The BBC has quietly updated its hugely popular iPlayer with a verification layer that closes the door on open source implementations of RTMP (real-time messaging protocol) streaming, The Register has learned. The Beeb applied the update to its online video catch-up service on 18 February, just four days after Adobe Systems …
Still works with...
...like I'd post it on here!!! LOL
What a bunch of morons. I love using my old xBox to watch iPlayer (I live in the UK, I pay my license fee) and now I can't because some ass-hat is sucking the Adobe phallus.
We need DRM like we need a freaking hole-in the head. With the coming of HTML5, hopefully the world will wake-up to what utter crap Flash is and we can move on. but probably not.
BeebPlayer not affected:
Works for me and the developer says it isn't affected (for the moment):-
Strange goings on
All I get when I try to access anything through the BeebPlayer is 'Not yet available'
I would have thought the BBC would play this safe but they are possibly forced into this by their content providers (i.e. some companies which make content for the BBC).
The problem is this hurts the BBC both ways; they either annoy the viewers or their content providers - if they annoy their content providers may stop providing content to the BBC (Spooks, etc) and if they annoy their viewers then they will annoy there monetary stream and anyone which uses the service.
If I were them I would just tell their providers to put up or shut up as once the viewers are gone they are gone so is any of your power and money; in fact by that stage they are effectively a dieing corpse.
I wouldn't mind ditching the TV as I don't really care for it anyone (other that Channel 4 news which I can watch online) and Question Time on Thursday and it would save me like £170ish a year. TV isn't really required any more anyway as I can watch older versions of programming for both Channel 4 news and Question Time.
I think the BBC's future lies with IPTV and they are cutting their kind of shooting themselves in the foot on this one - if they haven't realised IPTV is the future then they are living in the past.
I think Canvas/whatever is their IPTV solution
They'll stick to Flash in the browser (and MP4 for the iPhone if they absolutely have to), but give most people IPTV through custom boxes. They'll probably even stick to the faintly ridiculous idea of broadcast listings for deciding when content is available for, ummm, another 30 years.
Short & Curlys
"...they annoy their viewers then they will annoy there monetary stream and anyone which uses the service."
I wish it could be like that, but the reality of the situation is that it would not have any effect on their monetary stream, if you don't like the BBC you still have to pay for a license to watch the other channels and any on-demand services.
RE: Short & Curlys
"I wish it could be like that, but the reality of the situation is that it would not have any effect on their monetary stream, if you don't like the BBC you still have to pay for a license to watch the other channels and any on-demand services."
Well if enough people dropped the BBC it would affect their funding or atleast put a small dent in it- I would happily give my TV to their detection team in bits of course.. I'm sure in the future TV will just be replaced with internet TV and possibly not the BBC especially if they continue to act like this.
The thing is the government would possibly just start charging anyone for internet access but they seem to be doing this already with the 50p tax - I think they will increase this tax for BBC online services possibly or that will be their said reasoning.
I don't care for interactive TV; I watch TV for information but the quality of it in the last couple of years has been terrorable - remind me of a decent series, sitcom, drama, etc which you cannot watch elsewhere!? There are every few services which I use; Channel 4 news and Question Time are about it.
I think the BBC days will be numbered when IPTV really kicks off.
Out of curiousity if I setup a satellite dish to a monitor; do I still need to pay for a TV license?
I know you need a license for online services like live BBC news though.
Terrorable icon wanted
Ever since the Blair Which project took over the BBC we have not learned of the weapons of mass destruction now killing the inhabitants of Iraq. And there is a lot more where that isn't coming from.
Yes Mike you need a licence for ANY TV reception equipment. So if you only had an old video with no TV you'd still need a licence, because the video has a tuner built-in... and that's probably STILL the case despite the fact that analogue's been switched off!
