iPlayer hacks and Car PC

March 15th, 2008 by Strawp

I’ve been doing two fun things this week. The first was playing around with the iPlayer again. Last Friday (7th March) the Beeb made the rather confusing move of releasing an iPhone-optimised version of the iPlayer. Now, the iPhone doesn’t support Flash, so it was all H264 over HTTP. You could get to this resource on a predictable URL just by changing your user agent to that of an iPhone. No DRM, no proprietary streaming format, and for a platform which is minority in the extreme, making a mockery of the “big platforms first” defence that the BBC used for rolling out Windows-only versions of iPlayer.

Anyway, a few days after this was all revealed, they “patched” the service, which actually meant they just checked on the “Range” HTTP header as well as the “User-Agent” one. Pretty weak. By the end of that same day, I’d updated my download script, and so had Paul Battley, followed by johnsto who has written an XBMC version of the exploit.

What will Auntie do next? Let the games commence…

I’ve also put a PC into my car this week, written up on the project page.

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