The BBC iPlayer is brilliant for catching up on anything you've missed on TV or Radio over the past month and it's very easy to navigate and use. However for me and I'm guessing quite a few other people too, if you've got a computer/laptop that's a couple of years old then when you're watching something on the iPlayer it lags, stutters and then goes on a mental buffering style loop whilst causing your computer to run at 100% CPU. It's highly annoying.
The iPlayer does however offer you some choice to watch the programmes in, so for this example I'll be using BBC One's programme "Tomorrow's Food" (if you haven't seen it yet, watch it! It's amazing!). Upon loading the episode you want you're shown the SD version of the episode, but there's two other options available below "Watch in HD" and "Lower Bandwidth" - the latter is basically watching it in potato quality, but is the ONLY way I can watch it on my laptop.
I could click the "Download" option, but the application you have to use to watch the downloaded files is also heavy on resources too.
So what can be done?
The answer, get_iplayer.
This is a free to use command line program that allows you to download TV and Radio programmes from the iPlayer to your computer and convert them nicely to an MP4 format, so that you can watch them using any media program (VLC, MPC, WinAmp, etc.)
To learn how to use get_iplayer is actually very, very, very simple! The program itself has loads of different options and things you can set, but if you're like me and just want to quickly download one of the programmes so I can enjoy watching it without it stuttering or having to go out and build a better computer, it's just ONE simple command that's needed.
Obviously at first, you would need to download and install get_iplayer, which you can download from here.
Once it's been installed, just fire up the program and wait for it to grab the TV listings, this'll only take about 10-15 seconds and you'll see a LOAD of listings just flash passed your eyes.
Once this has finished, you should now be able to type in the command line. Now we need to quickly flick back to the programme we were wanting to watch and look at the URL. The bit we need to remember is the letters and numbers between '/episode/' and the episodes title -- this set of characters is unique to each programme and recording on the iPlayer.
So that's b06r8w4q.
Now flicking back to get_iplayer, all you need to do is type in the following:
Then press [ENTER] on your keyboard and hey presto!
It'll download, then convert and be available on your Desktop in a folder titled 'iPlayer Recordings'.
Now you can enjoy watching the programme however you want and it'll play nice and smooth.