Ripping BBC iPlayer streamed video

Watching the Glastonbury Festival coverage on the BBC over the last few days reminded me that last year, I managed to find a nifty little tool to rip all the ‘watch again’ video they put up online for seven days after the festival finishes. I ended up with everything screened on the beeb over the three days – that was when things were easy, and the video was streamed in Real Media! I like to keep an archive of an event like this, purely for my own personal amusement so I can watch it again in the future.

I found a great little stream recorder from a company called Applian Technologies, which is perfect for ripping iPlayer (radio) shows you may want to download and keep. Works a treat with the BBC Radio ‘Listen Again’ iPlayer streams – I use it for ripping the Pete Tong show each week, and the Essential Mix!

Progress waits for no man though, and the BBC have switched their video streaming this year to a rather more, ahem, borrow proof flv format, housed in the iPlayer, (which in itself is a very high picture-quality offering). You can download (at least in the UK) most shows, but they are rights crippled and will die after 30 days.

After a quick try, the WM Recorder I used for ripping audio and video no longer works. In fact, nothing else I could think of worked. After a bit of searching, I found the WM Capture software, again by Applian. This works as a screen recorder, so you set it up to record the area of the screen occupied by the video. After a bit of playing about with audio settings, I was able to record anything I watched through the iPlayer interface. In fact, it works like a charm, even circumventing the DRM issues outlined earlier!

The only downside is that as a screen recorder, you have to keep your mouse out of the area you’re recording, and obviously you can’t use the PC for anything else while you’re recording. It’s a little more clunky than previous stream ripping methods I’ve used, but currently, the only way I have found of preserving the iPlayer streamed content for longer than the BBC intended! In fact, WM Capture can be used to record literally any streamed content in the same way – there is nothing that can escape its clutches!

As an aside, you’ll need a BIG hard disk – file sizes are colossal for iPlayer video/audio due to its high quality, but there are various config settings you can alter to improve file size.

Have a look at the software – you can also download a trial copy for free to see if it does what you need it to first, which is helpful. Recording time is limited on the trial, but as soon as you register this is removed. All in all very easy to use, I was recording iPlayer within 5 minutes of downloading and installing the trial! If you want to rip online content, I can happily recommend WM Capture!

Update: I got the whole WM Recorder and WM Capture bundle, and there is literally nothing online now that i can’t grab or record, one way or other. Music, video files, streaming TV – it’s all easy too grab. Check the bundle out here: WM Capture/Recorder Bundle.