Ongoing BBC iPlayer Hack Battle

UPDATE: The BBC have since fixed(!) this, so the example below no longer works.

Boing Boing is pointing out that a new hack is available that sucks MP4s off of the iPlayer site and drops them onto your computer in all their DRM free glory. It is, however, quite complicated.

(update: there’s an easier version if you follow Paul’s instructions in this comment)

1. First of all download and install Ruby for Windows

2. Download the file talked about here to your computer. Be sure to drop it in an easy to remember folder. I’m suggesting c:/downloads/ for the purpose of this example

3. Open the command prompt. In other words go to Start->Run and then type CMD and press return

4. Type cd \
(this should mean that you get a prompt like this c:\>

5. Type cd downloads
(this should make downloads your active directory)

6. Find the page on iPlayer that you want to download

7. Back at the command prompt type ruby iplayer-dl followed by the URL from http:// to .shtml of the iPlayer page that you want to ‘convert’. So if I wanted to download this episode of In The Night Garden, I would type:
ruby iplayer-dl http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/page/item/b009h6lk.shtml

8. It would then save the MP4 file in the /downloads directory

9. Rename the .mp4 bit .mov

10. You can now copy it into iTunes.

Get it while you can!

15 thoughts on “Ongoing BBC iPlayer Hack Battle”

  1. Nice one mate, just as a side note when i downloaded the script file it auto saved it as a .htm. Took me a while to realise, all working fine now though!

  2. Bob, the reason some don’t work is this exploit works because of the way iPlayer streams to iPhone, programs no available to the iPhone, don’t work.

  3. Can the format of the downloaded mp4′s be changed to 320×240 so that they will play on my walkman.

  4. it’s worth noting in step 7 that you don’t need the full address, just the 8 character code so for the above example “ruby iplayer-dl b009h61k” works just as well.

  5. Just can’t get it to work – this is the most helpful guide to setting it up I’ve found on the net, but I get to point 7, and then I get a

    ruby: Permission denide — iplayer-dl (LoadError)

    message. Any ideas?

  6. I get to step 7 also and then get this message once I’ve typed in the code thing, it says-
    ‘ruby’ is not recognised as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.

    Any tips? What am I doing wrong?

  7. There is an addo for firefox that can fool websites into thinking that you are an mobile browser and if you find what the itouch / iphone safari is and call it that and then go to the player website and right click save as

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