Home > Maemo, Nokia, Nseries > How To: Getting your N900 to play smooth videos on BBC iPlayer despite the BBC update that stopped the old solution.

How To: Getting your N900 to play smooth videos on BBC iPlayer despite the BBC update that stopped the old solution.

Remember the post back in February that showed you how to get BBC iPlayer to work smoothly on your N900? This post.

That was from a really helpful discovery by Dancairo on talk.Maemo.org.

However, a recent upgrade to BBC iPlayer meant that the BBC iPlayer site that was specially made for low bandwidth was no more. Currently, the only options are normal and high quality, both of which stutter in playback.

Dan is at it again and has found yet another solution. Cheers dude. Note, these are still much better than the iPlayer for Symbian. Still higher quality picture, audio is desktop standard (crisp and clear) and subtitles also work (please note, with subtitles, they may not match video but that’s iPlayer’s fault not N900. Even on the desktop site, some subtitles oddly don’t sync :S)

Instructions to get N900 to play BBC iPlayer videos smoothly again.

1. Funnily enough, this time you go to the DESKTOP version of iPlayer. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/ <<Bookmark this site/add it to your desktop (click the plus sign and add to desktop!)

As you can see here, the brilliance of MicroB in rendering the page exactly how desktop does it. Now just go ahead and pick a video.

2. Press “pop out player” button. That’s the one in the middle of full screen and volume.

Over here.

And you’re done. N900 will open a new window with the popped out player. This will stream your videos at a smooth frame rate. Just wait a few seconds to load/buffer.

Just press the full screen button to well, watch in full screen.

You’ll notice you’ve got some big thumb friendly buttons too.

Videos do indeed playback smoothly again in your N900’s MicroB browser with Adobe Flash.

I’ll try and post a video to show you but haven’t got the time right now. But trust me (and Dan), it does work, and you’ll want to follow these instructions to enjoy iPlayer again on your N900.

  1. April 6, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    I can’t get this to work on my N900, still stutters 😦

    • April 6, 2010 at 10:06 pm

      Hey Gerry,

      Are you on WiFi or 3G?

      Also it might be a really stupid question knowing you’re supertechguy, but are you playing via the pop out player or the standard BBC iPlayer? Pop out player will play smoothly over WiFi/Good 3G signal.Default player will stutter forever as it’s the full desktop resolution version.

      I just watched Jonathan Creek on N900 via BBC iPLAYER and it was scary smooth (hah, not the same after seeing Alan Davies on QI….man, I used to love JC)

  2. April 6, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    I’ve did exactly as you have, but its still jumpy over wifi or very good 3G

    • April 6, 2010 at 11:15 pm


      Not sure I can work out what’s causing yours to be Jumpy. Maybe it’s a Scottish thing. JOKE JOKE :p.

      Just tried again in case there was a change and it played pretty well. It is jittery for the first few seconds of buffering then it’s fine.

      Can’t fathom what’s causing the jumpiness. Now that’s bugging me. How is your N900 over YouTube/other flash video sites?

  3. April 8, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Thanks for the tip.

    My pal at work has just shown me his new HTC Android phone playing Doctor Who using the special app they have and although the frame rate is quick and smooth the resolution is rubbish.

    On my N900 the in-browser refresh rate was unwatchable at about 1 or 2 frames a second, but using the pop out (as per your description) playing was lovely and smooth with a decent resolution.

    I’m on a G3.5 Vodafone network in case that makes any difference.

  4. Ian Field
    April 10, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Nice one, works fine for me. It gives you nice touch-friendly controls, too.
    Any ideas how to get rid of the progress indicator that stays on the screen? It’s like, “03.12 / 60.00” in big text in the bottom middle of screen.


    • April 12, 2010 at 4:56 pm


      I’m not sure how to get rid of that…it’s a bit annoying sometimes…

  5. dubzie
    April 11, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Nott wrjing for me as it ask me to”Enable Java Script” although it already is??? Help!!

    • April 13, 2010 at 9:07 pm

      I think that might be a BBC iPlayer problem as I sometimes get that error on notebook.

      BBC iPlayer gets fussy sometimes.

  6. paul
    April 12, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    it works for me as well, thank goodness. really thought it it was my n900 being a tart.

    • April 12, 2010 at 4:56 pm

      Thanks for letting us know it also works for you and it’s not just a glitch. 🙂

    • paul
      April 12, 2010 at 7:26 pm

      i thought i add too, why not try this, do what it says above, but before playing your chosen programme in the pop up, is to choose lower bandwith is at the bottom, if you’re just using normal phone connection. tried to wstch russell howard as above but halfway through it stopped and took along while to refresh. so i reconnected to the iplayer and did the same as above but click lower bandwith. don’t take my account but it worked for me.

  7. April 28, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    Cheers Dan.good work

  8. May 28, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    It work fine for me, thanks 🙂
    I’m having a look a BBC Player Beta and is not working (Very slow video but good audio) probably because the beta player use an higher resolution and looks like that the pop windows button is not present. Hopefully they will not make the beta version standard.

  9. Nigel B
    May 29, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Every time I try to connect to BBC Iplayer on N900 it switches to beta.bbc.co.uk etc etc. Does anyone know how I can stop it doing this please?

    Thanks very much.

    • May 29, 2010 at 10:24 pm

      i will check later, but if i remeber properly, at the end of the page of the beta player there is a link to return to classic mode. i think that if you click it once, than every time you connect you should go to the classic page and not redirected to the beta.
      Let me know, Giorgio

  10. Chris
    June 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    BBC now have a beta version of iPlayer out http://www.beta.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/ and my N900 defaults to that location regardless of your link above or if I remove the .beta in front of the address.
    So.. not working..
    But I can get the original iplayer version on my laptop.

  11. June 23, 2010 at 10:53 am

    For everyone asking for the original live iplayer, you can search on google “bbc 1 live” or go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcone/watchlive/

    FYI though i cant get a smooth stream on a live feed.

  12. jarvis
    July 25, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    i am gettin perfect audio but no video. it loads the channel screen no problem (the wee 3 second screen that appears before the show) but stays on that while the audio continues. any ideas?

  1. April 2, 2010 at 9:39 pm
  2. April 4, 2010 at 7:43 pm

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