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How to install the BBC iPlayer on Windows Vista

How to install the BBC iPlayer on Windows Vista

How to install the BBC iPlayer on Windows Vista

Hmmm, I've just seen this article over on El Reg and was intrigued to read that one of their readers had managed to get BBC's new iPlayer software running successfully under Windows Vista despite claims from the organisation that the software is only suitable for use with Windows XP. Having recently upgraded to Windows Vista myself I have to admit to being a little disappointed when I discovered that the iPlayer wasn't going to work on my machine. Tempted by the lures of all of that lovely BBC content and spurred on by reports that it only works under XP, I set about trying to get the service to play ball with Windows Vista. This proved a lot easier than I initially suspected and within 15 minutes I had the service running flawlessly (so far!) on my Vista box. With a satisfying feeling that I'd somehow 'beaten the system' I proceeded to download some behind the scenes footage of the recently aired drama series 'Heroes'. Want to know how I did it? You'll need to be registered to use the iPlayer, so if you haven't done so already sign-up here. Once you have your login details then your ready to go. The only thing stopping you from downloading the software is the user agent string in your registry that allows Internet Explorer to advertise what browser and operating system you are using. Fortunately it's easy enough to override this and trick IE into thinking it's running on an XP machine. All you need is a registry hack which I downloaded from here. After applying the registry changes I restarted my browser and was then able to login, select something to download and proceed to install the software. Vista did admittedly throw up an error message at the end of the installation but this doesn't seem to have affected the functionality or stability of the software. The BBC had this to say according to The Register's article: "We know that some technically expert users are able to run BBC iPlayer Beta on Vista but we do not feel it is appropriate to advise the general user to try to use BBC iPlayer Beta on Vista until we have completed our programme of testing." So the Beeb advise against circumventing their checks to install the iPlayer. Understandable I suppose if it hasn't been fully tested, but isn't that what a Beta launch is meant for? PlusNet are not responsible for any damages caused by following the instructions contained in this blog post. The BBC have made it clear that the software is not currently intended for Windows Vista and any attempt to install it on a machine running Windows Vista is done entirely at the readers own risk. Bob Pullen.

