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BBC Offers iPhone Version of iPlayer, Accessible to Linux Users Too

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the so-nice-of-them dept.

Media 187

smallfries writes "After a long battle with Linux users in the UK, the BBC was forced into releasing a flash version of the iPlayer streaming service to fulfill their obligations to license-fee payers. After claiming that development of Linux and Mac versions of the iPlayer would take two years, Auntie Beeb has rushed to support the iPhone. iPhone users 'can be trusted' because their platform is locked down ... so the beeb opened a non-DRM hole in the iPlayer to support them. This was guarded by the extreme security of User Agent strings! Long story short, Linux and Mac users have made their own non-DRM, non-Microsoft platform from firebug and wget. UK users can now watch (and keep) their favorite BBC shows."

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187 comments

How long? (3, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732422)

And how long will this stay?

Re:How long? (1)

reezle (239894) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732448)

Nothing Stays....

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

love you long time. (1, Troll)

inTheLoo (1255256) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732542)

If it goes like the iplayer's amazing development time, it will be here till we all retire or DRM is finally out of style. BBC, taking time to do IT wrong.

Real Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22732472)

the real irony will come with the web statistics, when they see the number of iPhone users vastly exceeds their Lunix users.

They will, as always, wonder why they even bother to support Teh Lunix. Never doubt the power of a small, but very whiny, minority.

Re:How long? (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732754)

Not for long. The beeb will certainly close this hole quickly - but it weakens their argument that they can't provide a decent service to linux/mac users. Of course once it is closed people will start looking for other holes.

What I don't understand is why Zonk moved the link from the text at the end of the summary about people downloading it for themselves, and placed it on the unrelated text about about the bbc opening up the streaming version? Is this the famous Zonk editing technique that I've heard so much about. If you're listening Zonk, for the love god Move It Back!

Re:How long? (2, Informative)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733102)



It doesn't weaken their position. The BBC have always been very up front in saying that they are having difficulty allowing Linux users to download tv shows in the same way that they allow Windows users because only on Windows are they able to ensure that the video is not redistributed. They have done their best in allowing streaming of the shows which is as good in many circumstances and have stated that they are trying to find ways of offering the full service to Linux users. Given the tiny fraction of computer users that use Linux, it's pretty inclusive of them.

The article summary is hopelessly inflammatory. But that's no surprise given recent Slashdot editorial policy. The aim seems to be to drive up the number of posts at any cost including accuracy.

Re:How long? (4, Informative)

RalphSleigh (899929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733210)

Yes they do use windows DRM, but they also make sure that their customers are educated on all sides of the issus

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6944830.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Various tools have been created to strip files of the DRM, such as FairUse4WM, a program released in August 2006 by a hacker named Viodentia. Nine days after the crack first appeared, Microsoft released a new version to prevent FairUse4WM from working. Within three days hackers released a new version of the tool. The tool can be used to strip DRM from programmes with the BBC iPlayer.

Re:How long? (5, Interesting)

smallfries (601545) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733278)

The article summary is hopelessly inflammatory.

Thank you, I do try my best although Zonk has ruined it in a couple of places.

The basis of the BBC's argument has been (as you've stated) that platforms without DRM cannot be trusted. But the reason that this argument is false, and why it is now weakened in the light of their iPhone hole is that you're not worried about redistribution within the trusted enironment. The point is that once something has been stripped out of its DRM covering it can be freely passed around. The idea that Linux is less capable of supporting DRM than windows is a Red Herring. They are both equally capable when it comes to running snakeoil.

The "strong" DRM that the BBC relies on is in fact security through obscurity. The annoying features (such as downloads timing out and self-destructing) can be worked around easily. The "protection" that the BBC has for content distributed through the windows platform is illusionary. Plenty of people had already extracted the FLAC containers from the streaming service before, it was just more of a pain in he arse to do so.

The real point is that it can be done, there is no real protection (only obscurity) and publically stating that there are technical barriers to Mac and Linux support that would take 2 years is laughable. I don't know if you had a look at the three source pages (they're on the second page of the reg article), but the people that are doing this have an agenda. They pay a license fee and they want support. Being told that artificial barriers have been erected to separate them from what they've paid for will not go down well. And if the beeb wants to continue support for the iPhone then they'll need to keep punching holes in the DRM that will be found and exploited.

