Raspberry Pi and get_iplayer

get_iplayer is a great piece of software that downloads bbc iplayer programmes to a local hard drive it also runs great on a raspberry pi. To set-up I followed these instructions: http://raspi.tv/2014/get_iplayer-raspberry-pi-update

Once installed open the terminal and run

get_iplayer --cat films

This will then return all the films currently available on iplayer, then to download, note the Number and run:

get_iplayer --get 1582 --modes best --type=tv --file-prefix="<nameshort>-<.senum>-<.episodeshort>" --output "/media/WD/tv/films"

The code is pretty self explanatory – grab programme 1582 in the best mode (eg: HD), name and output to the specified location. Run the command and in a few minutes the file will be saved. Running get_iplayer in this manner gets a little tedious but it has a PVR, where you can specifiy search terms so when the PVR is run it will download the programmes when they become available. Here is an example:

get_iplayer --pvr-add=PVR_top_gear "top gear" --tvmode=best --type=tv --file-prefix="<nameshort>-<senum>-<episodeshort>" --output "/media/WD/tv/cars/top gear"

This adds the PVR named “top_gear” with the search terms “top gear” which will grab the best quality file, name it and save it to the output location. To run the PVR run this:

get_iplayer --pvr

So every time a new top gear episode is added the PVR will download all episodes, it has a download history file so programmes will not be downloaded twice. If any PVRs need deleting just run:

get_iplayer --pvr-del="PVR_top_gear"

If needed the TV cache can be updated by running:

get_iplayer --refresh

All manner of PVRs can be added even if programmes are not available, it will continue to search each time the PVR is run.  The PVR needs to be run at least once every seven days as new programmes are only added to the search for seven days despite usually being able to be downloaded for thirty days.

To delete PVRs run:

get_iplayer --pvr-del="PVR_top_gear"

This is just a snapshot of how the software works, there is a vast archive of helpful info and a forum available at: https://squarepenguin.co.uk/wiki/

This is perfect for running on a raspberry pi as its low powered always on PVR, the PVR can be set to run at specific times with cron. I have yet to set this up but its on the list.

Once the files have been downloaded I use minidlna to serve them to the tv’s – post to follow.


A UK IP address is needed to access the iplayer web streams and programmes should be deleted after 30 days.