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Author Topic: Chromecast and BBC iplayer  (Read 2502 times)

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Offline Relaxed

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Chromecast and BBC iplayer
« on: November 20, 2016, 10:51:55 PM »
I don't know if these Chromecast dongles (plug a 25 one into an HDMI port on a telly and it receives a 'cast' from your PC/Mac/Tablet/SmartPhone) have caught on round your way, but I'm drowning in tech support questions about why iplayer 'doesn't work' (in Italy).


The problem (as I see it) is that to 'watch again' something from the BBC on iplayer (assuming you are using a vpn to pretend you are in the UK) is that iplayer will not allow you to 'mirror'  your browser screen to the Chromecast dongle on the telly - it wants to control your dongle through your modem-router, which doesn't know about the vpn. It all works fine with live BBC broadcasts, and three hour old stuff, and ITV and C4, but something which was on the beeb 'yesterday' won't cast.


Has anybody discovered a workaround, or can imagine an experiment to make? (Preventing iplayer taking control of the dongle and making it cast the watch again stuff which is happily streaming on your small monitor through the browser seems like the obvious option to me - but I haven't managed to do this yet.)


I know the BBC is 'top dog' on encryption - but surely we can defeat this latest little wrinkle?!









thediggers

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Re: Chromecast and BBC iplayer
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2016, 12:10:54 AM »
Oddly enough I've just been looking at this product + several others, in particular Amazon fire tv. Not really interested in casting tv, so not paid too much attention to what they do for that. But checking and looking at this LifeHacker link it seems its the Chromecast dongle that does the streaming and not the casting device. Im surprised as I thought it was using your wifi internally and in effect should have not be blocked by anything you are playing i.e the beeb in this case? Reading the above Im not too sure how you managed to play anything from the beeb without having vpn on the chromecast (quick look indicates this can be done in a way) or on your router. The latter is one alternative if your router that can take the VPN you are using. Another would be to capture the iplayer on the device with a video grabber and then play it when you want. Im guessing from what you have said Beeb have that covered by some means of encryption? The vpn on chromecast may be the best solution or another casting dongle e.g. amazon fire tv (32) or an Android device, there are many almost the same price. For the former search for vpn  chromecast virtual router. Look up DD-WRT if you have a physical router to hand, you may be able to put your vpn on there.

Edit - I looked at this BBC link I had open (but thought would be of no use), I would guess you have read it, but it answers for me why some things play okay i.e. some are downloads not streams. So for the former it's okay as it's the browser playing it and that's being cast.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2016, 12:22:04 AM by thediggers »

Offline Relaxed

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Re: Chromecast and BBC iplayer
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2016, 01:02:35 AM »
Yes, that's a sensible response - although the 'facts' on the BBC iplayer site are quite wrong! They insist that you cannot 'cast' live BBC - (which is true if you are using the iplayer casting 'extension', because that doesn't cut in on live broadcasts) - but it casts perfectly from the browser. The iplayer site also insists that you cannot cast downloads (I haven't tried this yet, but I think it's probably another half truth).

It is my computer which knows about my vpn (which pretends I am in Maidenhead, rather than in Perugia) - my modem-router doesn't know this (though as you say, some sophisticated modems can 'know about' vpns). I have no problems (using a vpn) to view total BBC content, and to download stuff, and view it on my computer whenever I want: it's simply that the Chromecast won't accept BBC watch again stuff.

It isn't accurate to say that the Chromecast does (all of) the streaming. Yes, the Chromecast is networked to the local wi-fi, but (with the exception of the BBC i player) it can be controlled by another device (PC, Mac, Phone) on the same network - it will simply mirror whatever is on the screen of the local controlling device. This is the bit which iplayer manages to bypass! It's seriously clever (but peculiarly unnecessary) stuff on the part of the beeb. (It is possible - I haven't tested it yet - that an Android device with a BBC app, and a vpn, could do it, but I rather doubt it. The mobile networks here won't play ball with any vpns, so you'd be stuck with the modem-router reporting an Italian location on wi-fi, and get geoblocked).