Lastly, I've already bitched a couple of times about Zonk's incompetence but seriously: The Apple Section? This was supposed to be under YRO as it is a story about DRM being circumvented.

Re:How long? (1)

paintswithcolour (929954) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733942)

"Being told that artificial barriers have been erected to separate them from what they've paid for will not go down well."

The BBC are in a difficult position with this, do they go to the cost/length of supporting that 0.8% of the market? Will the other 99.2% want their license fee money spent on supporting this product? I'm pretty sure that if the BBC didn't want to support it they could come up with an economically justifiable argument to do so; and they'd get away with it because the majority of license-fee payers simply aren't going to care.

Anyhow with Mac support coming later this year I would think that Linux support would come soon after.

Re:How long? (2, Insightful)

WombatDeath (681651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733356)

That would be a reasonable position if their content wasn't already being 'redistributed' all over the place. Back in reality, they're pissing off Linux users in exchange for a piracy reduction of zero per cent.

On the plus side, they can at least claim to be preventing 'redistribution' and people who don't understand the technology will believe them.

iLawsuit (4, Funny)

goatpunch (668594) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732444)

in other news, Apple rewards the BBC by suing over their use of the 'i' prefix, on which iApple has an iMonopoly

Re:iLawsuit (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732466)

A better description will be:

1. Take an iBazooka
2. Load with iPhone
3. Shoot
???
5. Profit

Though I clearly do not see how to get from 3 to 5... Probably lack of Imagination 2.0.

Re:iLawsuit (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22732566)

Don't you mean iMagination 2.0?

Re:iLawsuit (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732984)

As a matter of fact, I did. It is strange how adult people completely lose their mind around the iPhone. It is just a phone after all. It is not the second coming.

Re:iLawsuit (1)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733054)

To some people it's a tiny little computer that happens to make phone calls.

Re:iLawsuit (2, Insightful)

Delkster (820935) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733212)

A little computer that isn't much of a computer due to the lock-down. Just a fancy-looking phone, perhaps with a couple more applications than in other non-smartphones.

Re:iLawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22732988)

Don't you mean:
3. iShoot
4. i???
5. iProfit

Re:iLawsuit (2, Funny)

LeadSongDog (1120683) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732646)

in other news, Apple rewards the BBC by suing over their use of the 'i' prefix, on which iApple has an iMonopoly
Did the license that from Parker iBrothers?

Nokia E65 (4, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732446)

I have a Nolia E65. Can I have an iPlayer for my phone? What makes the iPhone more special than my E65 which can do more out of the box, is smaller and cheaper and isn't crippled?

Can we please stop hearing about the iPhone?

Re:Nokia E65 (2, Insightful)

goatpunch (668594) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732464)

Apple products are intrinsicly 'cool' and there's nothing you can do to change that, in the same way that smoking will always be cool, no matter how many more sensible things you could be doing with your time and money.

Re:Nokia E65 (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732512)

We can only hope the thing will be replaced soon by a phone that is cool even without Steve's RDF.

Re:Nokia E65 (1)

ProfessionalCookie (673314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732624)

Just between you and me, given the choice, iPhone or Smoking, choose iPhone. It's cheaper, cooler and takes longer to cause cancer.

Re:Nokia E65 (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732674)

I'll give you the first two, but the third remains to be seen. Smoking has been on the market for a lot longer.

*takes iPhone out of pocket and places on desk*

Re:Nokia E65 (1)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732740)

So.. trousers or shirt pocket? Which sort of cancer are you trying to dodge? :)

Re:Nokia E65 (4, Funny)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732788)

I suggest storing the iPhone in your pants pocket... the less reproduction among Apple users, the better ;)

Re:Nokia E65 (0)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733202)

I suggest storing the iPhone in your pants pocket... the less reproduction among Apple users, the better ;)
Yeah, why should Apple users get the chance to reproduce? It just makes the average Slashdotter jealous...

