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Cannot use flash or hls modes for audiodescribed programmes since 16/3/2017


Firstly, I'm new. I've had a tricky time getting registered as the captcha process is hard when you're visually and hearing impaired. I know you have a duty to your users, but please could you switch from images and audio verification, to emotional verification, which is not discriminatory towards people with duel sensory loss.

Okay, on to my problem. Before I go any further, I would like to make it clear that, as a legally blind person, who is hearing impaired, I am unable to use electronic voices on screen readers. Instead I have to muddle through with a screen magnifier, hence I am unable to read a lot of text...I therefore have not been able to read all the documents you ask posters to do, prior to posting a problem. I will therefore try to apply some common sense in my post.

I use the following command to obtain audiodescribed TV partcular, Eastenders:

get_iplayer --versions=audiodescribed --pid=

The resulting action from get_iplayer is copied and pasted below the end of my message.

I have been happily using the string/command line above for a couple of years with no problems. When another programme I used (Radio Downloader) ceased to be able to download BBC content, I was recommended get_iplayer. Someone on a forum gave me the above string, and that's all I've needed. Then, suddenly from the episode on 16/3/17, through to the latest episode this week, it's stopped working. The previous episode on 14/3/17, and every one prior to that date, have been fine.

Could a kind soul help me by looking at the text below, and seeing if there's anything that can be done? Is it something I can modify by changing the command I use, or is it something the BBC have changed? I have used a computer for 22 years, but not DOS, so please be as simplistic as possible with any replies you may have.

This is vitally important to me, as, because of my hearing impairment, I can't use a smart device such as IOS or Android, or my PC, to listen to the audiodescription (I convert the resulting mp4 file from get_iplayer, to mp3) as I use a specially adapted mp3 player that has both text to speech, and amplified volume, to listen to sound files..

Many thanks for any help you can give me.

Here is the get_iplayer log of the process I used:

get_iplayer Output:

C:\Program Files\get_iplayer>get_iplayer --versions=audiodescribed --pid=b08jmdm
get_iplayer v2.94, Copyright (C) 2008-2010 Phil Lewis
  This program comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details use --warranty.
  This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it under certain
  conditions; use --conditions for details.

INFO Trying to stream pid using type tv
INFO: pid found in cache
576:    EastEnders - 16/03/2017, BBC One, , default

INFO: 1 Matching Programmes
INFO: Checking existence of audiodescribed version
INFO: No specified modes (flashvhigh,flashhigh,flashstd,flashnormal,flashlow) av
ailable for this programme with version 'audiodescribed'
INFO: Try using --modes=hlshigh,hlslow,hlsstd,hlsvhigh
ERROR: Failed to record 'EastEnders - 5458. 16/03/2017 (b08jmdmh)'

C:\Program Files\get_iplayer>


Upgrade to get_iplayer 2.99. 2.94 is no longer supported. Also, stop using "flash" modes. New audio described programmes are no longer available in that format. I recommend you remove your "modes" setting altogether to use the default format.

EDIT: Cannot use "hls" modes after all.


Sorry, my mistake. You can't replace "flash" with "hls" after all. Remove your "modes" setting to use the default format for audio described programmes.



I think we can get you up and running again here. It might take some back and forth but stick with me and we'll see what we can do.

The first thing to say is you're on an old version of get_iplayer. You're using version 2.94 and the current release is version 2.99.

Lots of things have changed in the time between releases, particularly with how iPlayer itself does things, as has some of how get_iplayer does things.

Versions before the current one aren't supported as updates are usually to address changes in how iPlayer works and fix errors, so updating is the answer to problems faced.

That said, there are a couple ways to proceed here.

1. Address the immediate error you are facing and try and get you running again.

2. Get you updated with the latest release, replicate the behaviour you need (conversion to mp3 for instance) and give you a little more 'future proofing' (as much as is possible with a moving target like iPlayer).

Let's address point 1 to start with.

The error you are facing is:

get_iplayer Output:

INFO: No specified modes (flashvhigh,flashhigh,flashstd,flashnormal,flashlow) available for this programme with version 'audiodescribed'

This means that of the modes your version of get_iplayer can download, none have been provided by the BBC that contain the audio described version you require.

