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Author Topic: How do you download TV programmes and films onto memory sticks legally?  (Read 7317 times)

Offline Duffield1

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I keep seeing devices advertised that allow you to play movies and stuff from the internet on your telly box without needing a DVD player. 

However, perhaps I am being naive, but the only places I know of where you can do this from are the BBC I-player, the ITV and Sky equivalents, etc. and they all require an internet connection to 'verify' that you are authorised to watch the stuff (which in turn means you can't transfer it from your PC to a memory stick).  Thanks to the Wii, I can watch BBC stuff through the Wii on the TV now, but I can't do the same for ITV or Channel 4.

Am I just being exceptionally ignorant about how to download items from ITV's website and then watch them on the telly, or are these devices just for people who watch stuff dodgily?

Wumpus

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You can watch ITV over the net using the player at ITV.com
Channel4 has a service called 4od (4 on demand) to let you watch streamed content.


I daresay that the devices you mention simply pretend to be a browser and save the streamed content.


Offline Duffield1

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I don't think that is it - on the ITV player, you do not download a file then watch it, you merely stream it (as I understand it - I might be wrong), compared to the Sky player, where you download the programme first, but then need Sky player to authenticate that you have a right to watch the content.

If you don't download the file before watching, how can you put it on a memory stick?

Offline siasl

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That's a slightly tricky minefield of a question. I'm assuming you mean a USB port on a telly that takes a memory stick, mounts the filesystem, and plays AVI/WMP/MPG/MOV/etc.. file types (and probably displays images and plays music and other whatnot).

A legal way that I can think of is a PVR computer. You can buy/build a computer with a digital freeview/freesat decoder in it, and there is software out there that will let you schedule recordings based on the available program information that is also broadcast on the digital airwaves along with the programs themselves. You could then copy to mem-stick and shove it into the telly. A better setup might be to have the PVR computer connect directly to the telly, but what the hell. This is entirely legal (if you have a TV license) as it's equivalent to home taping of a broadcast program.

iPlayer can/does give you the ability to download the programs for later use, but I'm not sure if the codecs have been released to telly manufacturers to allow them to decode it. I've heard of programs that can take the downloaded file and strip the DRM off it and convert to a more portable format, but have no experience of that to comment (and it is possibly illegal in countries that have a DMCA equivalent piece of legislation). There are now tellies that have an inbuilt connector to allow you to connect it to the internet (usually an RJ45 port, haven't seen a wifi connection yet) and they can access the iPlayer, but this is different to what you ask about.

Wumpus

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I don't think that is it - on the ITV player, you do not download a file then watch it, you merely stream it (as I understand it - I might be wrong), compared to the Sky player, where you download the programme first, but then need Sky player to authenticate that you have a right to watch the content.

If you don't download the file before watching, how can you put it on a memory stick?

YOU don't download the file, but the device does.  It generates a file by saving the data stream.