Recording iPlayer to DVD

I’ve had a quite a few readers (especially Arthur who’s been waiting for my reply for months!) emailing me wanting to know how to record iPlayer videos to a DVD so I’ve put up this blog post and a full video explaining exactly how you do this.

For the benefit of new readers to this blog, I recommend you read the information on the “Recording iPlayer” page FIRST.

Otherwise, here’s a quick overview of the whole process:

  1. Before you can even think about recording iPlayer programmes to a DVD, you need to “record” or “capture” the video from iPlayer first. Once you’ve done this, you’ll lend up with the recorded programme on your hard-drive on your computer. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check the “recording iplayer” page.
  2. If you’ve used the “recording” method (which is the one I recommend), you’ll lend with a file called “programme-name.FLV” stored in a folder on your computer.  The ‘FLV’ bit stands for “Flash Video” (a popular video format invented by Adobe Systems). But the problem is Flash Video can’t be played on most DVD players so you have to convert the ‘FLV’ file to a DVD-formatted file first.
  3. Once it’s converted, you can then burn the newly-converted files to a blank DVD. The problem is that you’ll find several types of DVD’s in the shops so which one do you buy? Well, most modern DVD players can play any type of DVD so go for DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD+RW or DVD-RW. Personally, I’ve had better luck with the “+” variety. The only difference between “R” and “RW” is that “R” discs only allow you to record ONCE to the disc. With “RW” discs, you can write to them, then erase them and write to them again many times over.

Applian supply a piece of software called “Replay Converter” which will do steps 2 and 3 for you completely seamlessly. There are other software programs out there that can do this too if you don’t want to use this particular one. “Replay Converter” is included as part of the better package deal called “Replay Capture Suite“. When you get the whole suite, you also get the software to cover Step 1 (plus a whole bunch of other useful media related tools).

And one last thing: don’t forget that your computer needs to have a DVD-writer (most newer PC’s / laptops do) OR you need to have an external DVD-writer connected to the PC.

OK, the next video is, err…,..a bit long (17 minutes to be exact). I didn’t script it in anyway (I should know better) and it’s really designed for the complete beginner so bear with me if you’re more experienced. If you get trouble watching the video, it’s because so many people are hitting my website at the same time…. and it can’t cope (I’m working on an upgrade at the moment). And if you’d rather not listen to me wobbling on, just below the video are the written instructions plus the other tips I mention in the video.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Start the “Replay Converter” software.
  2. Put in a blank DVD in your computer.
  3. Click on “Add Files” and then go and find & choose the files you want to put onto the DVD. Holding down the “CTRL” key on your keyword and clicking on the left-mouse button at the same time will allow you to select multiple programmes. If you used “Replay Media Catcher 4”, you’ll find the programmes stored in a folder called “My Streaming Media” (normally within the “My Documents” folder). If you used “Replay Video Capture”, you’ll find the programmes stored in a folder called “RVC Recordings” (normally within the “My Videos” folder).
  4. Click on the “Burn to CD/DVD” radio button (bottom-right hand side).
  5. Where it says “Choose a Target Format”, select “Burn to a DVD-PAL” or if you live in the USA, “Burn to a DVD-NTSC (US)”.
  6. Click on the big “GO” button and wait……
  7. The software will now start converting the “FLV-formatted” programmes to a special DVD-format. For each programme that’s an hour long, this will take 45 minutes (if you’ve got a fairly fast computer). There’s no way around this: even other software that I have takes about the same time. You can still use your computer whilst it’s doing this conversion but your computer will be much slower: the conversion process is very heavy work on the main processor (known as the CPU). Therefore, I recommend you do this before going to bed!
  8. Once it’s converted, the software then prepares your blank DVD to receive the converted files. After that, it starts ‘burning’ the programmes to your DVD. This process takes about 30 minutes.

That’s it. All you need is patience and you’ll have your favourite programmes on a DVD.

Other Tips / Notes

  • If you’re going to use DVD+RW or DVD-RW discs, make sure it is BLANK before you start. If you don’t know how to do this, search for “erase a DVD” in Google or here’s a link if you’re using Windows Vista:
  • Remember that once you’ve recorded the files onto the DVD, it won’t have any fancy-pants menus or ‘chapters’ that you’re probably used to with purchased DVD’s. As soon as you put the DVD into your home player, it will start playing the first programme automatically. To see the next programme you’ll have to press the “Next” button on your remote control. And to go back to the previous programme, you’ll have to hit the “Back” button one or more times to go to previous programmes. If you want more fancy stuff with chapters inserted into each programme and pretty menus, email me and I’ll let you know how to do this.
  • I strongly recommend you limit the amount of hours of video you record to FOUR or FIVE hours at the most – the less the better. If you try to put more than this, the video will start to ‘jump’ and quality is reduced too.
  • Quality is really very good indeed but if you want top-notch stuff, buy yourself a Blu-Ray player and get the original programme on Blu-Ray from the online BBC Shop. You won’t believe just how good David Attenborough or Top Gear stuff is on Blu-Ray…

Ok, hope that helps. Send me over an email if you get stuck and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Cheers, Andy

6 thoughts on “Recording iPlayer to DVD”

  1. Hi Andy,

    Thanks very much for your site. really helpful. I have downloaded and converted a programme from iPlayer using the Demo version of Replay Media Catcher 4 and then put it into replay converter. I have tried three times now to burn a disk and each time I get to the Authoring stage and after a while this window is
    displayed: No write mode data found. Incomplete settings. Enter settings to add write mode data.

