Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

Firefox 3, RealPlayer, Ubuntu and BBC’s iPlayer

17th June 2008

With the record attempt due today for Firefox 3 downloads, I thought that it would be a good time for me to update my advice for getting BBC’s iPlayer going in Firefox running on Ubuntu. First, you need RealPlayer 11 for Linux. Once downloaded, the file RealPlayer11GOLD.bin needs to be made executable before running it with administrative privileges. The following command do this:

chmod +x RealPlayer11GOLD.bin

sudo ./RealPlayer11GOLD.bin

There is a catch though and it is that while the RealPlayer 11 installation is seamless for Firefox 2, the same cannot be said for Firefox 3 because directory locations have been changed such plugins are now found in /usr/lib/firefox-addons/plugins. The result that copies of or symbolic links to nphelix.xpt and are needed in that location. The following commands do the trick:

sudo ln -s /opt/real/RealPlayer/mozilla/nphelix.xpt /usr/lib/firefox-addons/plugins/nphelix.xpt

sudo ln -s /opt/real/RealPlayer/mozilla/ /usr/lib/firefox-addons/plugins/

To cap all of this, I have seen advice that needs to be removed from the Firefox plugins directory as well. I am not sure about this but I did that and all is working well for me. Let’s hope that continues to be the case.


  • p0tamus says:

    thanks for putting up this post. but i still can’t seem to use the bbc iplayer. i installed real player 11 and created the symbolic links like you said. When i start the iplayer, and click on the play button it doesnt stream,and stays at “playing 0kbps”.

    i tried clicking on the stand-alone option, totem movie player opens and says stream is in wrong format.

  • John Hennessy says:

    Your last comment would indicate that RealPlayer didn’t install properly for whatever reason so that may be at the heart of your problem. Try the installation again and see what happens. Uninstalling Totem is another option that might help. Good luck!

  • spikeeasy says:

    I can’t thank you enough. Those 2 symbolic links worked perfectly just by themselves. Now I can listen to Lamacq!

  • GT says:

    Thanks! It worked :D… Yes remove all Totem stuff after installation of realplayer…

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