I'd had a look at the specs of the Amazon Firestick some time ago, and warned somebody in Italy off it - on the basis that it (at least at that time) needed a router which could be configured with a vpn.

One does have to be very careful about reading (in UK English) the promises which are made for all sorts of devices/dongles - they are true if you are in the UK, but you didn't ask, and they didn't say, and why should they have.....

thediggers

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Re: Chromecast and BBC iplayer
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2016, 11:56:37 AM »
For anyone bored with this post Jump straight to the last para link, then look at the top review subject "Saving me from cheap gin" so funny!
Okay the Lifehacker linked article is old and Ive not looked further than that as for now streaming or downloading tv have no appeal to me. However what is been said in the link
Quote
What makes the Chromecast different from other TV-connecting devices for phones and laptop is that the show is streaming off the Chromecast, not your phone. That means that while youre playing something off iPlayer, you browse Twitter or play Candy Crush at the same time, without interfering with your TV.
i.e. that Cromecast is different to the rest in its streaming (note the lack of differentiating to downloading may be very relevant).
This is backed up by the BBC link in their para here
Quote
When you cast from BBC iPlayer, what you are actually doing is sending an instruction from iPlayer over your Wi-Fi network to the Chromecast dongle connected to your TV to fetch a particular programme directly from iPlayer.
You might want to look into this a little more in the cool light of day and if it is true then find another solution.
It matters little you are in a different country regards what you read if its basic information (granted albeit complex at first), so sticking vpn in between your isp none vpn router and chromecast will work anywhere, its just getting it to work that is a little harder. If I needed to do such I would likely take the easy (dearer) option and buy a router compatible with my choice of vpn. But there are other options flash the router if it can take DD_WRT. If its an ISP router you could probably pick up a very cheap old suitable router on ebay and put it between your isp router and chromcast. Or like I said look at a virtual router on your pc (if windows it needs to be 7 or above), linking the particular vpn might not be possible.
You might pick up some ideas here at Amazon UK where specific questions are asked about outside the UK. Think most will apply no matter what device you are using

Offline dolcevita

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Re: Chromecast and BBC iplayer
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2016, 02:55:29 PM »
On this subject does anyone know how to play  netflix movies without the audio being out of sync.

chromecast is fine for other things.
a third rate mind follows the crowd

thediggers

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Re: Chromecast and BBC iplayer
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2016, 04:10:59 PM »
Like Ive said I had/have no real interest in playing tv and/or movies, but simply wanted a device to mirror either the mobile or pc device on to a bigger screen. For us this is to see locally stored photos and/or access website to discuss options without being huddled around a 5 screen. However I have read a lot the last few days and do know a little more than I did prior to that. Dont think there is a one for all answer to your question DV as there are so many individual permutations. But from what I recall reading your internet access plays a big part and the way you connect can impact this greatly. One of the main suggestions I came across was to reduce the projection quality, okay the video would be lower quality, but it might be watchable. Perhaps more on the set-up you are using and someone else that uses it for video/movies can then give you some better help.

Offline La Vigna

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Re: Chromecast and BBC iplayer
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2016, 08:47:12 AM »
We play downloaded I player stuff from iPad to the TV hdmi port using a cable which we got off amazon.

Offline GeordieBorn

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Re: Chromecast and BBC iplayer
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2018, 12:20:25 PM »
On this subject does anyone know how to play  netflix movies without the audio being out of sync.

chromecast is fine for other things.

A bit late perhaps, but if you have a pc, then log in to Neflix using google chrome. Before playing, click settings (3 dots top right) , select "Cast...", where it says (cast to) click the arrow down to select "desk top". Obviously your chromecast needs to be switched on, but basically then anything you play on your pc e.g. Netflix will be on your chromecast/tv with sound of course :)