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How to Request Help for get_iplayer


If you've been referred here from somewhere in the forums it's because your  request didn't include enough info to let us help you.

If you're here because you read the forum rules then have a big virtual sticker and an extra slice of your favourite sweet for pudding, you deserve it!

There is also the get_iplayer mailing list if you prefer to get help that way:

First things first

If you haven't already, read the forum rules. Seriously, please read them. Pay particular attention when we say do not ask for help if you are outside the UK.

About VPNs...

If you cannot download a programme from outside the UK, it is almost invariably because: a) you have been blocked by the BBC; or b) whatever method you chose to evade BBC blocking performs poorly or is incompatible with get_iplayer. These things have nothing to do with get_iplayer, and we couldn't help you even if we wanted to. Threads mentioning VPN use (even within the UK) will be deleted as per forum rules.

Look before you leap

There are some things we expect you to do before you post a help request:
  • ALWAYS check the iPlayer site and make sure the programme you are trying to download is actually available. There may be delays by the BBC in posting programmes, or there may be problems with the BBC servers, or a particular media stream may be broken or unavailable. If you can't play a programme on the iPlayer site, it won't be available to get_iplayer, either.
  • Search the forums to see if your query has already been asked and answered. The search box is at the top right of every forum page - use it. Feel free to post new information to existing threads, but avoid "me too" posts that do not contain any new or useful information.

Know your terrain

We expect you to read the documentation before you post a help request. Specifically, we expect you to have read the guides, the wiki, the FAQ AND the release notes.

If the solution to your problem is already in the documentation, we will simply refer you there. If you don't understand some aspect of the documentation, post a specific query and reference the part you don't understand.

Have patience and lower your expectations

Downloading programmes from iPlayer is not an exact science. Downloads often fail, for a variety of reasons: server problems, upstream connectivity issues, incorrect BBC metadata, media streams not available, etc. There is nothing get_iplayer can do in the face of such problems. 

Retry before you cry!

If a download fails on the first attempt, don't rush to post in the forums. You should try any download at least 10 times on each of 3 different days over the course of a full week before you even consider posting a help request. Seems like a lot but downloading is not an exact science. Problems can and often do occur at the BBC end. Remember to delete any partially-downloaded file before making a fresh attempt though.

Oh no, it's slow!

Yep, that can happen. Not get_iplayer's fault I'm afraid. get_iplayer is neither the cause of slow downloads nor a magic bullet to speed them up. Lots of people don't believe us on this point but it's true!

If you have a slow connection and you are not satisfied with using a lower recording quality with get_iplayer, you could ultimately seek out a different iPlayer download application.

What information should you provide?

There are many ways to write a good help request but some of the basics you MUST adhere to when posting in the forums are listed below.

The essential stuff

If you don't include this stuff then you'll just be asked to do so.
  1. Outline the problem in no more than a couple of sentences by stating what you are expecting to happen and what is happening instead.
  2. State the version of get_iplayer you're using. Use get_iplayer -V to find your version of get_iplayer.
  3. Carefully examine the output from get_iplayer --show-prefs and make sure you haven't messed up your preferences.
  4. Do not request help unless you are using the current release version of get_iplayer (see latest release). Previous versions are not supported.
  5. State the operating system and version you are using.
  6. State the FULL AND EXACT command you used when you faced the problem. Don't shorten it, don't construct an illustrative example, give us the EXACT one that caused an issue. Copy and paste it for accuracy (this will help identify typos in your command)
  7. Identify the programme you are attempting to download with its PID, iPlayer URL, or full name and episode title, and series and episode numbers if available. Do not just post a command such as get_iplayer --get 123 with no further info. We will not know what programme corresponds to index number 123 on your machine.
  8. Do not paraphrase or truncate any error or warning messages you receive. We can't help you if we can't see what's happening!
  9. Attach a copy of the output get_iplayer returns in the form of a verbose log text file. If you do not provide a verbose log, it is unlikely that your problem can be diagnosed and thus you are much less likely get a resolution for your issue. Generate verbose output and capture it in a plain text (.txt) file by appending --verbose > /path/to/log.txt 2>&1 to the end of your get_iplayer command line, where /path/to/log.txt is the full path to the log file.


    get_iplayer --get <index> --verbose > "C:\Users\%USERNAME%\log.txt" 2>&1
    get_iplayer --pid <pid> --verbose > "C:\Users\%USERNAME%\log.txt" 2>&1

    get_iplayer --get <index> --verbose > "$HOME/log.txt" 2>&1
    get_iplayer --pid <pid> --verbose > "$HOME/log.txt" 2>&1

    Attach the file to your post and submit it to us to view.

Other useful bits to know

These other items may help improve your problem report. Consider including them if appropriate.
  1. If you are using the Web PVR Manager, state the name and complete version of your web browser
  2. The Web PVR Manager is a poor diagnostic tool, so you should test your commands with the get_iplayer CLI. Anything you can do with the Web PVR Manager, you can do with the CLI, and much more. The Web PVR Manager is mostly a wrapper for the CLI.
  3. If your are using the get_iplayer CLI on Windows, you must use the supplied batch files, i.e., simply run get_iplayer ... at a command prompt or click the get_iplayer Start Menu item. Any other method of invocation is unsupported for Windows.
  4. If you are having difficulty downloading a programme, post the command that downloads that ONE PROGRAMME ONLY. Unless instructed otherwise, only a single programme is required for verification and testing. It doesn't matter if you experience the same problem with multiple programmes - we want to see only one.
  5. If you are having trouble with a pvr search, use --pvr-single to show only one pvr search that demonstrates the problem.
  6. Don't edit your log file. Let us be the judge of what is important. The three exceptions to this rule: a) you may wish to replace your username in file paths or any other private information such proxy addresses; b) you can truncate sequences of  repeated warning messages from ffmpeg; c) you can truncate repeated download progress messages (from atomicparsley, ffmpeg, or get_iplayer itself).
  7. If your verbose log is too large to be posted as forum attachment (>1MB), you can upload it to a pastebin site and include the link in your post.
  8. State whether or not your get_iplayer output directory is located on any kind of external drive (NAS, USB, etc.). Recording directly to an external drive may sometimes cause problems.

These lists are not exhaustive and you may be asked for more information if a problem is particularly troublesome.

These forums are archived

See this post for further info