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BBC iPlayer Desktop 3.0.8

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Paul Clark Paul Clark | 13:32 UK time, Monday, 25 October 2010

Version 3.0.8 of BBC iPlayer Desktop is now available for beta testing. This
release attempts to solve one issue related to user reports that programmes
are unexpectedly expiring during the 30 day availability window.

As it takes a minimum of 7 days before the problem appears it has been hard to
identify the root cause, and verify that we have fixed the issue as expected.
Ideally we would continue to test the application for a full 30 days before
release but we hope that some users will be happy to test this as a beta and
provide feedback.

Not all users will have been affected by this specific problem. We think that
some machines running the latest versions of Adobe AIR (2.x) experienced the
issue. This is because of undocumentated changes to the Flash player.

A manual install will be needed, please download the new release from:


As long as you have the Adobe AIR runtime, installation is as simple as quitting
iPlayer Desktop completely then opening the downloaded file and following the
on screen instructions.

If you experience iPlayer Desktop issues that persist, please send your log
files to iplayer DOT beta DOT diagnostic AT bbc.co.uk (search your computer
for a file called iPlayer.log).

Many thanks,

(you can also follow us on Twitter: @BBC_ipdesk)

Paul Clark is Executive Product Owner Media Playout, BBC FM&T


  • Comment number 1.

    And how many times have you released an update to fix this problem?

    They seem to come along every month.

  • Comment number 2.

    And how many times have you released an update to fix this problem?

    As we have only recently changed from iPD v2 to v3 the revision number 8 may be a clue.

  • Comment number 3.

    Paul I note BBC is again blaming the problems on bugs in Adobe Air. You have said
    We think that
    some machines running the latest versions of Adobe AIR (2.x) experienced the
    issue. This is because of undocumentated changes to the Flash player.

    Is this issue now documented on Adobe's site as a problem, you will I am sure have sent off a bug report to Adobe. I would have thought there would be a good chance of the issue then being discussed on the Adobe site, can you provide a reference / link to this.

  • Comment number 4.

    Thank you for fixing the sound-interrupts-when-you-resize when listing to radio bug. That was doing my head in.

    So, when can be be trusted with a "full screen" button in the Live TV in the iPlayer desktop?

  • Comment number 5.

    As we have only recently changed from iPD v2 to v3 the revision number 8 may be a clue.

    That is not relevant to what I said. I asked "how many times have you released an update to fix this problem?" Not "how many times have you released an update?"

    If all eight revisions were supposed to fix this problem, then you are in deep doo doo.

    Reports of this behaviour first appeared some months back, perhaps around v. 4, I forget.

    It hit me and |I had to jump through all sorts of hoops to get back in action. That you have put out earlier "fixes" for this problem leaves me less than confident that this one will work.

  • Comment number 6.

    Re #5 Reports of this behaviour first appeared some months back
    Yes even the Beeb had acknowledged it and was attempting to fix the problem in July. Users had mentioned the problem of Desktop downloads early expiry before then, although of course we do not know when the BBC first received reports. The BBC is not very good at keeping users informed about problems.

  • Comment number 7.

    If anyone would like to read the bug report they can here:


    As well as FP9 we're also seeing similar behaviour in FP10


  • Comment number 8.

    I wonder if Adobe ever envisioned the timer would be used in such a way ie for periods exceeding a small number of hours, or for such purposes.
    It appears the bug is not new and has been around for a few years with that bug report starting in 2008.

  • Comment number 9.

    This bug seems like a classic example of DRM only inconveniencing legitimate users.

  • Comment number 10.