You misunderstand the relationship between some of the content providers and the BBC. I'm sure the BBC are sometimes 'sold' a portion of their content (pre-made series, particularly from the US), but more often if they don't make it themselves (news, current affairs) they commission the work - ie, they pay someone to make it for them. If that production company refuses to make the programme because of rights issues, then another production company will make it, unless the programme idea/concept was devised by the production company themselves.
Even if the production company owns the rights to the idea and have 'sold' it to the BBC in exchange for funding to make the programme they'd be pretty stupid to refuse the BBC rights to broadcast without DRM as they'd risk missing out on their biggest possible distribution channel and viewing figures.
Most production companies are actually very small - maybe a handful of people, even just one or two. The rest of the crew needed for production (including pre and post) are freelancers brought in by the line producer on the behest of the exec prodcuer. They work for a pre-arranged contracted fee and then the crew disbands afterwards to go on to work for other production companies. So the production companies just don't really have THAT much leverage over the broadcasters.
The most likely scenario is that the BBC are implementing DRM to sell their services to international media corporations and movie studios, NOT the grassroots/homegrown industry talent. It also segways nicely with the contemporary major corporate mindset over topics like DMCA, ACTA, Mandybill etc.
Afair, the wording is 'capable of receiving and displaying' , so no, an old analogue VCR wouldn't count.
BBC iPlayer Mobile not working
Since yesterday I have been trying to watch a program on the iPlayer and its not available. I wrote to the BBC and their response was:
We're currently suffering from some severe technical problems which mean that programmes are not being delivered to BBC iPlayer for mobile. We're very sorry for any inconvenience that this causes and would like to assure you that we're doing our best to fix the problem as soon as possible.
DRM in Adobe Flash
From what I recall, there's three pieces of information used to secure an RTMP; two strings that say something along the lines of "Genuine Adobe Flash" and a big long string of bytes. The problem that rtmpdump had last year was that these three pieces of information were baked into it, and with that Adobe could toot their DMCA DRM-bypass horn to cause grief.
Now, if those three strings were provided as command line options, without their values being documented anywhere in the code, the DMCA nonsense is unlikely to stand up. Adobe would have to DMCA Google, Yahoo, Twitter and so on over and over again. We all know how well that worked with DVD's CSS...
BBC corporate neutrality
Aren't the Beeb enforced to remain neutral as regards to promoting private companies? Thus the "sticky backed plastic" of Blue Peter fame. Surely using a Flash-only mechanism would breach that?
Just watch breakfast news (or a whole host of other programmes like The One Show, The Weekend Show, etc. etc.) and just watch the shameless advertising and promotion of products, films, bands, authors, etc. etc., all masked with an extremely thin excuse of either "interview" or "review".
The BBC used to require public money to fund a service that was not for profit, but look at how much they sell now to consumers and other broadcasters!
I wish I could run my company (badly) with nothing but public funding and no accountability for the crap I produced.
And theDMCA gets a mention because..?
Considering that the iPlayer is only supposed to work in the UK, there is no reason to worry about the DMCA being invoked (at least by the BBC). I have been in discussions like this before (on RDCP license requirements when looking at HDMI connections), and every time the fact that something MAY lead to a POSSIBLE legal question in the US prevents UK businesses doing things (entirely within the UK).
Can anyone tell me which door takes me out of the 51st State?
It's got nothing to do with the BBC. The DMCA is mentioned in reference to the fact that if XBMC (available in the USA) were to spoof "SWF Verification" then it could be seen to be frustrating a copyright protection system built into SWF, owned by Adobe who are, um, American. And since frustrating copyright protection systems is against the DMCA, um, in America...
Threre are legal compromises.
1. create a cutter tool that obtains the required functionality from the flash player/plugin (just like firmware is extracted for some wireless windows drivers under Linux).
2. Create a proxy app, utilises flash for some functionality and redirects the video output to a different render app/code.
3. Use a cutter tool to modify flash plugin/player to redirect output to an external application.
Sadly I can't see a generally legal (from my limited knowledge in this area of law), that would avoid having to obtain adobe flash.