Re:Nokia E65 (1)

Quattro Vezina (714892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732844)

Eh, I'll take the cigarettes and keep on using my Windoze phone (hey, WM5 and WM6 are Microsoft's only good products).

Mmm...Djarum cigarette in my mouth, HTC phone in my hand. Yummy.

Re:Nokia E65 (-1, Troll)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732478)

No offense, but it looks like a piece of shit, aesthetically. This is like saying "hey I can get integra type R that goes twice as fast as your Bentley for half the price!". Well great, except a) nobody gives a shit, and b) people obviously like the bentley design better. Style and "coolness" (i'm not talking about image either, i'm talking about enjoying the simple experience of dialing) is something that people seem to be willing to pay for, judging by all the sales.

Don't give me that uninformed shit either, I'm quite sure most people know how crippled and what features are missing from an iPhone well before they purchase it.

Re:Nokia E65 (1, Offtopic)

EdelFactor19 (732765) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732744)

lol, excellent point, but replace half with 1/3 or less..
bentleys > 100K
don't know the integra type R sticker price (and it may be much higher because of import problems) but at last release
Acura RSX Type S U(y) [utility of]
the problem is that people calculate the Utility function differently.
you'd probably have something like U(x) = a*Power(x) + b*Luxury(x) - d*Price(x) + e*GasEfficiency(x) + f*Cargo(x) + g*Towing(x)
the values of a-g not only vary widely, but their relative ordering will as well.
further more the functions themselves vary as different people have different threshholds to diminishing return.

i think im far enough off topic that i should stop tho :-D

Re:Nokia E65 (0, Troll)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732504)

The iPhone has 3x the CPU your phone does, 2x the resolution, and 4x the storage. Can your phone even play 320x480 mpeg-4 video?

Re:Nokia E65 (1)

miscz (888242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732896)

My E50 with 200MHz ARM9 can decode 320x240 DivX, it's enough. I wouldn't see a difference even if it was 1080p h.264.

Re:Nokia E65 (2, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732554)

If you are happy with the E65, then you probably aren't in the market for an iPhone. Tiny screen, standard phone keypad - it's more of a standard phone than the iPhone. For web browsing, watching movies/music, or typing emails, it's not as useful. On the other hand, it's probably a better telephone.

For the record, I'm more in the E65 demographic. The iPhone doesn't really get my juices flowing - but I can see the appeal.

Re:Nokia E65 (3, Interesting)

rrkap (634128) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732832)

I didn't think I was in the iPhone's demographic until my wife got one. The good web browsing experience (which requires the big screen) as well as the nicely integrated e-mail and visual voice mail are on the verge of getting me to convert from my venerable razor in exactly the way her previous smartphone (a HTC Hermes for what it's worth) wasn't.

Re:Nokia E65 (0, Offtopic)

o'davy (606052) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732596)

Can we please stop hearing about Nokia? Every time we try to have a discussion involving the iPhone, a bunch of people chime in with this business about Nokia. I'm just so tired of it! Please let us drink our Kool-Aid® in peace.

Re:Nokia E65 (1)

leathered (780018) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733044)

Probably because the iPhone doesn't shut itself off at random like my and all my co-worker's E65s do.

Sorry, couldn't resist using this thread as a rant against the E65.

Lacking an editor for this post? (0, Offtopic)

h3llphyre (207808) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732452)

No spelling errors, but the article had quite a few instances of incorrect words. Ah, the failure of a culture dependent on spell checkers.

Re:Lacking an editor for this post? (1)

sanso999 (997008) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732722)

I was wondering about "long story shut". Forgot what the topic was at that point.

Fortunately... (4, Funny)

nevali (942731) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732456)

...as there are only about 400 Linux users in the UK, this hole won't get abused much.

Re:Fortunately... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22732550)

perhaps you missed this line from the article:
"Hobbyists have aped the process of grabbing DRM-free downloads on Windows and Mac OS X too"
So now the exploit can be perpetrated by all of the Windows and Mac users is the UK as well as the Linux users, and the *BSD users, and the Solaris users, and any computer user capable of setting a user-agent string

Re:Fortunately... (2, Interesting)

catmistake (814204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733082)

Perhaps they'll re-host the content so the rest of the world can watch, too. (Why, exactly, is this all UK only?!!)