    I have erased my DVDRW disk using windows as instructed.

    Could you please help?

    Many thanks,


  2. Hi Julian,

    Thanks for writing in. I am assuming there are no problems writing to a DVDRW when trying to write other types of data like photos or even standard video files? If there is, then there must be a general problem with the underlying software used when writing to a disc. For example, software like “Nero” (of which there is a free version) would have similar problems to Applian’s Converter software.

    The message you’re getting suggests that you have to place the correct settings into Replay Converter first before attempting to actually write to the DVD. You normally set these up after the video has been converted so unfortunately you have to wait until that finishes (can take upto an hour or so with one 1-hour programme). Once it’s converted, there should be some options (using a Wizard) to setup the correct parameters for your DVD Writer. But they’re pretty standard ‘parameters’ (like write speed and so forth) so it should work fine.

    The other possible problem could be related to using the demo version of Replay Converter. I’m not sure but maybe they don’t allow the demo version to write to DVDs. I’ve never had a problem myself but then again, I have a licensed version of the software.

    However, there is a better and much more elegant solution that I talk about in my free newsletter using a free piece of software called DVD Styler. If you pop-in your email address in the box at the top right-hand side; my website will automatically send you all the tutorials for free. I think I made a total of about 2 hours of free training using the Replay suite like a ‘pro’ and how to make professional looking DVDs using DVD Styler.

    So that would be recommendation – try it with DVD styler following my tutorials. Give that a go and let me know if you have any further problems so I can help you out.

    All the best, Andy

    p.s. My free tutorials are using DVD styler version 2.1. The latest version is 2.2 and there are some small differences like setting the picture for your
    thumbnails used on the opening menu of your DVD. If you encounter problems, just download and install version 2.1 – I’ve tested it on 3 machines I have at home and it works like a charm!

  3. Hi, thanks for your excellent tutuorial. Have tried to use Replay Converter to copy BBC iPlayer files to dvd. However, confusion reigns over which files I’m trying to convert. When I go to the folder that contains the iPlayer files, none has the extension FLV, and the largest file has the extension mp4 -when I try to covert this file to DVD, nothing happens!! I note on your video tutorial, the BBC iPlayer files are named according the the programme you’ve downloaded, but none of mine is!!!! Any suggestions gratefully accepted.

  4. Hi Adrian,

    It’s difficult to see exactly what’s going on but I’ll have a go!

    (1) If you’re using Replay Media Catcher 4, the recorded programmes should be stored in “FLV” format in a directory called “My Streaming Media” which is located within the “My Documents” folder. In there, you should see the actual name of the programme and it should be in the “FLV” format.

    (2) If you’re using Replay Video Capture 6 (which is just recording the screen), you should find the recorded programme in a folder called “RVC Recordings” which is located with the “My Videos” folder. But the programme will be called something like “RVCap[1]” or something like that. When you’re using Replay Video Capture 6, it’s possible that it has defaulted to record the programme in MP4 format (you can change this in the settings and I recommend you use WMV format because the file size is smaller and quality is reasonable).

    Going back to method (1), make sure you have “Do not convert” selected at the bottom of the software. Otherwise it will create another converted version of the same programme.

    All my BBC iPlayer recordings are still recorded in FLV format (I tried it yesterday) and I’ve never seen them ‘broadcast’ the file to iPlayer in MP4 format so you must have some sort of settings in place causing the software to save it or convert it into MP4 format. Also the name is still appearing correctly for me so I don’t understand why this is happening.

    I have another more ‘professional’ (and free) option for recording to DVDs: if you pop your email address in the top right-hand side of this website, you’ll get an email with all the details. I think there’s around 2 hours of various tutorials on how to use the software like a ‘pro’ and, how to make great looking DVD’s.

    Going back to your problem, have a look at your settings with Replay Media Catcher 4 and select the option “File Naming Rules”. At the bottom, there’s a section called “Music tagging/File Naming”. Make sure it has this setting: {track} – {artist} and click OK.

    Hopefully, that should sort the problem!

    Let me know if you need any further help.

    Kind regards,


  5. Hi, Andy,
    Thanks for your reply. I am not using Video Capture to capture streaming video, but use the iPlayer desktop manager to save the downloaded programmes for later viewing. But when I go to the folder in which the files are saved, none has the name of the programme (just a bunch of meaningless letters) saved and none has an FLV file extension -the largest file has an mp4 extension (despite this, the programmes still ‘self destruct’ after 30 days!). I have had some success in ‘converting’ the mp4 file -but the conversion takes all of 30 seconds or so, and I end up with credits -wait for this- upside down!!!!!

  6. Hi Adrian,

    Ah Ok, right ….I see the problem.

    First off, you don’t use or even need the iPlayer Desktop Manager. In fact, I would “exit” from it altogether. The Desktop Manager will allow you to watch the programmes until they expire so that’s no good. It’s a custom piece of software which doesn’t allow you to easily access the videos outside of the Desktop Manager – and it’s ‘programmed’ to delete the file(s) from your harddrive when the programme expires.

    What you need to do is:

    1) Open the software “Replay Media Catcher 4” and hit “Record” (it will prompt you to do this automatically).
    2) Then go to iPlayer in your browser and hit PLAY.
    3) In Replay Media Catcher it will record a couple of things: (a) the intro BBC titles (b) the actual programme itself.

    Go and check out my full demo here:

    Play the first video and watch it all through and it should make sense (hopefully!).

    But you have to use Replay Media Catcher to record and keep the programme for as long as you want.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.

    Cheers, Andy

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