All options use the protection and do not attempt to bypass and redistributing will be legal as long as the flash plugin/player is downloaded separately and not distributed with the modification tools.
Of course there is the POTENTIALLY ILLEGAL option of trying to bypass the protection...
I'm not the person to ask about this kind of stuff, but maybe you lot can shed some light on it.
A publicly-funded organisation, which we have little choice but to pay for (ok, strictly speaking this is wrong,but you see where I'm coming from) mandates that all users need to use specific technology provided by a third party, to the anti-competitive detriment of competing third parties.
Furthermore, when those third parties adapt their product(s) to ensure continued operation, they are then sued by the favoured third party, preventing access to a state-run asset by any means other than their own.
This seems out of order to me. Thoughts?
Irony of Freedom
What amazes me, is that the people that pay and own the BBC, the general public of the UK, now suddenly are not allowed to watch their very own TV shows in their own country.
The shows on the BBC are made, by and for, the UK public and thus are a vital part of the implementation of the freedom of speech.
I don't believe that the UK public wants this limitation to the freedom of speech. What's worst, you UK guys, actually pay a lot of taxpayer money to an American company to get censored! And here's what's really funny about this: you are doing nothing to stop it, even though you own the joint hahaha! It's like, you want to be censored!?!
I live in the Netherlands. And the BBC also broadcasts here. Big fan of Spooks :) and luckily this series can be seen in many countries where the BBC airs. I would really like to thank the UK public for airing in my country! What's annoying is that, I cannot use the IPlayer to watch stuff that also gets aired here. Although I have the rights, given so generously by you guys.
Thinks really need to change how we will pay our creative people for their excellent work in a just manner. I hope we can quickly come to a solution. Limiting the freedom of speech by locking down media like the ACTA proposes and is being displayed here by the BBC is not the way forward IMHO.
follow the money
In the UK the BBC is a public trust and while it's supposed to be open to the majority I imagine using things like Flash are fine in the same way they only support Freeview ... it's available to everyone (if they choose to run Crusty Chicken on an old i386 then they choose not to be able to access the content online)
Outside the UK though you're dealing with the murky waters of BBC International (or whatever it's called) who are a for-profict company who do territory based deals - in line with most international distributors (just look at region codes on DVDs, movie release dates and, topically, geoblocked Olympics content) ... those rights cover both broadcast and internet distribution.
The sooner we get to a model where the networks don't weild the power they have today and distributors have a realistic way to engage directly with consumers (a sensible billing model is required here) we can tear down the boundaries and move away from 3 minutes of content followed by four minutes of adverts
Do something about it
Never mind Flash refuseniks! How about all these people who don't even want a computer?! Surely they too should be compensated for not being able to watch BBC programmes online? Some sort of electronic viewing device that receives and decodes a broadcast signal perhaps?
Seriously though, the Beeb are damned if they do and damned if they don't. For the BBC and its customers there's zero benefit to this SWF verification thing, ergo this is either Adobe twisting auntie's arm or auntie being petty and/or incompetent (again).
Hate to find myself in agreement with anything Steve Jobs says but really - the sooner Flash becomes irrelevant the better.
"Ironically, third party utilities that download files (which presumably the verification is there to prevent) still work fine. It is possible that this move will actually increase the occurrence of downloading files which will not be time limited, or torrenting of copyrighted material."
WHEN WILL CONTENT PROVIDERS FINALLY GET THIS???
Also, it's impossible to have a secure encrypted service when by it's very nature, it's decrypted on your computer (therefore your computer has to have the decryption keys)
More detailed info here: http://lkcl.net/rtmp/
resource hungry flash
Having been the one to originally throw up the debug log on the xbmc forum (same username), its appaling that the BBC rely so heavily on adobe flash to impliment their iPlayer platform.
