A Real Mess

I’ll admit, I’m a fan of Radio 4. Both the serious stuff and the comedies. However, I rarely get to listen to them at the time so I’m dependant on the iPlayer for catching up in the week.

Unfortunately, something has gone wrong and I’ve been left with nothing to listen to. Kind of.

It all started yesterday. I was off work and wanted to listen to a radio show on iPlayer. Except all I got was a garbled sound. At first, I thought it was iPlayer, which has been recently upgraded to give a higher quality audio quality. I posted on the iPlayer forums and got… well, no response. However, I noticed that I was having no problems with watching TV shows on iPlayer. The TV component of it appears to use Flash, whereas radio uses Real Player.

Star Trek Trailer
Star Trek Trailer

So I start up Real Player and try viewing one of their movie trailers. The picture, as well as the sound, is badly fractured and, well, unwatchable (you can see an example – a trailer from the new Star Trek film – to the right). So it appeared the problem is with Real Player and not iPlayer itself. Now, here comes the problem with the BBC using a commercial products such as Real Player – it’s a free product with no support other than forums. And no guarantees.

I’ve been through their FAQs and posted on their forums – I’ll give them their dues, there’s been a few responses from a member of Real. However, it still doesn’t work and I think I’ve exhausted all suggestions. It appears to be a lack of bandwidth, but it’s fine, and Quicktime, Flash and WMP can stream with no issues.

And to top it all off, the iPlayer changes means that they now fall foul of my work’s firewall, which didn’t happen before. So I can’t listen there either.

If anybody has any ideas, then I’m happen to hear them. It’s very frustrating and, I’ll admit, the only reason I have Real Player installed is for iPlayer – if that doesn’t work anymore, it will simply get uninstalled.


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