Grab BBC News Videos with a Bash Script

A colleague asked me the other day if I could download a video clip from the BBC News website so that she could use it in her training course (to save having to load up the website and play it “live” from there!)

I said anything is possible 😉  Took me on a little journey but finally found a way without having to resort to any browser plugins or switching to Windows to download a video grabber program. Decided to write a bash script to pull all the elements together too :) Continue reading

Digital Signage with Google Slides and Chromium in Kiosk Mode

Another solution to digital signage, this time using Google Slides and Chromium (or Chrome) in Kiosk mode.

I am using the base of a linux install (Crunchbang) and Chromium, but the basics transfer across to Chrome and other OS platforms with some tweaking.


  • Kiosk Syntax
  • Fullscreen
  • The Google Slides Toolbar or Transport
  • Web Page Presentation
  • Updating the Slides
  • Sharing the Slides
  • Locking Down if keyboard/touchscreen in use

Am grateful for the work done by Mark Pajak at Bristol Museums on setting up Chrome/Chromium in kiosk mode, and to Google Slides users on the google groups forums and good old StackOverflow for other snippets.

As an overview, one needs to publish the google slides presentation, then pull this into an iframe on a web page. Then call chromium in kiosk mode to load that web page. Once the slides are loaded they will not update with new content unless the call to the slides is reset (page reload) so some html/javascript is required to refresh things. This all may seem a little disjointed at first but be patient, i will put it all together at the end with a workflow and example 😉 Continue reading

Nearly Everything

So new PC, i5 core 4670K, 4gb ram, Nvidia GTX 650, Triple Boot of W8, W7 and Xubuntu 12.04.3

W8 everything works except for DVB Stick

Xubuntu everything works except for Eyetoy webcam and DVB stick sometimes

W7 everything works

Shame as Eyetoy and DVB used to work fine on last system with 12.04

I just flick betwen the three of them depending on what is needed, and a boot to W7 then a reboot to Xubuntu makes the DVB work

Come on everyone!!

ts to avi using projectx and mencoder + ffmpeg

I am feeling pretty pleased with myself tonight, having resolved another issue with my encoding of dvb-t streams to avi.

Having sorted out the crashing problem, I was now having a/v sync issues. This is easy enough to deal with by using the +/- keys to adjust a/v sync with mplayer, but annoying for other users.

I have solved the problem by demuxing the stream to its component video and audio parts, using Projectx, Mencoder and ffmpeg.

Projectx is a great java tool that allows you to crop and cut a dvb or mpeg stream and then output either to a ts/ps/m2p a/v stream or to demux the stream. By demuxing you end up with a video m2v file and an audio mp2 file.

It is easy enough to then encode the video using mencoder, then to use ffmpeg to encode the audio, and finally to use mencoder again to mux the video and audio encodes back together, which gives a perfect a/v sync. I put together a script that will encode all m2v/mp2 collections in a directory, so I can leave it running overnight if I have more than one encode to do. Here it is: Mencoder Batch Mux Script

I am using default mencoder libraries and encoders with a two pass approach, but will give h264 a crack later to see if I get better quality for the time and cpu cycles taken. The current script produces eminently watchable video on my 42″ LCD using GeeXBoX so I’m a happy bunny :)

If you get stuck or need help, give me a shout….