical restrictions based on the IP address including trailers or interviews. Fortunately DVB means that some kind soul puts the programmes on the interweb so the rest of the world can see what all the fuss is about. But now I might just see if I can't get an ssh account somewhere and let wget do the work!

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flash not good enough for iPhone?

If it wasn't for youtube and www.homestarrunner.com, I'd be inclined to think Flash wasn't good enough full stop. Flash will often hog one of my cores on my 2.GHz MacBook. Opera 9.5 doesn't like it that much either, but that may be Opera's fault.

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Not Clever, Not Funny

Oh great. So the rest of us with Wiis, smartphones, etc have to wait while the BBC techs get into an arms race with a handful of childish nerds. Haven't they got anything better to do with their time?

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iPlayer DRM nonsense

There are a number of utilities on the Mac that allow video screen capture including Snapz Pro X 2 which circumvent any iPlayer DRM - which makes it all rather pointless. All you have to do is press a few keys, drag a marquee around the area to be captured and start running iPlayer. The video is saved to the hard drive as it appears on the screen to be watched at any time.

Even better, with EyeTV, I can record any program at full video resolution to my hard drive just like a video recorder at any time of the day and keep it forever if I want.

What's all the fuss?

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Dead Vulture

"not unusual or surprising"

Interesting that the BBC neither consider it unusual or surprising. In that case it was clearly intentional that they'd use such a comically incompetent way of securing content as they don't really mind people downloading it on things other than an iPhone. I do wonder how long it'll be before they pull the plug...I'm guessing now the iPhone SDK is out they could conspire to deliver some crapware on par with the Windows iPlayer download manager.

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Linux

2 Years?

If h.264 is ok for iPhone why is it not ok for Linux? Do iPhone owners pay more for their TV Licence than Linux users?

It seems to me from the statements from the BBC that they intend to close this "hole" (and did already once by adding sessions to the page which thwarted the original method of using wget to grab the file). So what they are actually saying is they are now going to actively try and block Linux users from accessing the iPlayer service by closing the hole they created with the iPhone page? If no DRM is ok for iPhone users, why is no DRM no ok for Linux users?

Also, I know I am not the only person thinking this, but I do seem to remember the BBC saying they haven't catered for Linux yet because they are a minority market. I suspect there are a lot more Linux users out there than there are bloody iPhone users, so why the Apple Love?

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Jobs Halo

Didn't give the public what they wanted, so they took it.

No point in streaming to a mobile device, people want the stuff MOBILE.

Now just who started this arms race...

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@Neil Hoskins

Erm sod off. If iPhone users (as very small minority market) are allowed DRM free iPlayer, wtf shouldn't Linux, Wii, Xbox or any other platform users not? Last I checked my TV Licence there wasn't a more expensive tariff for people with iPhones.

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Anonymous Coward

mac fanboys v linus freetards?

So now the BBC have an excuse to stop the use of iplayer on the mac by blaming the linux users. Thus provoking the two main pains in their necks to fight amongst themselves...

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DRM'd Windows iPLayer could be copied on Mac in VM from day 1

You can copy anything you want if you really want to. No amount of DRM can ever stop this, and from day 1 release of BBC iPlayer on Windows you could copy any show by running it in an XP VM running on Mac OS X, then running a live video capture screen at the same time, recording and leaving you with a DRM free copy to watch as you please.

If the Linux freaks we're such loosers they could try beg Apple to make them a version of iTunes and Quicktime, but hopefully Steve Jobs will ban that forever.

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Flame

Freetards?

Chris,

You seem to imply that everyone who runs a non-Microsoft operating system, and might therefore benefit from non-Windows iPlayer streams, is a "freetard".

Obviously its brilliantly witty to combine "free" and "retard", and use of the term guarantees you never-ending Christmas cards from Andrew Orlowski, but there's no need to wear out the tedious schoolboy joke through misuse.

John

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Linux

Now everyone knows...!

This proves the BBC is overrun with moronic PHBs.