    V3.07 was a DRM tightening release, with the added draconian feature of downloaded programme genocide. As the BBC iPlayer Development Team has yet to truly get to grips with the premature expiry problem, adding a feature that deletes any and all programme folders that iPlayer's Content Manager considers suspicious was dangerously irresponsible. I even had one disappear when I hit 'Play Again,' simply because I had lost my Internet connection and iPlayer Desktop (iPD) could not validate the licence again--with 3 days left. Indeed, almost any error (in BBC coding?) could result in deletion. Just see the boards to see how many people lost programmes, while trusting this needlessly mandatory update!
    Ironically, v3.07 was officially announced on the message boards as “an update for any iPlayer users who have been experiencing downloading issues”: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbiplayer/F7331803?thread=7791779
    V3.08 likely does not fix the premature expiry problem. It only seems to turn off the genocide 'feature' added in v3.07.
    However, v3.08 does add something useful, a bit more information in the iPlayer.log file. The approach to validating licences needs a fundamental re-design. Indeed, there is a well-documented limitation to the Flash Timer class, which various BBC posters have declared an undocumented bug. It is not. The Flash Timer class uses INT data types, meaning there is a limit of 2^^31-1 milliseconds (or approximately 24.8 days). You cannot use the standard Timer class for durations of 30 days!! Simple. The Flash Timer class was created to launch events while playing content, not after. It should not be used to monitor expiration dates.
    I am effectively cross-posting this on the iPlayer message boards, with additional details, but as I know the BBC folk do not seem to really pay attention, let alone respond, to the user pain flooding over those boards, I thought I would take the step of posting here.
    PLEASE stop basing the shelf life expiration on the Flash Timer class!
    If the developers or testers had merely looked at their own iPlayer.log files many months ago, they would notice a discrepancy in the milliseconds being set; revealed in v3.08 log files to us users for the first time. The 7-day shelf life expiries match. The 30-day expiries do not. Indeed, I am fully expecting my recent downloads to expire early in about 12 days, not 30 days. The logs warn me already!
    On the message boards, I am posting some design alternatives in the Service Updates section (the BBC seem to have abandoned this to us).
    BTW, I had this problem with v3.05 and AIR 1.5.3, so your AIR 2.x hypothesis does not hold.
    BBTW, it would be very useful if iPlayer Desktop displayed both the (intended, if not actual) date and TIME for all expirations.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    Apologies to all for the spacing problem in comment #10 (2:52 pm). I had hoped the moderators would realise and remove #10 instead of #11 (2:55 pm).

  • Comment number 13.

    I am running v3.0.8 on a Mac and it is no better than v3.0.7 in that you still cannot download programmes without being asked to re-install the iplayer desktop program.

    It should be able to install both Adobe AIR and the iplayer desktop together but it can't on a Mac; the download/installation just hangs as it tries to install Adobe AIR. Uninstalling and re-installing either or both doesn't get over the problem.

    I did get the iplayer desktop working on a PC but only after up-dating Adobe AIR to v2.5. It seems that the problem is in the interaction of Adobe AIR and the iplayer.

    Alas, I only wanted to use the iplayer for pleasure, which it isn't anymore. I guess its best just to leave the non-functional player and return in a few months when the BBC have finally released some functional software.


  • Comment number 14.

    (Cross-posted from the message board)

    I use the iPlayer Desktop on Mandriva Linux 2010.1, on OpenSUSE Linux 11.3, and on Windows XP SP3. Both Linux distributions are running the KDE 4.5.2 desktop.

    On Windows, all seems to be well. On Linux there seems to be a couple of problems. Here's how I can reproduce the first one every time:

    Start the Desktop player, and manually resize the windows to the smallest size it will permit. Now start playing a programme previously downloaded. Click to go to full-screen mode. Now either hit 'Escape' or click to exit full-screen mode.

    The player does not return to the original size, but instead fills the entire screen (note this is not the same as full-screen mode as the control bar is visible at the bottom, and the re-size buttons are shown at the top; technically it's 'maximised'). If you click the 'Restore' button (the middle of the three buttons at the top right of the window), the window is resized to the same height as the original 'small' window, but full-screen width.

    The other problem I found is that when in true full-screen mode, if you move the mouse cursor while playing a programme, the cursor appears and the control bar appears at the bottom as they should. After a few seconds of mouse inactivity, the cursor disappears as it should, but the control bar remains.

    I'm reluctant to report these as bugs rather than ideosyncrasies of my setup without confirmation that others can replicate the symptoms, so could one of the Linux users out there confirm or deny for me?

  • Comment number 15.

    @ Paul Clark
    It would have been nice to have some updates Paul, and a reply to some of the comments such as Karin's #10 above comment above. I guess the forced update v3.0.10 indicates you think the problem solved, although some messages seem to suggest things are far from resolved even with yet another release.

    V3.0.10 announced BBC iPlayer Desktop - Latest version available
    17 November 2010 10:44 - http://iplayerhelp.external.bbc.co.uk/help/announcements/desktop_releasenotes/
    The last part above is a link, but I am not sure the blogs accept links properly at present.


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