BBC iPlayer on your phone in 4 easy steps (and 2 hard ones)


I love the BBC iPlayer. Now that it works on Linux (and anything else with Flash 9) it's a really good way to catch up on shows without having to go to The Pirate Bay and wade through mountains of crap.

There are only 2 problems....

1) I can't download the shows
2) I can't stream the shows to my phone (Nokia N95 and Blackberry 8800)

Now, the BBC have released a version of the iPlayer for the iPhone. As usual, the BBC has some great technical information on how it all works.

Basically, the iPlayer version delivers mp4 files to the iPhone. How can you grab those mp4s to watch at your convenience on your device? It's a doddle....

  1. Get Firefox. It's a better web browser than whatever you're using at the moment.
  2. Change your user-agent to "iphone" (hard step 1 - see below).
  3. Install this Bookmarklet - drag that link to your bookmarks toolbar. (Thanks to HubLog)
  4. Go to www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer and click on the show you want to watch
  5. Click on the Bookmarklet. You can now save the show to your computer.
  6. Watch show on your computer (I use VLC) or copy to your phone/media player to watch it (hard step 2 - see below).

Ok, so here are the hard steps.

To change your User-Agent you can either type "about:config" into the Firefox address bar and change "general.useragent.extra.firefox" to "iphone". Or you can install User Agent Switcher.

To watch it on your phone depends on your phone. My N95 would only play the files through CorePlayer and my 8800 would only play the sound. You may have to do some video jiggery-pokery to get playback on your device.Video files are around 100 - 120MB for 30 minutes. Resolution is 480*272 - not HD (or even SD!) but good enough for viewing on the phone and as good as anything you might download from a torrent site. Frame rate is PAL 25fps, sound is stereo.

Have fun!

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