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[REQUEST] BBC iPlayer (Video) Plugin or Script?
Geeba Wrote:Are we likely to see a BBC iPlayer on XBMC?
Not exacly; you will never see a "BBC iPlayer" in XBMC, instead what someone will need to do is figure out how to grab/extract the corrent and direct URL for the streams, and then they can write a python script which does that automaticly and plays those streams through one of the existing video players in XBMC (ie. the DVDplayer or MPlayer). That is how all python scripts/plugins for XBMC that stream video from the internet works, (they do not implement their own third-party video-player, they 'only' present the correct URL to XBMC).
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Vastly inferior solution but as a quick fix could we not write a server that runs on a networked computer which essentially embeds the actual client and to which a python client passes variables?

It would need the server running on a networked computer, of course. quite like Xlink Kai really.....

Still as a down and dirty quick fix solution until we can figure out how to get the streams working directly it might work.


Also while the BBC is essentially 'non-commercial' it's not strictly speaking an arm of the government. Our taxes do not go to paying for the BBC - in the UK one must pay for a 'TV License' in order to (legally) watch BBC channels. It is the TV license that pays for the BBC as distinct from other channels which are paid for through advertising and not licensing. That's my understanding anyway!
Gamester17 Wrote:The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) is a state-owned corporation (owned by the British goverment) so it should really be DRM free and support open standards.

We have the same here in Sweden with SVT and SR (Sveriges Television and Sveriges Radio) who broadcast the channels for free (well, free is relative since it is paid for by our taxes), and without commersials as a public service broadcaster.

The BBC is, per its charter, to be "free from both political and commercial influence and answers only to its viewers and listeners"


PS! I am Swedish and live in Sweden now but I have lived and worked in the United Kingdom for 6-years before.
I know who the Beeb are, Gamester - I've lived here for 27 years, and I've payed enough license fees to know who funds them!

You probably haven't followed the iPlayer story, but the BBC have pretty much had to have what's in their charter pointed out to them. The fact that the "real" iPlayer is a Windows-only DRM-only affair and that they've lifted people directly from MS in order to work on it ( http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/14/..._billings/ ) is pretty disgusting to be honest.

Hence the earlier comment.
I too vote for a DRM free world


Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search the forum before posting.
Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting please make sure you read this first.
Hi again all,

So we can have a debate about BBC and DRM if you like but trust me this has been discussed over and over again on the BBC Backstage mailing list [1][2] and even in some podcasts [3] that we setup over the last year.

But what I'm more interested in, is getting things done. Trust me guys, nothing convinces people better that when you can see a prototype or working project. Thats basically my job at the BBC (thanks for the comment by the way Strawp) showing off the creative re-use of our content so we can open even more of it.

I would love to bring in my xbox with xbmc and show off a better that iplayer interface on xbmc to key people in the BBC. But this needs to happen soon, as others [4] have talked about. Flash streaming server does support DRM streaming and the BBC may turn it on if they see some benefit to it. This would seriously push back development of alternatives to iplayer on exotic platforms.

I'm not a python programmer but I'm happy to help out in anyway to make this happen. This would scratch my own back and along with playback on a AppleTV and MythTV really show the higher management that there is demand for open streaming and hell, maybe open downloads!!!!Huh

So what do people need from me to make this happen?

[1] - http://backstage.bbc.co.uk/archives/2005..._list.html
[2] - http://www.mail-archive.com/search?q=drm....bbc.co.uk
[3] - http://bbcbackstage.blip.tv/rss
[4] - http://understandinglimited.com/2007/12/...player-v2/
I'm not a Phython programmer either, but I'm damn sure I could take an existing script and work out enough to create an iPlayer version. What I want to know, and what would save me loads of hacking time, is how do I find out the URL of the actual stream?

I've found the config and metadata XML files, but the actual TCP traffic of the stream and the request for the stream appears encrypted to me (or maybe I'm looking in the wrong place).