The available audio described modes are:

get_iplayer Output:

audiodescribed: dvfxsd1,dvfxsd2,dvfxsd3,dvfxsd4,dvfxhigh1,dvfxhigh2,dvfxhigh3,dvfxhigh4,dvflow1,dvflow2,dvflow3,dvflow4,hvfxsd1,hvfxsd2,hvfhigh1,hvfhigh2,hvfxhigh1,hvfxhigh2,hvflow1,hvflow2

So, not updating is probably not going to be an option as you cannot use flash modes and nor can you use hls modes (the other mode your version can handle) in order to get the audio described versions.

That leaves point 2 - updating.

1) Step one, before you install, is to see what your current saved preferences are. Use the following command to display them in the cmd prompt:

get_iplayer --show-prefs

You can copy and paste that in. Please reply here with the output of that command so we can check what you have. That will determine if we need to change any saved options in there carried over from the old version and might prevent your updated version working as it needs to.

2) Step two is to update your version of get_iplayer. The direct link to the .exe file is below. Click to download:

You can follow your normal install workflow to install it over the top of the current get_iplayer version. You don't need to remove the old/current one first.



Thank you so much for what was an extremely concise reply, I am very grateful.

Before I move onto step 2, the updating bit, I've pasted the results of the 'show preferences' command you gave me:

get_iplayer Output:

C:\Program Files\get_iplayer>get_iplayer --show-prefs

C:\Program Files\get_iplayer>


Ok, thanks.

A couple more questions:

1. Do you have bandwidth restrictions on your internet connection? The default settings for get_iplayer v2.99 download the HD version of programmes if they are available. This can significantly increase download time/size. If you want/need a smaller download we can setup a sane default for you to save permanently that will automatically download smaller files and ignore HD stuff.

2. You appear to be well versed in converting to mp3. The built in functionality to do this with radio programmes has been removed from get_iplayer. There are some suggested commands you can use but they're unsupported. Did you rely on this built in functionality?



Firstly, I have no bandwidth restrictions.
Secondly, I use Swicth to convert to mp3. I think I'm happy with that, as I would want control over the bitrate I convert to, given my hearing loss. I sometimes think I hear higher bitrates better, so I'd like the freedom to alter that with a program that I am more comfortable with for doing that, ie Switch.
I think I've answered your questions, but please let me know if I've left something out.


I forgot to mention in my last reply, that I've been holding off from updating the get_iplayer to the latest version since you mentioned it in your first reply, because I thought you were checking to see if I had any preferences to save. If that's not the case, shall I go ahead and do the updating?


I think it's safe to go ahead and update.

You don't have any preferences to carry over and you don't have any restrictions on bandwidth etc so the new defaults (HD downloads) in version 2.99 shouldn't affect you.

Do the update and post back here if you face any difficulties or can't get the programmes you are after still.



Yes, Yes, Yes!...smiles. I should really have updated to the latest version before bothering you, but I couldn't find a reference to whether it was okay to install over the top of the existing installation, and you helped me with that...along with everyting else...grins. Thank you for your help...friendly, concise, and intuitive.

Something I noticed when testing it earlier, was that even though I'm using default settings, the file size of the resulting mp4 has doubled on this new version. Is that what is supposed to happen? Is this a change with the default get_iplayer bitrate, or have the BBC increased it's streaming bandwidth, and if so, does this result in double the quality? As I said before, I don't have a bandwidth restriction, but file storage is a premium. If I convert the new mp4 to a 160 kbps bitrate, am I getting double the quality because the source mp4 is better quality?...and if so, can I afford to reduce the conversion bitrate to 128 or even 96? Sorry for the extra questions...smiles


I mentioned when I asked about bandwidth that the default download is now in HD and this can 'significantly increase download time/size.

(24-03-2017, 11:48 PM)1. Do you have bandwidth restrictions on your internet connection? The default settings for get_iplayer v2.99 download the HD version of programmes if they are available. This can significantly increase download time/size. If you want/need a smaller download we can setup a sane default for you to save permanently  that will automatically download smaller files and ignore HD stuff.

If you want smaller downloads you can select a different mode with which to download. The page linked below has all the details:

I would suggest using the 'better' preset and saving it using the --prefs-add command as this will deliver smaller file sizes for you.

Full instructions are given on the page as to how to do that.

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