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Are there any programs for Ubuntu that can pull TV streams from the Internet? I have in mind programs that work like the apps that come installed on blu-ray players — BBC iPlayer, Hulu and/or YouTube.

I know XMBC can but it's too fiddly and resource-hungry, I just want "net TV" apps and not a full media center. Boxee was great for this; it was a media center but it had an interface for the apps and didn't just stick them in some strange menu as XBMC does.

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4 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I don't know if this will fit your exact needs, but I use Miro to stay up to date with all my podcasts and rss feeds that I like to watch. We all know Netflix doesn't work on Linux so it doesn't support that, but Amazon Prime is similar to Netflix and doesn't have ads like Hulu which is the only reason I don't like Hulu. If you pay for something you shouldn't have ads, but back on topic.

Miro is probably the best application for searching new shows and staying up to date. It does have a bunch of channels like youtube, hulu, pbs, and you can add more if you like.

Hope this helps.

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This looks good could be what I need thaks –  mark kirby Sep 18 '12 at 18:25
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As miro has been suggested as a good general application (and minitube could alternatively be used for youtube videos), a particularly useful program for UK users like Mark is in the Ubuntu repositories and is called get-iplayer.

Note: anyone in the world can listen to all the radio output from the bbc via the bbc site, but currently tv is limited to UK users, but as Mark is in the UK I thought this answer might be useful. With get-iplayer you can stream content to vlc or record it to disk. More information is available here at the linuxcentre. (If someone can confirm whether the radio (not tv) using get-iplayer works outside the UK I would be interested.)

sudo apt-get install get-iplayer

Then run the command get_iplayer in terminal to get the tv lists and get_iplayer --help for a list of options. If you want to get the radio lists instead enter get_iplayer --type radio.

When you update the tv lists with get_iplayer (without any options), you will be presented with a large amount of numbered items, but you can search it, for example, like this:

get_iplayer search gardening

An example of a way to stream tv to vlc (you choose the stream number from the list generated by get-iplayer):

get_iplayer --stream 895 --modes=flashvhigh --player="vlc - " 

A way to record a program (you have to choose the number of the program after you run get_iplayer to generate the list):

get_iplayer 288 --modes=flashvhigh --get

It is supposed to be possible to view live bbc tv channels through get_iplayer, but I have always had errors and returned to using the website. Get_iplayer is a very useful program nevertheless.

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Directly from this link are 2 good options:


Tv Maxe

To install it, open Terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and paste this code:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:venerix/blug
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tv-maxe

SopCast Player

To install it, open Terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and paste this code:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ferramroberto/sopcast
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install sopcast-player

Note: Both TV maxe and SopCast Player use P2P (peer-to-peer networking) to stream their content. Though these services are not illegal per se, watching paid TV channels or any licensed ones might get you in trouble depending on your country's jurisdiction. Please keep this mind before trying any of these options out.

See here and here for more information on this topic.


I was actually trying myself to find a nice application I was using on Ubuntu 12.10 just a few weeks ago. I can't remember its name at the moment: I only remember a red icon and the possibility to filter TV Channels by country. I believe it is not present on Ubuntu 12.04 Software Centre, but I might be wrong. Any suggestions welcome...I really liked that one!

EDIT -> Guess I found it! It's called FreetuxTV and here's how to install it:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:freetuxtv/freetuxtv
sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install freetuxtv
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Thank you for your answer. I updated its formatting and added a paragraph on the legality of using these services. –  Glutanimate Apr 4 '13 at 16:13
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Lets not forget XBMC, in addition to it's common use as a local file player, it has many streaming feeds built in.

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