Adobe have always shown no interest in improving their platform resulting in bloated software which can tax even the most powerful of systems.
I have to remind my partner that her system is running at full tilt due to her playing a flash game or because there is a flash advert running on the web page she is looking at.
My ION box (which i use for XBMC and therefore the iPlayer plugin) was THE best thing since sliced bread. Easy to use, and perfect quality with hardware accelerated BBC. Now im stuck having to load up a web page and suffer artifacting and slow quality.
hopefully Aunti will actually sort this out, or ill have to go and get my content via less official means.
Lots of improvements
For example, they've added extra RTMPE encryption types and algorithms for added DRM support lately. And you say that they don't improve their platform - bah!
1. The BBC, in partnership with Panafonic, develop television programming methods which work perfectly on Panafonic TVs.
2. Sonny and Sumsang develop TVs which also work perfectly with the BBC's methods.
3. Panafonic send a remote update to all their TVs, and urges the BBC to encode their transmissions so that only TVs with the remote update can translate their programs. The BBC, incredibly, capitulates, and anybody using a Sonny or Sumsang TV can no longer watch BBC.
Wait a minute. That's barely an analogy, that's fact, minus a couple of search/replaces.
I've also developed a cheap, silent Linux ION box with XBMC, and it plays literally every medium I've ever come across without problem. Except iPlayer (Flash's CPU-heavy non-Linux-friendly version skips like an 8-year-old girl riding a kangaroo). I've had several people ask me to make them a box, and I've been eagerly awaiting the Flash update (proper video card usage) or, better, the BBC update (OSS support) which would make this feasible. Instead we get this.
I kind of wish I'd know about the iPlayer plugin before this thread. Then again, I'm glad I didn't get used to it before it was pulled out from under us.
Addendum: My box also fails spectacular with YouTube, of course. But then that's one of its selling points.
So how long...
...before someone implements get_iplayer in a Ruby/Python app which has a nice GUI and EPG, and simply grabs the FLVs, rips to MP4 and plays back in MPlayer with a single click?
I'd use that happily - get_iplayer is good, but anything that involves less terminal sessions is a good thing as far as I'm concerned...
Web PVR Manager...
is a web based GUI of sorts I thought. It still requires that get_iplayer script but it is at least a point and click to play in VLC affair. I think there are a few other front ends mentioned on the get_iplayer site also.
RE: Short & Curlys
There is already an application which can be used to pull out all the DRM.
A friend of mine does it to get around the time constraints.
Use the get_iplayer Web Gui
use the Web based GUI and there is no need for terminal sessions and despite this change get_iplayer seems to work fine. I have noticed a few more RTMP_ReadPacket errors recently but this does not seem to have affected the downloaded programs, at least noticeably.
Ubuntu 9.10 + firefox + bbc iPlayer flash website + old laptop (1.3ghz 2GB ram) = No go.
Ubuntu 9.10 + get_iplayer + vlc + old laptop (1.3ghz 2GB ram) = works perfect.
Why are the BBC trying to either force me to upgrade to a dual core system + windows just to view shows over their iPlayer?
Still, get_iplayer still works OK at the moment, but for how long before they close the door on it?
Available most of Europe,
Record better quality than IPlayer rubbish
No PC needed
Watch on TV any time you want.
even if iPlayer worked here, it would eat all my Cap in a few days.
Until we all have FTTH with little contention and no Cap, these streaming apps like YouTube and iPlayer are just wasting the Internet.
A Freesat or Freeview box with 500G to 2T byte drive and record everything on a rotation, deleting wanted content and ingoring flagged unwanted programms.
Technology breaking licences
Quite a number of organisations have licences to record an replay TV programmes to audiences. Any UK university can get one from the Copyright Licensing Agency for a few hundred pounds a year. We can play recordings to students for ever, not just for seven days.
But the DRM restrictions pay no attention to the terms of any licence you have. They reduce the rights we have paid for.