* Waste millions on a stupid DRM application. You can't let people download ordinary files because they will steal them, so you force DRM down their throats.

* They next say something stupid like "there are only 400 Linux users in the country!" - in your dreams MS PHB...

* Then when MPs wake up and notice something fishy is going on, and a Flash version appears overnight

* We're told the flash version gets over 90% of the downloads - where did the millions wasted on the Windows DRM application go?

* Lord Jobs says flash isn't good enough for his people (he is actually right) and magically anyone with 2 brain cells can get a plain MP4 file

* Finally El Reg tells everyone and the BBC will disable the service...

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@Neil Hoskins - Not Clever, Not Funny

Hopefully this will do the opposite. It nails the lie to the BBC's dual claims that their content *must* be DRM protected, and that they were trying to attract the biggest audience.

There's now no need for the BBC wait for DRM on Linux, Mac, Wii, smartphone etc as they've now published it DRM-free out on teh internet - unless they're in some breach of contract with the content providers?

Second, the BBC claimed that there were ~100k Linux users visiting the BBC site, and that 5% of all traffic came from Macs. Given that there are only around 30k unlocked iPhones in the UK they can't be in any way claiming that they're looking at market penetration.

Here's the deal - it's one rule for us, another for iPhone-owning-numeeja-types.

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El Reg

Starting to get more than a little fed up with every article about Apple on The Register being yet another excuse to come up with "witty" back handed digs at Apple, Jobs and the iPhone.

Its been said many many times, if you don't like it fine but at least try and report on matters without acting like a 10 year old kid.

As to those moaning about "DRM" free on the iPhone. Try reading the actual articles once in a while, you can only stream on the iPhone from iPlayer so DRM isn't an issue as you can only watch the programmes as long as the BBC has them on their website which is usually about a week.

But then again, why let the facts get in the way of a good rant.

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Alien

Bigger Pictures .... Small Bit Players

You do know that you cannot use the BBC iPlayer Download Service outside of the UK. Certainly its Programs are not available from/in Holland.

Which all sort of rather makes the Internet a bit of a joke/con/Radical Trojan in ITs Own Right.

Anyone would think that they were making IT up as they went along? And if they aren't, then who's writing the Script they're Following and deciding on Strategic Lead Support Services.

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Boffin

I am one of the "freetards"

My Flickr page is linked to at the end of the article. I take it, therefore, that I'm a "freetard" - oh, so clever. The Purlitzer prize will come knocking!

@Neil Hoskins: I'm not a childish nerd, thanks. The MP4 streams are better quality than the Flash ones and are easier to handle on my Asus Eee which, coincidentally I paid for (so not "free" - I guess El Reg just want to call me a "retard") because Flash doesn't go fullscreen. Plus by obtaining the MP4 I can watch things on my iPod Classic as well, which remains a shiny Apple product (again paid for). To be honest, if they'd done more for desktop machines before leaping on a fad product like the iPhone, this would probably not be an issue.

@"mac fanboys v linus freetards?" I fail to see your point, not least because your ability to spell and use grammar seems to get left at the door when the red mist comes up at the thought that anyone uses anything different to you. Also it seems that most people doing this (looking at referrer logs) are - shock! - Windows users, probably sick of the state that Kontiki leaves their bandwidth in. Maybe the BBC should just throw in the towel altogether then?

Here's the bottom line. The BBC are supplying programmes that can be downloaded and viewed by anything capable of understanding and parsing a standards compliant media player, but do so at a significantly lower resolution than a DVD. I think they should leave it at that - if you want to watch something, do so freely - I'm not going to go out and buy a DVD because I missed an episode of a programme, but I would download a lower resolution copy to watch. If I were a fan of the show I might well go out and buy the DVD because I'd want the best version available. It's a win/win situation.

Of course, what they'll do now is anyone's guess. I can't see them licensing FairPlay from Apple though - imagine what the board of directors would say about taking on another DRM product - they might recognise it as snake oil. They're not going to drop the iPlayer for the iPhone because they'd have egg on their face after trumpeting how great it is and rushing around making deals with The Cloud. The best option is to be honest about it and treat us like adults for a change.