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18 Comments
Grafter
It actually worked (the install) for me without giving me the "Setup ended prematurely" message. Works a treat though :-)
Grafter
TBH I think the BBC are taking the michael with this. I'm a liscence payer and an Open Source software user, why oh why have they gone windows only? I thought the BBC had a duty to provide services to the population, not just a subset of it. Bad bad BBC!
Grafter
It's the content producers really Ben - They insisted on working DRM before they would allow the BBC to publish the content in this way, and that limits you to Media Player based solutions.
Grafter
But what about the vast amount of BBC created content? Why can't I watch that on my choice of OS?
Grafter
They claim it works on windows XP yet my new media PC with windows XP Pro x64 refuses to run it! I guess this user agent string hack will fix that. Thanks Smiley Yet another reason why browser sniffing is stupid.
Grafter
Tried it last night and downloaded fine but I got the error at the beginning of the install and it still refuses to run. Even though I'm running windows XP f&"^$ sake!
Grafter
"They insisted on working DRM" There's no such thing! Which leads to an interesting legal situation in Finland. Under finnish law, only 'effective' DRM implementations are protected. And since any DRM solution that can be easily circumvented is therefore not effective, there's no DRM in finland! See http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/drm/its-legal-to-break-dvd-drm-in-finland-263712.php and http://www.turre.com/blog/?p=102
Grafter
Fair point Tam!
Installed iPlayer into Vista as described, with Windows Media Player 11 set to accept DRM rights, and I had no problems getting a download. Didn't receive any error messages. I accepted the suggested default folder during installation, and that folder is where the main file download is now located. But Windows Media Player will not play the download. Vista keeps DRM file separately, and I cannot see anything in the only folder I can find. BBC iPlayer forums don't cover this point for Vista. There's access restrictions on most file locations, and actually getting into Explorer locations is a bit of a problem in Vista. I suspect that the iPlayer DRM info is being prohibited access, but there is no error message during downloading. So can someone who has iPlayer working, please tell me where their iPlayer DRM files are located in Vista, and whether this is the same file that any other Windows Media Player 11 DRM files are located.
Not applicable
Where are your DRM files and what are some of them called? Have you got UAC turned on in Windows Vista? http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsVista/en/library/0d75f774-8514-4c9e-ac08-4c21f5c6c2d91033.mspx?mfr=true
First: Downloaded programme is a "wmv" file in suggested folder by iPlayer program installation. Root-drive (CSmiley Documents and Settings Public Public Documents My Deliveries iplayer_live The BBC logo files (stored on first download) that precede replay of the downloaded programme file, play the logo video and sound. But the BBC player then stops, and an attempt to use WMP11 results in a not having permission error message. It appears to be solely a DRM problem. Only DRM folder on my Vista PC is: Root Drive (CSmiley Users All Users Microsoft DRM The DRM folder contains no files, but has a "Server" folder that is also empty. So the main answer Bob, is that I don't have any DRM files at all. If I'd had some, I probably wouldn't have asked the question. Second. Yes UAC is turned on. I was aware that UAC might be a problem, but I tried to overcome it by changing permissions along the required folder and file paths, to allow access. This had meant looking at what happened the first time round of installing iPlayer, then uninstalling iPlayer, using Kclean to remove the Kontiki suite, then creating the required folder sharing permissions before reinstalling iPlayer and downloading another programme. On principal, I've tried to keep UAC on. If turned off it makes Vista as vulnerable as XP. There's nothing wrong with the idea of UAC, it's just a crap implementation of Server 2003 in Vista, that's a sod to configure. As anyone who has tried setting up a network simply using their own PCs will find. Bob, I suspect that your suggestion is going to be turn UAC off. I'll give that a try,and report ASAP, but was hoping for a more enlightened response about installing with UAC on.
Update to my own message above. Turned UAC off. Uninstalled BBC iPlayer, ran KClean again to remove Kontiki suite. Reinstalled iPlayer, and started a download. Note for anyone trying to install iPlayer, if you are not watching progress with something like DU meter, is that the first download takes a long time to start. Because first there is a comprehensive set of BBC station logos, twenty second videos, that download on first use. Success. Chosen programme downloaded without any problems, and played without any problems.
With the BBC iPlayer installed in Vista without problems if UAC is turned off, I thought I might as well comment the remaining main question that people reading this might have, about DRM. If you have the DRM right to play a video file, you can make an analogue copy of the output, that will obviously be free of the time limits, and transferring to another device, restrictions. This clearly defeats the purpose of DRM, but allows a fair use copy to be made that is legal under some jurisdictions. A program that does this, Tunebite, does work. But you need a very fast computer under most circumstances. Probably no less than 3.8GB if this program doesn't recognise your sound card, and you have to playback through the Tunebite audio software. The fair use people have circulated a DRM removal tool, that works on programs for which you have DRM rights, that simply removes the DRM. It is circulating under the name Mirakagi. Although this was probably mainly intended for overcoming music downloads' restrictions in Microsoft DRM (.WMA) format, it strips DRM from Windows Media video (.WMV, .ASF) too. Mirakagi and the associate program FairUse4WM 1.3 Fix-2 do strip the DRM from current BBC iPlayer downloads. So BBC iPlayer can be made to work in Vista, and if you want to ignore the T&C and remove the DRM, you can. As proof of the concept, I removed DRM from two BBC iPlayer downloads, and played them without any problems in several media players using Ubuntu and Xubuntu (Linux operating systems). Personally, with dual-tuner stand alone PVRs, and DVB-T PC cards in my desktop computers, I cannot really see why BBC iPlayer is needed by most people. If you have a PC, instead of using your broadband bandwidth allowance to download programmes, why not turn your PC into an extra PVR by installing a DVB-T tuner PC card in your computer? I appreciate that some people cannot get an adequate TV signal, but otherwise the downloaded 672x384 video with 128kbps 48kHz sound, is a very poor product compared to PVR recording at full video and sound quality. I'll use iPlayer in the rare event that I do not record a broadcast I want to see, because I didn't know about the broadcast or forgot. Where the BBC iPlayer downloads might be particularly useful, is for portable players. If I wanted to watch the proceedings of a Houses of Parliament Committee, probably lasting about two hours, a download onto a portable player to watch as the time and opportunity presented itself, would be fine. The MP4 players with a 2inch screen have more than 672x384 pixels. (& a mini-SD card slot, for under £50). I'd want such a download to be free of the time restriction, so that it didn't delete before I watched all of it, or re-watched interesting bits. For the record, the BBC is not currently making the Parliamentary broadcasts downloadable, but the committee broadcasts are available as live streaming video from the Houses of Parliament web-site when Parliament is sitting, and as recorded library streams at all times. They have been in streamed in .WMV format so far.
Not applicable
I run Windows Vista Home Premium and have been running BBC iPlayer for months now on both download and direct playback. Recently download slowed right up so in the interim I just ran programmes on direct playback.
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Vista, Problems in installing BBc Iplayer and downloading programmes. How to overcome this as follows: 1. Open up start menu and type in" c:\Program Files\Kontiki\ " 2. The Start bar should now have a few items in it one called “KHost”. With your mouse – right click it and click “Properties” 3. Click the “Compatibility” tab 4. Under “Privilege Level” check the “Run this program as an administrator” 5. Click OK to close the box 6. Reboot your PC I have just actioned this and downloaded 'the Passion' everything is working fine. QED Steve
Not applicable
I'm struggling because it keeps saying i've got a DRM problem - this has only happened after i downloaded SP3 last weekend. Running on XP. Any thoughts? When I try to empty my DRM folder it warns that I'm deleting a system file...
Not applicable
Oh can you please help me! I have been using the bbc iplayer for some time, until suddenly I am being told to download the latest version of adobe flash player to be able to view ANYTHING. I have tried many times to no avail. I've tried to remove all previous versions and am still having no luck. I don't know what to do. Can you please help? thanks. Sam
Not applicable
Forget iplayer. Just get a p2p client like eDonkey and download your show that way. Always works. (although you may have to wait a few days before your show comes up on the networks) On all OSs. DVD burnable formats and no need to mess with registry keys, dodgy programs, iplayer or any of that crap.