Re:Fortunately... (4, Informative)

Shisha (145964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733592)

Because for each tv owning household in the UK pays the BBC over 100 pounds a year.

Re:Fortunately... (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733668)

Because everyone in the UK pays a special tax that buys these programs.

sshhh.. don't tell anyone, but because of the writers strike, I have resorted to watching many BBC shows using bittorrent.. stuff I would probably never have watched.

Re:Fortunately... (4, Informative)

Firehed (942385) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732714)

You know that Windows users can fake a user agent string and download the DRM-less movies too, right?

I hope that the UK DMCA doesn't apply to me...

Re:Fortunately... (4, Funny)

nevali (942731) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732770)

For Christ's sake man, don't tell them that!

There must be at least 1,000 Windows users out there!

Re:Fortunately... (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733174)

It's actually easier to 'exploit' on the Mac. Just go to Safari's debug menu (Developer if you are using the 3.1 betas), set the user agent to 'Mobile Safari 1.0' and you get the iPhone version of the site. Then you can just right click on the videos and select save. Another nice benefit is that the H.264 version uses about 25% of the CPU of the flash version so you won't have fan noise in the background when you're watching videos on a laptop.

BBC finally admitted it counted Linux users wrong (2, Interesting)

buck19 (719597) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733442)

the number of UK Linux users, according to their own logs, exceeds some 50,000 to the one web page. Your statement that Linux is only in the 4-600 total number of UK users of Linux is flat out wrong and was promoted by the BBC to get out of legal requirements to provide players for Linux. Even BBC late last year admitted that their low Linux count was completely false.

BBC who is embracing digital rights management and a strong push by Labour to literally block people from the internet for life if they don't comply with this system. This makes the British government and BBC by far the most viciously anti open-source in general and pro police state surveillance of the Internet to say nothing of their constant video taping of all of London. Gives me the creeps and BBC is becoming less and less of a journalistic source of information and more of a mouth piece for the government. I dare say we can all ultimately live without BBC quite well.

Why did the iPhone 'force' the BBCs hand? (1, Flamebait)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732486)

There's numerous other devices that would have benefited from a DRM-free iPlayer stream - why'd the iPhone deserve this special treatment?

Re:Why did the iPhone 'force' the BBCs hand? (2, Interesting)

abqaussie (1250734) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732660)

You'd have to guess that Apple cut a deal with the BBC to corner the market right? If the BBC are actually converting to MP4 there's some pretty explicit support for Quicktime and Apple visible there, so I would imagine some cash or other considerations changed hands. That the implementation opened a door for all Linux users is pretty funny though, I can't expect that will last.

Re:Why did the iPhone 'force' the BBCs hand? (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733116)

That's absolutely retarded. Apple paid off the BBC because they are using MP4? That's not an Apple format, it's a freaking standard! It's supported everywhere, not just in Quicktime.

You're wrong, I have the real reason (4, Insightful)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733898)

  1. BBC top executive got himself an iPhone for Christmas/hannukah/birthday/other.
  2. Wanted to show off BBC programs on it to his mistress/golf buddy/dominatrix/beer buddy.
  3. Proceeded to yell at subordinate in charge of streaming when not possible
  4. Big ass hole drilled in no time in the DMR wall.

Re:Why did the iPhone 'force' the BBCs hand? (1)

Thwomp (773873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733882)

I remember a while back hearing rumors about the BBC making an iPlayer for the Apple TV. I wonder in light of this whether there is more truth to it. :-/

hooray.... (-1, Offtopic)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732606)

Or not.

Why is this such a big story on Slashdot anyway? Big deal. Known News Dissembler does something stupid and now everybody can save their bad reporting for all time!

Whoop-dee-doo.