Sorry, but I seem to be missing something here, but if you're a legitimate UK user, what's the proem with using iPlayer and free adobe software? I'm confident that this will piss off maybe 0.1% of legitimate users who have willfully decided to go down an unsupported path - if you fly without a parachute then don't go whinging when your plane stops working.
You wouldn't expect to be allowed to rollerskate down the M1 just 'cos you'd paid your road tax, would you?
feeding the troll
I think plenty of people have covered the reasons why they'd prefer not to use a proprietary, closed source, piece of carp to access the content that they've paid for. Maybe read up.
What's the problem with eating dog shit? It's free too.
I think you get the point.
(As for Adobe, it's CPU intensive, bloated, unstable, a security risk, not a standard and runs poory on 64-bit systems). Did I mention dog shit yet?
99.7 percent of people DO NOT CARE about bloat, instability etc. etc. - they just want to be able to watch Top Gear on demand, which iPlayer does just fine, thanks. If you don't want to use Adobe stuff, fine, go without and buy a PVR instead.
There's a reason why this is a Reg exclusive - because for readers of any mainstream publication, life's too short to worry about this shit. Adobe won this one, rightly or wrongly. Get over it.
RE: Technology breaking licences
"Quite a number of organisations have licences to record an replay TV programmes to audiences. Any UK university can get one from the Copyright Licensing Agency for a few hundred pounds a year. We can play recordings to students for ever, not just for seven days."
But the ERA licence doesn't apply to on-demand services. At all, only programmes obtained from a broadcast source, which iPlayer isn't (the legal definition of broadcast excludes any and all on-demand video services).
So that isn't an issue here.
You probably should try reading that licence of yours.
Heres a link for all those xbmc users who want iplayer back on their machine
Hopefully the beeb will see sense, otherwise its back to torrents to find their programs we have already paid for!
I use XBMC on an Acer Revo because the Atom CPU can't handle 1080p flash in the iPlayer on Windows.
Booting XBMC has allowed me to use the Iplayer HD content perfectly, now that cord has been cut.
Absolute bastards. It's like the BBC telling us we can only watch their channels on a Sony branded TV.
ps3 borked too?
not sure if it's because of this 'update' but yesterday i tried to watch some episodes of Top Gear on iplayer on ps3 and results gave me 6 episodes but when i chose one it redirected me to bbc page and then when i restarted iplayer it gave me only 2 episodes. hmm....
get_iplayer web gui suggestions
Cheers guys, I'll have a look at that :-)
El Reg Comments - they deliver.
PS: I noticed that get_iplayer is having a LOT more reconnects to get content [10+, whereas previously it would get the whole thing on one shot] but it still plays back fine without any problems.
When the BBC consulted on iPlayer it promised that the service would be "platform agnostic". Of course it has been nothing of the sort from the outset.
"BBC Executive fulfils iPlayer platform neutrality criteria - August 2009
In June 2009, in its fourth progress report to the Strategic Approvals Committee the BBC Executive reported the final implementation of a solution to provide BBC iPlayer downloads for the Mac and Linux platforms. The solution, which went live on 20 April 2009 means iPlayer is available on Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac and Linux, thereby fulfilling the Trust’s requirement that the BBC provide a cross-platform download solution."]
Is only the OS a platform? I'm confused..
Sit back and relax
"Is only the OS a platform? I'm confused.."
Not to mention that the wording, especially the phrase "final implementation", implies "We've done everything we need to, now we can sit back and relax and not take any notice of emerging technologies or issues."
A bit like Microsoft in 2001 - "We've finished IE, let's let it fester for years and frustrate customers."
Do the iPlayer team not understand that technology is a moving arena? Is providing services nothing more than a tick-box session in a project management meeting?
Tell them where to put it
Heres a link to their consultation
I've already expressed my love* for all things Flash and proprietry.
* Love may not be used in the conventional sense.
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