BBC iPlayer Rant

After struggling with trying to get the iPlayer Download Manager working on Jess’s PC for hours last night I gave up and used BitTorrent. Strangely enough I found and started downloading the programme I wanted in less than 5 minutes, and it was higher quality. Would this make you want to use iPlayer?

Didn’t think so. So I sent the BBC an email:


I just installed the iPlayer Download Manager (DM as I’ll refer to it) last night on my wife’s Windows XP SP3 computer so that she could watch the episode of “Mutual Friends” that our Sky box managed to mangle. I decided to try the download manager due to the higher quality audio/video that you get compared to streaming. This proved to be an extremely frustrating experience.

Once installed, I tried to download the programme, but the DM stated that there was a “DRM error” and that the web site would help me fix it. Unfortunately it told me no more about the error, and searching for “DRM error” in the FAQs yielded a variety of instructions to try to remedy the situation: resetting the Windows DRM folder, doing a “security upgrade”, re-installing Windows Media Player, re-installing the DM, none of it worked.

I’ve been using computers since I was 12, have a BSc in Computing Science, and have been a Systems Engineer for over 2 years now, and try as I might I cannot get the DM to even start downloading this programme.

It really saddens me that you found it necessary to over-complicate such a simple tool as a download system for TV with DRM and other measures that just make things very difficult to use. Around 2 hours after starting to wrestle with the Download Manager I gave up and turned to Google, found an “illegal” BitTorrent download and had that going within 5 minutes. This was far easier to download, will have no silly time restrictions on it and is higher quality than is available through iPlayer. I can also do this in good conscience considering I pay my ever-increasing TV license fee _and_ a Sky TV subscription.

I hope you understand that by using technological countermeasures such as DRM actually made me try to find an alternative source for what I wanted to find, simply because it DID NOT WORK. I hope you can convey this message to your trustees and suppliers of programming to help them reconsider their opinions and impositions.

Chris Boot

1 thought on “BBC iPlayer Rant

  1. Hey boy,

    Good message, will they reply?
    We await, with bated breath…

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