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Coat

Interestingly enough...

Now that I am able to use the iPlayer service in Linux I was just watching Question Time from last week and David Davis seemed to be stating that because Microsoft is driving the National ID Register it will be vulnerable and attractive to criminals.

However...and this is the good bit, it looks like that part of the show was edited to try and remove the word Microsoft, there is a jump in the audio and I had to rewind it three times to actually figure out what he was saying.

I am sure this is not the case, because given the BBC's transparency and adherence to their charter I could never imagine that they would obfuscate a negative reference to Microsoft in a video being delivered by a service run by ex Microsoft executives.

Maybe a few of you can watch the same video and see if you have the same experience, it at about 30m20s.

Mine's the one with the picture of planes with no windows hitting the twin towers.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Freetards?

Hi John,

It's only used (and affectionately) because if the Steve Jobs angle. I encourage you to read Fake Steve Jobs if you haven't already - he coined the term and is probabaly the best non-news tech read right now.

Operating systems, free or not aren't really my bag, but how about I promise not to do it again if you promise not to take things so personally? Cheers,

- Chris

P.S. Andrew hates Christmas.

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NB
Coat

DRM is a failed model. Get over it.

I kind of feel a lot of people are missing the point here.

WHY DO WE NEED DRM IN THE FIRST PLACE?

DRM is a failed model. Everyone knows it. The only people trying to prop it up are those who either profit from it or are technologically illiterate and are advised by those who profit from it.

Give up and give us our content. We, the British people, have already paid for it.

Mine's the one masquerading as an iCoat.

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Title

I really don't understand all this iPlayer shite.

I've got a PVR with HDD & DVR, If there's a program that I want to watch, but am not able to watch it live I set the PVR to record the program, this can be to hard drive so I can watch it on the big TV, or to DVD if I want to watch it elsewhere.

Neither format is encumbered with DRM, and won't expire after 30 days.

Yet more money being spent solving a problem that doesn't really exist...

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kontiki, bag o wank

im still totally failing to see why some shiteware client needs to be used by 4od and iplayer, would it be to hard to make it work like the old edonkey links, or hell even just a leaf out of the porno industry (note to beeb and c4, they know shit loads more about delivering content that users want, in a format they want that you do) and protect the files with a subscription based cirtificate/password, would allow me to use any browser i wanted.

why not couple entering the serial number of your tv license with account creation, e.g. the beeb asks for license no during sign up, check against the license payers db. if valid has a right to the content, revoke access with expiration of license...

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Stop

@Anonymous Coward

>>why let the facts get in the way of a good rant.<<

Because you're wrong. Essentially what the BBC have is a website where you can download reasonably high quality video, DRM free and watch them back at your leisure. But for some reason, those of us without iPhones have to make do with either:

a) crappy low-res flash implementation

b) crappy p2p drm application if you're fortunate enough to have a supported OS.

It's on the web, it's DRM-free!

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Why the BBC bashing?

Jeesh - the Beeb comes up with a truly innovative product that works. Gives it to license payers for free and everyone bashes them for it.

Linux users need to chill. A version is in the pipeline and I don't see anyone else getting flamed for not producing a Linux version of their *free* software.

@NB

We the British people haven't paid for it. We've paid for the bit that gets aired on BBC1/2/34 and then cast on iPlayer for a week. The programmes are then resold on to other countries or sold on DVD, Apple TV downloads, etc. This pays a substantial amount of the production cost. Remove this revenue stream and your license fee will either soar or the quality of output will plummet. Just because someone's taken TV programmes and placed them on the Internet doesn't mean they should be free for everyone to pinch. DRM does sometimes have its place.

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Dump it

With any luck the BBC will abandon the whole idea until they can do it properly, by which time maybe BT will have got their finger out and given us enough bandwidth to cope with all the extra traffic this generates.

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Go

@Dan Maudsley

"Just because someone's taken TV programmes and placed them on the Internet doesn't mean they should be free for everyone to pinch. DRM does sometimes have its place."

