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Blocking iPlayer Live Streams

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in TV MoneySaving
59 replies 9K views
CornucopiaCornucopia Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in TV MoneySaving
The BBC has recently started to add live iPlayer streams to some devices that previously only had Catch-up (and were therefore available to use without a TV Licence). My view is that this doesn't necessarily make the devices licenceable, but it creates more of a grey area than some people may be comfortable with.

My Youview box is one such device, so I decided to try to find a technical solution to it.

I've blocked the following URLs, and this seems to do the trick of blocking the live streams, whilst allowing the catch-up content through:-
  • open.live.bbc.co.uk/
  • ichef.bbci.co.uk/
  • vs-hds-uk-live.bbcfmt.vo.llnwd.net
  • emp.bbci.co.uk/
  • a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/
I used Talktalk HomeSafe to block the URLs, but you could also add them to the block list on your Router.
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  • VisionManVisionMan Forumite
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    Subject to Trust approval - The BBC is going to make viewing any content on the BBC iPlayer licenseable.
  • CornucopiaCornucopia Forumite
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    VisionMan wrote: »
    Subject to Trust approval - The BBC is going to make viewing any content on the BBC iPlayer licenseable.

    Really? They might want to do that, but "going to make" is a bit strong.

    I think to be completely effective, it would require a change in the Law, and that's unlikely to happen at the moment.
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  • edited 10 June 2015 at 12:00AM
    VisionManVisionMan Forumite
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    edited 10 June 2015 at 12:00AM
    No, it isn't Cornucopia. The Digital Terrestrial Television platform as it stands now is a dead man walking. And the broadcasters know it. Satellite, fibre and cable are the future of DTT, but even the satellite model is in question.

    The BBC are future-proofing such a change, as its the internet in which the future will be key.
  • brewerdavebrewerdave Forumite
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    VisionMan wrote: »
    No, it isn't Cornucopia. The Digital Terrestrial Television platform as it stands now is a dead man walking. And the broadcasters know it. Satellite, fibre and cable are the future of DTT, but even the satellite model is in question.

    The BBC are future-proofing such a change, as its the internet in which the future will be key.

    ..don't disagree -but in the near future, DTT is still a requirement for a large segment of the population....and the future funding of the BBC needs to be sorted sooner rather than later - I suspect that the Government are "minded" to follow the German model and impose a household tax -if that happened it would "catch" the internet viewers anyway.:(
  • edited 10 June 2015 at 10:05AM
    CornucopiaCornucopia Forumite
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    edited 10 June 2015 at 10:05AM
    VisionMan wrote: »
    No, it isn't Cornucopia.
    The whole discussion is VERY speculative. The BBC does not make the Law, nor does it even have total control over aspects of its own strategy. That's especially true in the present pre-Charter renewal period of scrutiny.

    My thinking is this: sure the BBC could require a Licence number to be entered into iPlayer during some kind of registration process (in fact, I would like them to do that). However, they cannot force commercial broadcasters to do the same without a change in the Law. Because the Law as it stands says that Catch-up TV is perfectly legal to watch without a TV Licence.


    The present situation is already very messy as a consequence of BBC meddling, and I would not want that to get any worse.

    If they do what I think you are suggesting, you end up with the situation where it is illegal to watch "live" TV broadcasts from any source, and it is a contractual requirement to have a Licence to watch iPlayer, but it is free and legal to watch commercial Catch-up, Netflix, etc.

    Messy.

    The Digital Terrestrial Television platform as it stands now is a dead man walking. And the broadcasters know it. Satellite, fibre and cable are the future of DTT, but even the satellite model is in question.
    Why are they continuing to advertise Freeview? Aren't there 14m (?) people in the UK who have never even been on to the Internet?
    The BBC are future-proofing such a change, as its the internet in which the future will be key.
    The live streams could be switched on or off virtually overnight. Claiming future-proofing now for something that *might* be required in 20 years time is daft.

    The truth is that Live streaming is not required on a Youview box, which already has Freeview built in, and I object to the BBC remotely tinkering with the functionality of my machine to potentially change its licenceable status.


    Whilst the Law is as it stands, the BBC needs to watch itself when it messes around with things that have potential legal consequences (see what I did, there?)
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  • edited 10 June 2015 at 10:24AM
    CornucopiaCornucopia Forumite
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    edited 10 June 2015 at 10:24AM
    brewerdave wrote: »
    I suspect that the Government are "minded" to follow the German model and impose a household tax -if that happened it would "catch" the internet viewers anyway.:(

    I'm not sure about that - there's certainly no logic, and no comments to the effect that the "German" model is better than the "French" model. IIUC Ireland has backed away from the German model, now, too.

    The German model has also been quite controversial in its own right, and is being challenged by several businesses.

    TBH, from where we are now, and depending on how draconian the enforcement was, I could see a lot of people just not paying the "BBC Tax" or whatever it would be called. And if they exempted lots of low income groups (as they should) it would just make it more expensive for everyone else (and therefore less popular).

    The whole thing is a political and practical minefield, and I wish John Whittingdale the very best of luck in charting a safe passage through it all.
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  • silverwhistlesilverwhistle Forumite
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    brewerdave wrote: »
    but in the near future, DTT is still a requirement for a large segment of the population....and the future funding of the BBC needs to be sorted sooner rather than later - I suspect that the Government are "minded" to follow the German model and impose a household tax -if that happened it would "catch" the internet viewers anyway.:(

    Quite! We already have a digital divide whether it's based on location or where people on very low incomes who can't afford to be connected, hence why many libraries are full of job-seekers on the limited number of computers. Talking of universal fibre and cable is far too glib, and I can't see the current government doing anything about this.

    A universal licence would also impact on me as I've never had a colour TV, and last had a B&W in 1988. I think I've watched 2 catch up programmes in 2 years, and would not be impressed by essentially a poll tax. The point is though that I can easily (if resentfully) afford it, but once again this would be a regressive tax, and as Cornucopia has mentioned, there would need to be exemptions for those on a low income.
  • CornucopiaCornucopia Forumite
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    I have to say I'm slightly surprised that a factual thread that runs tangentially to a recent MSE article has proven somewhat controversial.

    Anyway, I've had a further play, and can confirm that for Youview, and for Windows 7 PC running IE, Firefox or Chrome, the only address that needs blocking is:

    a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/

    For Youview, you can also block preview images (including the Live Stream previews) using this address:

    ichef.bbci.co.uk/
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  • almillaralmillar Forumite
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    The Digital Terrestrial Television platform as it stands now is a dead man walking
    Freeview? Youview? The way that most people in the UK watch or record their TV, is a dead man walking?
    Getting very ahead of yourself there...
  • VisionManVisionMan Forumite
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    almillar wrote: »
    Freeview? Youview? The way that most people in the UK watch or record their TV, is a dead man walking?
    Getting very ahead of yourself there...

    Indeed. I was talking at least a decade to twenty years away.
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