Re:hooray.... (0, Offtopic)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732652)

Meant to include this link in my original post: http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=4&x_outlet=12&x_article=1464 [camera.org]

Re:hooray.... (2, Informative)

Fast Thick Pants (1081517) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732694)

The BBC is much more than a (relatively reputable IMO) news organization -- they've produced some of the best fiction and non-fiction to ever hit the boob tube.

Re:hooray.... (1, Insightful)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732902)

the BBC hasn't been a reputable news source to any honest observer for years now. Here's another sample of journalistic malfeasance by BBC news: http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=12 [camera.org]

Of course, the general attitudes and biases of the News org tends to generally filter out to the rest of the organization as well.

Feel free to peruse some of the articles here; http://biased-bbc.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] or here; http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=26019_Outrage-_BBC_Employs_Hamas_Terrorist&only [littlegreenfootballs.com] or here; http://michellemalkin.com/category/bbc/ [michellemalkin.com]

Re:hooray.... (3, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733644)

the BBC hasn't been a reputable news source to any honest observer for years now ... Of course, the general attitudes and biases of the News org tends to generally filter out to the rest of the organization as well.

A biased comment from a person complaining of a perceived bias in another. LOL.

I do wish all you bias whiners would get a grip and move on to something more productive. It's gotten old and uninteresting, and less funny than a Slashdot meme. Moreover, it suggests that you put whatever critical thinking skill you have in the services of evangelising a knee-jerk political rant, rather than taking the information provided to you in a newspaper, a radio or television broadcast and putting it real use.

As far as news organisations go, I'd put the BBC near the top of the list (where most others in the developed and undeveloped world would put it). For me, it stands right beside papers like The New York Times. Hell, I'd even include NPR and The Wall Street Journal on the same list without batting an eye. I also read the editorials and letters, especially from people whose opinions differ from mine. I'd like to think that it's the issues themselves that are most important, and understanding different perspectives on them is an integral part of making sense of them.

Bias? Maybe. Maybe not. All humans have them, and we're all human. In the end, it's up to the individual to decide what the appropriate action (or in your case, reaction) should be. Here's a tip: there has never been a "story" told, or could be told, in its entirety. Cut some slack to someone trying to present a part of it, especially someone of the caliber of the BBC.

Re:hooray.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22732980)

they've produced some of the best fiction and non-fiction to ever hit the boob tube.
Wow - just like Fox News!
 
/me ducks

Flash sucks. (5, Interesting)

lancejjj (924211) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732730)

I understand why Apple doesn't support Flash on the iPhone: Because Flash sucks. And I say that even knowing that you love it.

Yeah, it is a great software platform for your Webkinz and your ability to deliver those super-fancy web advertisements that everyone likes. It's also a cool platform for those awesome games, like the one where if you shoot a duck you'll be a winner of a fabulous prize. And the one where you have to choose the right urinal.

For me, believe it or not, I'm not into lousy web games. I don't like three (or more) animated ads on a web page. And I don't like my CPU chugging at 100% just because a crap web site wants to deliver a singing, dancing Flash-based ad to me.

So Apple: Good for you. I agree - Flash is merely a battery killer; a misused web technology that is much more often used for junk than for quality content. On a small-screen platform it would be unbearable. Adobe needs to address these issues before Flash gets ported to the iPhone.

I turned off Flash long ago - I'm surprised more people haven't done so.

Re:Flash sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22732948)

So, what, Adobe needs to address the issue of how developers use Flash? All of your accusations could have been levelled at Javascript a few years ago - and still could to a lesser degree - do you also think Apple should cripple that too? If you don't like what people are doing with Flash then do something useful with it yourself to highlight how it should be used.

Re:Flash sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22732956)

How can you say something horrible like that?!?

Without flash Redtube wouldn't exist!!11!!!1111

Re:Flash sucks. (1)

miscz (888242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732968)

It sucks. But a lot of web content is available in Flash only. You're childish when your dislike for Flash means that nobody should use it. And somehow Nokia N810 can do it with less powerful processor.

Re:Flash sucks. (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733148)

What do you mean by the "Nokia N810 can do it"? I'm pretty sure I could create a Flash animation that would make it choke. Sure, it might be able to play a limited subset of flash files, but the key word there is "limited". And how long do your batteries last playing those files?