The BBC would disagree. They've placed DRM-free TV programmes on the Internet, free for anyone to pinch.

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Linux

@Dan Maudsley

Firstly, it wasn't innovative. Many TV Broadcasting companies have been doing downloads on their website or through desktop applications for a long time. Furthermore, what is it you believe they have innovated? They are using 3rd party tools to deliver a 3rd rate service. I say 3rd rate service because that's what it is, until such time as it uses open standards which any member of the licence paying community can access with any device capable of going online; whether that be a smart phone, a Linux Desktop, a Microsoft Windows Desktop etc.

As for "a version is in the pipeline" etc. utter bollocks. If a version was in the pipeline they would have a much clearer deadline. The whole "available within 2 years" crap is a clear indication of this. It does not take 2 fucking years to come up with a Linux solution when it only takes 2 bloody minutes to come up with an iPhone solution. Get real. The BBC are not currently working on a Linux solution other than talking about how long they can fob us off with the "within 2 years" bullshit. If the BBC are working on a Linux solution why has there so far been absolutely zero evidence to support this claim? There is no evidence because at this time there is no solution being worked on, it is that simple. If you believe anything else you are bloody naive.

As for why isn't anyone else getting flamed for not producing Linux versions, nobody else is (yet) funded by the TV licence, they are all commercial ventures running on private money not public. They have zero responsibility to commit to the Linux community, the BBC however do and have been told so by the BBC Trust and various politicians and even admit as much themselves.

As for your comments directed @NB. Yes we have paid for it, iPlayer is funded by the TV Licence, there is no dispute of this from the BBC.

If you must post a comment using what I presume is your real name, at least get your facts right before forever tarnishing yourself by name as a bloody idiot.

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scrap it

If little boys can't respect copyright, then scrap iPlayer. Go buy a DVD instead, or order it online if you're afraid of leaving the house!

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Re: 2 Years?

"Also, I know I am not the only person thinking this, but I do seem to remember the BBC saying they haven't catered for Linux yet because they are a minority market. I suspect there are a lot more Linux users out there than there are bloody iPhone users, so why the Apple Love?"

C'mon, dude. The BBC fellate Apple at every opportunity. I thought it was just the person that ran BBC news but it seems to extend throughout the whole organisation. Whenever an Apple product comes out, it appears on BBC headline news. No other products I can think of get that free publicity simply for being from Apple. Whenever they offer a download, they call it a podcast, refer to the player as an iPod rather than a DAP, and keep the iPod elevated above the others - "download this to your iPod or MP3 player." They spend vast amounts of money putting the iPlayer onto the iPhone *before* they put it on platforms that are much more widely used. Why? It's from Apple! Simple as.

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@Greg

Hehehe, my question was actually rhetorical but thanks for pointing out the answer to people who might not understand :)

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@Asam Bashir

I too hope that Quicktime and Itunes will never be ported to linux, albeit probably not for the same reasons as yourself ;o)

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Pirate

Dan Maudsley

"the Beeb comes up with a truly innovative product that works"

No they didn't. They bought in a Microsoft solution, hence the XP/IE was the only supported platform at launch. It was only when "freetards" (WTF - I've paid my licence fee?) complained at the lack of support for other platforms that the BBC started to shift. But why should I have to wait for the BBC to develop and release a player for mac/linux/PSP/XBox/Smart Phone/Fridge/Fanboy device of your choice?

What the BBC should have done was launch an open service using a fully documented format and let individuals choose what platform/player they want to use and if there isn't a player for their device, they can write their own!

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Paris Hilton

@Dave Ross

I hope you're not suggesting that a "Steve job" with a "magnificient tool" is somehow undesirable? Paris would appreciate it, I'm sure...

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Ash
Joke

@amanfromMars

"making IT up as they went along?"

Slipping IT to us from behind?

God bless Simon.

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This is ace

Neither Kontiki's malware nor the flash player will stream to the XBox 360 I have hooked up to the telly. As I don't want to sit in front of the PC to watch TV, this is a Godsend.

