HD to iPad

dinkypumpkin dinkypumpkin at gmail.com
Thu Jul 19 07:57:02 EDT 2012

On 18/07/2012 20:28, Ann wrote:
> Does anyone know how to get HD content from get_iplayer into a format
> which an iPad3 will accept?  Currently HD downloads are accepted by
> iTunes (and playable with VLC etc) but then rejected on sync to the
> device, as being unplayable.
> I saw that one person (https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2010636) had
> been exploring this in 2009 but I can't find a solution posted anywhere.
>   My temporary workaround is to reencode the file with Handbrake, but
> this is wasteful and slow (and discards the nice MP4 tags which
> get_iplayer adds).

I encountered the problems described in the post you referenced, and I 
never found any solution other than re-encoding.  iTunes wouldn't sync 
with ATV because of the compression method and/or audio bitrate of the 
the BBC HD programmes.  It would seem iTunes is similarly choosy about 
syncing to the iPad.

Not much comfort there I'm afraid, but I can offer a few suggestions 
about retaining metadata tags:

If you you're a Mac user and willing to spend £3-7, have a look at 
VidConvert (also in App Store) or iFFmpeg.  They are both GUI front-ends 
for the ffmpeg command-line utility.  When configured with an up-to-date 
version of ffmpeg (currently 0.11.1), they will re-encode your files and 
preserve all metadata except embedded artwork.  It's actually ffmpeg 
that does the work, but the GUI provides a friendlier interface, handy 
presets, etc.  There are similar tools for Windows (e.g., WinFF).  The 
main thing is to make sure you have the latest ffmpeg underneath.

The current version of Handbrake (0.9.8) preserves a few basic tags and 
the embedded artwork, so you have something of a choice.  If you elect 
to use one of the ffmpeg front-ends mentioned above, you can recover the 
artwork by appending "--thumb --thumbsize=6" to your get_iplayer command 
line.  That will download the largest available version of the thumbnail 
image to a separate file.  You can embed it into your re-encoded file by 
dragging into iTunes (Right Click -> Get Info -> Artwork).

If you stick with Handbrake, you can use get_iplayer to recover the 
metadata tags (incl. artwork):

1. Download your programme:

get_iplayer --get 123

2. Re-encode your file with Handbrake

3. Replace the file downloaded by get_iplayer with the re-encoded 
version.  It should be in the exact same folder with the exact same file 
name.  There are different ways to set up the re-encoded file for 
re-tagging, but the simplest is to just replace the original.

4. Add --tag-only to your original command:

get_iplayer --get 123 --tag-only

If the cache has been refreshed between commands, make sure to get the 
correct index number for your programme (it will have changed).  If you 
don't use index numbers to download, make sure your search identifies 
only the programme you want to re-tag.

The re-encoded file will be tagged with same metadata as the original. 
This should work as long as the programme is still available on the 
iPlayer site, so in most cases you'll need to process your downloads 
fairly quickly.

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