Re:Flash sucks. (1)

miscz (888242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733222)

I don't know, I don't own one. But I'm sure as hell I'm not forced into either using it or not being able to use it.

Re:Flash sucks. (1)

BlackCreek (1004083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733322)

What do you mean by the "Nokia N810 can do it"? I'm pretty sure I could create a Flash animation that would make it choke. Sure, it might be able to play a limited subset of flash files, but the key word there is "limited". And how long do your batteries last playing those files?
The subset of Flash videos that count is the YouTube videos subset. The Nokia N810 can handle that. End of story.

Re:Flash sucks. (2, Insightful)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733120)

Flash is great because its standard.

Nearly every graphics based browser out there can (and does) support flash. This is great because of the huge online video craze going on right now. Do you remember the days of some websites using quicktime, others using real player, some using windows media, some just streaming MPGs etc? Have you ever tried getting mplayer to actually PLAY all of those things in your browser?

Streaming video (and audio) using flash is great because it just works.

Re:Flash sucks. (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733214)

Flash is not a standard, it just has a lot of implementations. H.264, in contrast is a real, documented, standard. Having tried the H.264 and flash versions on the same machine, it's quite obvious why Apple wanted to use it. The H.264 version takes about a quarter as much CPU power to decode. On the iPhone, which has a hardware decoder chip for the format (as do quite a few mobile devices), the difference will be more pronounced.

Re:Flash sucks. (1)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733432)

Flash is not a standard, it just has a lot of implementations.
Let me clarify:
Flash is standard. In this case "standard" is being used as an adjective, not a noun. As in "this new dodge viper comes with a stearing wheel; standard"

As far as CPU goes. Yes, flash requires more CPU than just a raw video stream does. I think that this goes without saying.

Re:Flash sucks. (3, Insightful)

ksheff (2406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733590)

but many sites often require you to have the latest & greatest version of flash to watch their little movies when previous versions would otherwise work just fine. This can pose a problem for some users when Adobe doesn't bring out new versions of flash for all platforms at the same time. Another thing I don't like about flash is that when you have multiple web pages open in multiple tabs, the stupid flash ads on each page are still running even though they aren't being viewed. I'm not sure if there is a Firefox extension or plugin to disable this feature or not. All the flash animations running at the same time really suck up a lot of cpu processing. At times, this can make the browser and everything else unusable.

Re:Flash sucks. (1)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733728)

Here [mozdev.org] you go.

This doesn't prompt you (that would be annoying) but prevents any flash from playing until you click an icon to enable it.

#1 best FF extension out there in my opinion.

Re:Flash sucks. (1)

croddy (659025) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733238)

A standard video format is one for which there exists a specification, that one might implement a player or encoder. The Flash license specifically forbids the development of players. At best it is what we call "a de facto standard".

Re:Flash sucks. (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733240)

If all advertisers had to use was the <blink&;gt tag, they'd use the blink tag. In short, the only way you'd make dynamic ads go away was if there was no way to deliver animations or sound to the browser. And you'd probably have to disable any other scripting like javascript too, so that you're back to the web being a dead-tree look-a-like of static pages. And disable animated .gifs so they can't be used for dynamic banner ads. In fact, I'd probably recommend Lynx but you might still run into google's text ads. If you can't find anything useful delivered by flash, you can't have been looking very hard and so you take the bad with the good. Like most technology, it's a tool that can be used for good and bad but I hardly see the point in blaming the tool.

Re:Flash sucks. (1)

Delkster (820935) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733370)

I understand why Apple doesn't support Flash on the iPhone: Because Flash sucks.

Not to mention that Flash makes it possible to create separate (web) applications in it. Yeah, they tend to suck, but they're still standalone applications (compared to normal web stuff) with code downloaded to the phone, which Apple doesn't like [slashdot.org].

How -To FTFA (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732810)

The link in TFA was dead, so here's the Google Cache
cache:www.triffid.org/blog/2008/03/download-drm-free-video-from-bbc.html [72.14.205.104]
FYI - It seems like the bookmarklet isn't complete in the cache

Unfortunately, I get "Sorry, this programme is only available to download in the UK (why?)"