Plus, since my entire setup is running OSes designed by Microsoft, I'm officially not suffering from a mental disability according to El Reg.

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It's broadcast DRM free

"Just because someone's taken TV programmes and placed them on the Internet doesn't mean they should be free for everyone to pinch. DRM does sometimes have its place."

This is such a stupid argument. The BBC broadcasts these programmes, radiating them out across the country at the speed of light, DRM FREE. Literally, every water molecule in your body is vibrating with DRM free BBC programmes right this minute and every minute of the day. So how come a few fibre-optic cables and DSL lines carrying the internet are such a problem?

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RE: scrap it

Why? We have to pay for the fucking BBC, why shouldn't we watch it?

What we need in this country is the ability to receive TV without the ability to receive BBC -- anyone fancy selling "True Freeview?" where you don't have to pay a license fee?

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Jobs Horns

Be gone

Its clearly because iPhone/iPod Touch's are optimised for decent video content and are much easier to support than Archos/Creative/(insert inferior player type) Plus the iPhone is nicely shiny and attracts the most publicity than the dull fiddly handsets out there. Its clearly a play to get more publicity. I'm saying that if they released it on, say the HTC touch or other iPhone wannabe, nobody would care.

As an iPhone owner I'm very happy about the situation and am especially happy that its managed to pee off the sandal wearing, never shaved, badly dressed, stinking techs that probably created the app in the first place. Andy M et al at the Beeb/Siemens who actually did develop this, no I don't mean you! ;)

One more reason to own an iPhone unless the mountain of obvious reasons haven't convinced you squatting freetards already.

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Anonymous Coward

Skins

I watched about half of the first series, and decided to watch it all in order before getting stuck into S02. I was lazy and torrented the first series, which was in high quality, full screen, well arranged and without DRM. I finished watching last night and went to 4od to get the first 5 episodes of S02 and had to install the 4od player, update my DRM, all in order to download some fuzzy low-res videos which expire 2 days after first watching them. n1.

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Jobs Horns

BBC Apple Biased

Actually, most people refer to MP3 players interchangeably as iPods, because most people have bought one, its not just the BBC and pod casts as...umm...podcasts. Why would they choose to use language which people are not au fait with just to please the teeny tiny in-bred minority who choose to saddle themselves with a brick sized, and oh-so-desirable Archos player? When I see somebody on the tube watching video on one of those things I just want to drop kick it to the other end of the carriage lol. If they use the word "Hoover" (as in "Hoovering") that's also because the product became synonymous with its function. When they report on Apple product launches on the news I and the rest of the civilized world enjoy it and want to know about it, so why shouldn't they report it just because you despise it? If enough people cared about any other manufacturer's dull launches they would report on them too, which says it all really.

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Boffin

Missing the point

Never mind DRM or not - is there actually anything worth watching these days?

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iPlayer on Linux

Linux guys, calm down a bit. iPlayer works on Linux, on the streaming mode, just point your firefox to www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/

It's the download with DRM part won't work on the Linux destop. Let's face it, if you are developing any software for a mass consumer market, you probably will cover Windows first, Mac second and finally Linux.

This's the market we have to live with.

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Pirate

Here is a Linux command-line iPlayer client :-)

OK, here is a Linux command line iPlayer with cached menu...Requires perl, curl, mplayer. It also generates an html index page when you run it. Sorry - quick hacky script...

http://linuxcentre.net/get_iplayer

BTW: if you switch on VALIDATE it will check if the links are broken (of which up to 25% seem to be on the iplayer site)..

- Phil

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Freetard ? more like advert programmed PAYTARDS

The term Freetard makes me laugh, are you amazingly smart because you pay full wack for stuff that can be downloaded for free ? WOW YOU ARE REALLY SMART I WISH I WAS LIKE YOU.........................

Maybe you can do research and work out ways to pay money for all free services so that you can become a money wasting PAYTARD, keep listening to the entertainment-industry-blood-suckers who program you with advertising I'm sure they love spending your money, I know i would you TARD !

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