A new version of the BBC iPlayer Radio program. This should, I hope, solve any problems you have been experiencing with “skipping” during programmes.
A quick explanation: the BBC provides their radio programmes as AAC files. These play on Windows 8 and later, in theory. But I was having lots of reports of programmes skipping. I thought this might have been the code that downloads the AAC files, but I discovered that the AAC files skipped in Windows Media Player as well as in my program (which uses Windows Media Player internally), and my program successfully downloaded exactly the same file each time. Finally, converting the AAC file to another file type fixed the program just fine.
BBC iPlayer Radio therefore has a “conversion” step after downloading a programme where it is converted into a format that will play without skipping.
I’ve therefore gone to using the venerable Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA) interface to hunt down and press the correct buttons on the iPlayer page. This is a bit slow, and you’ve lost the mechanism for pause or skipping. I could put that in another time, but for now it works, and that’s the main thing. You’ve also sadly lost the switching interface, but I suspect no-one was using it!
I’ve now switched the all the BBC stations, national and local, to their new Audio Factory streams. Everything is working fine on my Windows 8.1 machine, but some points:
- There are lots of different streams to choose from. UK or non-UK, and different bitrates (48,000 to 339,200), and different encodings (HE-AAC and AAC-LC).
- I’ve chosen the non-UK streams because I have overseas users, although I understand that these streams will go quiet if the station is broadcasting something for which the BBC does not have international rights (e.g. sporting events). So I should probably do some detection, or provide an option, in the future.
- This also means that I’m using the HE-AAC streams, for good or for ill, at a bitrate of 101,760. This might annoy some audiophiles, but I’m not one, so I’ll wait until someone complains.
- Everything might be fine on my Windows 8.1 machine, but older Windows might not support the HE-AAC stream without installing a codec or other component. If you find nothing will play, do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, the BBC iPlayer Radio 8 is completely broken. Over the last week all the Windows Media streams that it used have been shut off. The good news is that lots of people complained to the BBC, so they’ve got in touch with me and promised to help. So far I’ve got the program to display the new catalogue, which means that you can still see programmes, but none of them play yet – and I don’t know why. I hope to get a fix sometime next week if they get back to me! (I can get the URL of the stream to play, but it doesn’t play in VLC or Windows Media Player).