Re:How -To FTFA (1)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22732946)

probably the reason you can't watch the BBC iPlayer is the fact you are NOT in the UK :D If you are then you're ISP ain;t :D BBC is only for UK TV Licence payers to use and abuse :D:D

How to do this (5, Informative)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733012)

  1. Get Iceweasel/Firefox and the extensions User Agent Switcher and Firebug
  2. Use UAS to switch your browser's http user agent string to "Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A543a Safari/419.3" (you'll have to add this as a new option through the menus)
  3. Go to the BBC video web page; here's an example [bbc.co.uk]
  4. Open the firebug tab; Tools > Firebug > Open Firebug
  5. Use the search bar to search the HTML tab for video/mp4
  6. You should find a tag like "object width="512" height="288" type="video/mp4" Expand it.
  7. Copy the http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/3/auth/iplayer_streaming_http_mp4/* [bbc.co.uk] URL to the clipboard
  8. Use wget to fetch it, using the command "wget --user-agent="Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A543a Safari/419.3 http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/3/auth/iplayer_streaming_http_mp4/* [bbc.co.uk]"
  9. ???
  10. Profit.

Re:How to do this (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733228)

How to do this on OS X / Safari:
  1. Go to Debug menu and set the user agent to 'Mobile Safari 1.0.'
  2. Go to the BBC site and select a video.
  3. Right click and say 'Save as source...'

Re:How to do this (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733390)

But will this get me around the whole "You may only access this content in Great Britain?" That's my biggest beef: the BBC doesn't allow anyone to access their content when they're out of the country. This applies not only to people who are not British residents, but also to those who are and happen to be out of the country for a brief time.

Even for people who aren't British residents, I wish that people could subscribe (yes, for a fee) to the BBC and access their domestic content. I hate only being able to access their content via BBC America. For one reason, cable companies bundle it with a bunch of other crap that I'll never, ever watch. Another is that BBCA edits material to fit more commercials and to appease all those who called and wrote the FCC about Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction.

Re:How to do this (1)

Cal Paterson (881180) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733992)

"You may only access this content in Great Britain?"
Technically, you need only be in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, I suspect the Republic of Ireland can access the BBC also.

Re:How to do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22733414)

I assume you can instead just install DownloadHelper [mozilla.org] and cut out about 9 steps. Unfortunately, I can't test it because I don't live in the UK.

Article tagged "flamebait" (2, Funny)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733020)

Seriously, was there no other source for this news than one which has the headline:

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

Security via the Evil bit! (1)

Shteven (1137821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733056)

Trusting user agent strings strikes me as almost exactly the same thing as the Evil bit [faqs.org]. Sure, you can trust everyone to report themselves...

It was worth a good laugh at least ;)

Konqueror (2, Informative)

Teppic_52 (982950) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733140)

It's actually easier to do in konq than firefox, put the user agent string in ~/.kde/share/config/kio_httprc against bbc.co.uk and it asks you what to do with the file when you click play.
I'm off to download a weeks worth of In The Night Garden....

Unacceptable. (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22733310)

As a UK TV license payer I find it entirely unacceptable that the BBC is using our money to further Apple's profits over other companies by releasing only for their mobile handset. We do not pay the BBC to further Apple and Microsoft's profits, whilst I applaud their attempts at getting the content accessible for Linux users it's a half-assed measure at best.

Whilst the iPhone is popular in the US, it's not that popular here in the UK and as such there is not even the excuse that it's got a large majority of the market segment.

The BBC seems too easily influenced by large corporations and frankly, something needs to be done about it because they are accountable to us - the British citizens that pay the license equally and as such we should be treated equally in how we can access our content. If this is not to be the case, we should have the choice of using our TVs but not watching the BBC and hence opt out of the TV license.

WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22733450)

My phone can do everything the iphone can, and has been able to for over the past 18 months, yet the iPlayer site doesn't work? What gives? Fuck Apple.

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22733636)

Why would I bother when my MythTV box catches anything of interest anyway, and doesn't use up bandwidth?
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