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BBC clamps down on illicit iPlayer watchers

RSS feeds binned in favour of in-house API

A gang of British licence fee payers have grabbed their virtual pitchforks and marched on the Beeb in protest against its decision to ban iPlayer RSS feeds.

The changes are designed to stop naughty viewers from using third-party clients to watch the Beeb.

Several Register readers have contacted us and complained about the decision to no longer allow viewers to watch programmes on iPlayer through RSS feeds.

The Beeb has now introduced an API called Nitro, which is a "quick and easy way for us to access programme details for our entire catalogue".

Jon Billings, head of platform API at the BBC, wrote: "We're sorry that the demise of the RSS feeds has caused you any inconvenience. To be clear, the demise of those feeds and the opening of Nitro are not directly linked — they're driven by different factors."

"The iPlayer RSS feeds were a legacy of older versions of the iPlayer website which we’ve finally had to shut down with the end of a larger hosting contract for those legacy sites," he added.

Nitro is not a like-for-like replacement for the iPlayer RSS feeds, but a brand new system.

Its key feature is the ability to set a "rate limit so that we can manage usage and capacity".

Auntie's new API is also designed to clamp down on clients such as XBMC or get_iplayer, which allow programmes to be watched or recorded.

"The iPlayer RSS feeds were never designed or intended to support them," Billings added. "Nitro will almost certainly not support their ways of working. We realise this comes as unwelcome news to users of these clients. The iPlayer team continues to work hard to maximise access to the iPlayer across a wide range of platforms and devices." ®

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