Welcome to iplayerconverter.co.uk!

This website aims to make it as easy as possible for people to listen to all the fabulous radio programming that the British Broadcasting Corporation produces.

But why not just use the iPlayer?

The iPlayer is a wonderful bit of technology, and the BBC should be commended for all they have done to make radio freely available to the entire world via their website. However, the iPlayer has one major limitation - it relies on Adobe Flash in order to work properly.

Why is that a problem?

Well, a lot of people can't or won't install the latest version of Flash on their computers. Also, a number of mobile devices and Internet radios don't support Flash, so you can't use iPlayer from those devices.

Is there an alternative?

Originally the BBC provided what they called a 'low bandwidth' alternative to Flash. This used a technology called RealAudio which has been around since the early days of the Internet. More recently (2009 or so) the BBC switched to Windows Media Audio, which was widely supported on many computers (although less so on mobile devices).

So what's the problem?

Unfortunately nothing stands still in the technology world. It cost the BBC money to continue to make programmes available in Windows Media Audio, which is now an obsolete technology. The hosting contract the BBC had with the company that provided the actual technical bit of the service was also coming to an end and the BBC didn't want the cost of renewing it. Consequently they have decided to remove the Windows Media audio option from the iPlayer.

Eeek! So what can I do?

The BBC are still providing some stream information in a new format called MPEG-DASH . This is an international standard agreed several years ago which is (very!) slowly becoming the standard format for streaming audio on the Internet.

Tell me more!

This site uses data feeds which the BBC have generously made available as part of their backstage project. From those data feeds the site can provide a link to the MPEG-DASH stream data for most radio shows. Moreover, the site also exposes the BBC Programme ID (pid) for every radio show, which can then be used in third party software such as the popular get_iplayer tool for Linux users.

And what about the future?

It's not clear at the moment how long this site will be able to continue providing stream information. The BBC closed down the Backstage project that originally inspired this site several years ago, and at any time the BBC could revoke the license originally granted under that project allowing this site to remain operational. Also, as streaming technology changes and modern computers and mobile devices adopt the new MPEG-DASH standard, hopefully the need for this site will reduce as more devices will be able to use the official iPlayer applications.

And what about the future of iplayerconverter?

Having said all that above, iplayerconverter.co.uk will continue to provide feed and stream information for as long as the BBC make them available.

Is there anything else this site provides?

Yes - we also offer some Google Gadgets that you can use on your webpage or blog. We also offer a special version of the site for older mobile phones and instructions on how to use our feeds if you have a Reciva Internet Radio.

Why run this site?

I started this site so I could listen to BBC Radio on my Nokia N95, which only supported RealAudio. It soon became clear there was a demand for the service, and the increasing number of visitors since those early days has borne this out. We currently have hundreds of users visiting the site every day!

For the technically minded, the site is built with the Microsoft .NET framework (C#) and runs on Microsoft Azure. I don't charge for use of the site (indeed the BBC forbid the commercial use of their programme data) and running costs are covered by the advertising you see on each page.

How does it all work?

We will shortly be adding some information on how precisely this site operates to our articles page.

It's broken / how can I contact you?

If you have any more questions then please don't hesitate to contact the webmaster.