MP4 file download opening in iPlayer filled

March 19, 2016

The delight of software development is identifying when it will do things you never initially anticipated it to do. Various people it appears have been utilising a method of downloading content from the BBC iPlayer that was destined to be streamed onto the iPhone and iPod platforms using a plug-in for the Firefox browser.

The BBC News article labels the people doing this as hackers, but it raises a fascinating issue about the use of a multitude of tools offered that will let users grab streaming content as a file so that it can be played back on devices that would otherwise not play the streamed content.

A wide variety of portable audio/video devices are on hand that will support the MP4 format, but are unable to access the iPod and iPhone content owing to how the BBC iPlayer site streams the content. The cat and mouse game of plugging the holes that will materialize in Digital Rights Management formats and streaming services will indicate that the BBC iPlayer will have enduring development costs beyond the costs of creating the variety of formats it currently produces. As a number of online music stores appear to have determined it might be better to promote people to download content and leave them free to decide which devices they can play it on.


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