My understanding so far is:
- You go to a programme's page (ID in the URL)
- Programme metadata and a general app config XML is requested (URLs passed to the flash as flashvars)
- You get back the streaming server location, an identifier and a token for the media

... oh crap, that's the key that Phil was talking about, isn't it?

So according to Phil's thing this is then constructed into a URL by the flash player of the form:


OK! It's the rtmp part that just doesn't show up as anything useful in Wireshark.

...and I can't seem to construct a URL that will work in Mplayer. Can mplayer even open RTMP streams?
Somewhat irritatingly, mplayer in linux puts an "http://" in front of "rtmp://..." whenever you attempt to open an rtmp stream. I guess it wouldn't do that if it could already open it.
I have sometimes found that simply changing the protocol to http:// and dropping the real player protocol works with some servers in constructing direct links....

Oh and while I'm not sure if we can handle rstp protocol we can handle real video formats some of my videos on my xbox are already in this format. Also note that scripts such as bbcpodiocast etc. are using realplayer streams elsewhere on the bbc site (listen again). However I supsect they're using urllib functions and http rather than rstp....
So this seems to be the main problem.

Phil also hit the same wall - http://philwilson.org/blog/2007/12/downl...er-is-hard

If the problem is just setting up a server with Red5 on it, I can help there. But I don't know how the BBC will feel about me using a BBC server to convert or transcode content. I guess if you guys don't tell anyone, no one will know Smile

I'm also talking to Adobe about setting up Flash Streaming Server, so people can play or experiment with it. Maybe one of the experiments could be to do with this.

Either way, unlocking rtmp will mean we can build iplayer on xbmc, mobile phones and other exotic devices. I was thinking about using a Nabatzag as a internet connected radio the other day.

By the way, come and join the backstage.bbc.co.uk mailing list if you want to talk about opening the bbc's content. I also think it would be cool to pool some knowledge on iplayer development. There is a real API being built but I can't give a estimate of when it will be public sorry, except to say it was demo'ed at BarCampLondon3 in November
TheBoxMan: Yeah, I tried just using HTTP - no dice. I'll have a look at the code on those scripts to see if the problem's already been tackled. I don't know too much about the inner workings of mplayer, but I've noticed curl has a request for rtmp support which looks like going live fairly soon.

Cubic: cool, I love APIs Big Grin I'll join that list. You can't use the Nabaztag as an internet connected radio already? I never understood what the point of those things were Tongue Seen the Chumby? Add that to your hack list if not.

I just want to watch my programmes on a real TV!
BTW, I'll post a bit later what URL I'm trying out - see if anyone else can get it to open content or if I'm just getting it totally wrong.
mplayer will not play RTMP streams, nor will VLC.

You will have to use a separate tool to download, but you *will* end up with a DRM-free FLV file which will work in the player of your choice.
Ah good, welcome to the thread Smile

I guess I don't really *get* what media is being streamed out here. I thought the RTMP stream was Real Media as opposed to whatever FLV is - or is FLV just a wrapper like AVI?

What tool did you use to download the media and how did you construct the stream URL to begin with?
Re: The media format - helps if I read up on it. So the data streamed from RTMP is whatever the FLV is, but it's the actual connection that's protected rather than the data, as you would get from DRM protected formats.
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Good to see you Phil joining the thread.

So from my understanding we're still nicely on the legal side of everything.

If we can create a client/script which can talk to the streaming server, and parse the resulting stream. Nothing would have been reverse-engineered or broken.

Is the Xbox fast enough to do the pre-parsing of raw into flv? Then display the results from cache? Would we need to off-load this pre-parsing to a serverHuh? I would need to double check about rebroadcasting (as such) because that could be a slight problem (don't worry I can talk to legal if it comes to it and I wouldn't want that to stand in the way of this.)

Guys this is really bleeding edge development and the kind I believe Backstage was setup to encourage.
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[REQUEST] BBC iPlayer (Video) Plugin or Script?57