How to download from BBC iPlayer using get-iplayer for Linux

You can download BBC shows from iPlayer using software for Linux called get-iplayer. Because get-iplayer downloads the whole programme before watching there are no buffering problems. The files are also handy for producing clips from shows. get-iplayer is operated through typed commands but it’s not too difficult. Here’s how to install and use it on Ubuntu Linux.

Open “Terminal” from the main menu. You will get a window you can type in.

get-iplayer guide open terminal

Type: (Or copy and paste)

sudo apt-get install get-iplayer

Enter your password when prompted to allow the software to install.

get-iplayer guide install 1

Press enter at the next prompt to continue.

get-iplayer guide install 2

If all goes well then you should end up back at a command prompt like this.

get-iplayer guide installed

get-iplayer needs to download the list of programmes on iPlayer. Type:

get-iplayer --refresh

get-iplayer guide refresh

Then a list of programmes will be displayed.

get-iplayer guide programme list

The list is too long to view properly. There are two ways you can address this. To browse through the whole list, type the following.

get-iplayer | less

Then you can scroll up and down the list using Page Up and Page Down or the up and down arrows. Press q to get back to the command prompt.

Alternatively, you can search for what you want.

get-iplayer newsnight

Put quotes around the name if it has spaces in.

get-iplayer "daily politics"

Either way, the bit you need to know is the number on the left. That’s the number that you type to actually download the programme.

To download your chosen programme type this.

get-iplayer -g 610

Replace 610 with the number of your choice.

get-iplayer guide download 1

You’ll see some information about the video file and then a display of how much has been downloaded at the bottom.

get-iplayer guide download 2

After the download has finished the .flv file will be automatically converted to a .mp4 file.

get-iplayer guide downloaded

Open your home folder and double-click the file to watch it.

get-iplayer guide done