Saturday, 26 May 2012

Raspberry Pi - get_iplayer install, download from BBC iPlayer

Anyway, my Raspberry Pi has turned up!  I haven't been this excited since I went to get my Amiga.

I've got a plan to use the Pi as a low power, always on device, which will download the latest tv & radio shows from BBC iPlayer so I can watch / listen later.

There is a great open source project called get_iplayer for downloading feeds from BBC iPlayer, so when I first unwrapped it, getting this installed was my first challenge.

I am using the Debian Squeeze distro (19-04-2012), so this info is only appropriate to that OS, if your running something different, your on your own!

Download & extract get_iplayer

First I headed over to to the latest version of the get_iplayer application, downloading it onto my Pi using:

sudo wget

Once I had got get_iplayer-2.94.tar.gz into a directory I needed to decompress it using gzip.

sudo gzip -d get_iplayer-2.94.tar.gz

This left me with get_iplayer-2.82.tar, which I then needed to extract using tar.

sudo tar -xf get_iplayer-2.94.tar

This created a directory called get_iplayer-2.94, which contained the get_iplayer application.

cd get_iplayer-2.94

I then made get_iplayer executable and writeable.

sudo chmod 755 get_iplayer

sudo chmod 777 get_iplayer

get_iplayer is a perl application and as well as extracting the application I also needed to install an additional perl module and some other tools, all of which are available using apt-get.

Install perl module libwww-perl

sudo apt-get install libwww-perl

Install perl module XML::Simple

tar -zxvf XML-Simple-2.20.tar.gz
cd XML-Simple-2.20
perl Makefile.PL
make test
sudo make install

Install rtmpdump

sudo apt-get install rtmpdump

Install flvstreamer

sudo apt-get install flvstreamer

Install ffmpeg

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg

Run get_iplayer

And that was it, I was now able to run get_iplayer; make sure your in the get_iplayer directory and run:

sudo ./get_iplayer

The first 2 times you run get_iplayer it might download plug-ins and the latest lists from BBC iPlayer.

SWF Verification
In June 2013, BBC iPlayer changed to use SWF Verification (see this post for more information),  If you haven't already you need to setup the certificate by running.

sudo ./get_iplayer --prefs-add --rtmp-tv-opts="--swfVfy"

Search for a program

Run get_iplayer passing a search parameter (e.g. News).

sudo ./get_iplayer News

Download a program

Note the programme Id returned in the search and pass this to get_iplayer using the --get command.

sudo ./get_iplayer --get 123

get_iplayer has lots of other functions, such as basic PVR capabilities, check out the documentation on the get_iplayer site for more info.  There is also a readme file in the get_iplayer directory which includes some instructions on its use.

Update - for more information about setting up get_iplayer and running it, see post

Update - my iPlayer project is now finished; it downloads from BBC iPlayer before creating a Podcast which is distributed over the internet so I can pick up the latest programmes from my phone, see post


  1. get_iplayer 2.82 is now released

    list of updates

    1. Cheers Mapperz, Ive update the blog to reflect the latest version

  2. you've got a few spelling mistakes

    you've put "I am using the Debian Squeeze distro (19-04-2012), so this info is only appropriate to that OS, if your running something different, your on your own!"

    where you meant "I am using the Debian Squeeze distro (19-04-2012), so this info is only appropriate to that OS, if you're running something different, you're on your own!"

    1. O dear, wat sloppines, I reely must sak my editer

  3. I tried to follow this how to, it went swimmingly until the last install stage: "sudo apt-get install ffmpeg" where I got loads of '404' & 'failed to fetch' errors and ends with 'Aborting install'.

    As a newbie to Linux I'm now totally stuck! Any help that can be offered would be great.

    1. Wierd, 404 errors sound like apt-get cant retreive the installation. It might just be a down server, if so, give it a little while and try again.

    2. Ah... that was me - missed the sudo before an earlier attemp at "apt-get update". Having done that the last command ran to the end without errors - great. But I can't run the prog, it returns "sudo: get_iplayer: command not found.

      In the dir 'get_iplayer-2.82' I have:


      Some are plaing directories, others files. What have I done wrong?

    3. Have you specified the full path of the get_iplayer program, (if your in the directory you can use ./get_iplayer). Full paths are a pre-requisite in linux, unless the path exists in the PATH variable, unlike dos/windows where your current path is considered part of the PATH.

  4. Hi there,
    Can anyone report whether this is still working even though there has been a few flash updates since these posts? Thinking about buying a Pi for this purpose only..

  5. This works exactly the same in Rasbian Wheezy 2013-09-25 and after downloading the Iplayer FLV file it runs fine in omxplayer , which is installed as part of the NOOBS zip file . Omxplayer is a bit difficult to control , as it tends to keep running once started , but hopefully I ought to be able to come up with a way around that . For some reason get-iplayer seems to run reliably unlike the various versions of XBMC I've tried , so I'd recommend it in preference .

  6. so the source codes and plans for projects are freely available to download

    1. If you mean is the get_iplayer project available for download then yes, you can find the source here

      If you mean my projects then yes, the majority of my content is online and shared under a creative commons license