QuickTime (part 2)

Another braindump.

Somehow I ended up at PBS Nova Science Now page. It had lots of shiny TV goodness that I wanted to watch. Of course there also was a warning on the page saying This program is not available for downloading due to rights reasons.. Rights. Right.

First restriction was trivially bypassed. Netblock I am using is registered in Eugine, Oregon (which has a funny side effect that some web sites insist on hooking me up with “hot girls in Eugine”), which is actually correct, as I lease this /24 from it’s american owner.

So as far as PBS was concerned, I were tax paying merkin, and thus can be permitted to watch their programming (produced by taxpayer money). I can’t verify it right now, however I believe that they out right don’t permit folks connecting from outside US to view videos. *sigh* By the way, BBC does the same thing to some of their on-line content.

So QuickTime video was happily streaming off their web page. Due to pecularities of my network setup, that lead me to believe that they use HTTP protocol for content delivery. I viewed source, and grabbed http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/video/nsn-wrap-new.mov (Feedback please. Does it play in your browser when you click this link?) , which when played in QT quickly sent me to http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/video/rights_restrictions.gif. Right. So it plays from inside the browser, streaming, but not from HD. Joy, PBS.

Eventually I gave up and sniffed traffic ( tcpdump -i en1 -s 0 -w cookie ; strings cookie ). Noticed the following insteresting file: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/video/3204-new.xml (Sorry, not a hyperlink, as I want you to copy/paste it, thus this post not ending up in referer field – it might raise questions, as it’s not meant to be accessed by a browser).

It refers to a bunch of .mov files, that the program consists of, plus the “captions” for each part of the main movie.


wget --user-agent="QTS (qtver=7.0.1;cpu=PPC;os=Mac 10.4.1)" http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/video/3204-new.xml

wget --user-agent="QTS (qtver=7.0.1;cpu=PPC;os=Mac 10.4.1)" http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/video/3204-00-ref.mov 

This one is another container file. I had to save it and strings on it, to figure out the main file name. It is available in two qualities: 3204-00-300.mov and 3204-00-56.mov


wget --user-agent="QTS (qtver=7.0.1;cpu=PPC;os=Mac 10.4.1)" http://www.pbs.org/media/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/video/3204-00-300.mov


root@gilva:~/pbs[04:27 AM]# grep vidURL 3204-new.xml |sed 's/ref.mov/300.mov/g ; s/^.*http/wget --user-agent="QTS (qtver=6.5.2;cpu=PPC;os=Mac 10.4.1)" http/g ; s/< .*$//g ; s//video//g ; s/wgbh/media/wgbh/g' 
wget --user-agent="QTS (qtver=6.5.2;cpu=PPC;os=Mac 10.4.1)" http://www.pbs.org/media/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3204-00-300.mov
wget --user-agent="QTS (qtver=6.5.2;cpu=PPC;os=Mac 10.4.1)" http://www.pbs.org/media/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3204-01-300.mov
wget --user-agent="QTS (qtver=6.5.2;cpu=PPC;os=Mac 10.4.1)" http://www.pbs.org/media/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3204-02-300.mov
wget --user-agent="QTS (qtver=6.5.2;cpu=PPC;os=Mac 10.4.1)" http://www.pbs.org/media/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3204-03-300.mov
wget --user-agent="QTS (qtver=6.5.2;cpu=PPC;os=Mac 10.4.1)" http://www.pbs.org/media/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3204-04-300.mov
wget --user-agent="QTS (qtver=6.5.2;cpu=PPC;os=Mac 10.4.1)" http://www.pbs.org/media/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3204-05-300.mov
root@gilva:~/pbs[04:27 AM]# 

Now, these don't play in stand-alone QT and refer you back to the "Rights" image. However VLC will happily play them.


I am going to bed now.