NRK Scraper

This is the rather simple website for NRK Scraper. The more interesting stuff (such as actual files, bug tracker etc.) is on our Rubyforge page, so head over there once you get bored here.

What is NRK Scraper?

It's a Ruby class that can retrieve video stream URLs from NRK.no's online TV streaming system. NRK, of course, is the Norwegian state-owned broadcaster. Once the URLs are retrieved, you have endless possibilities: download the shows, convert them to other formats, simply watch them using your local video player instead of a tiny window on the NRK web site etc.

I started writing NRK Scraper because I became frustrated with NRK's very heavy and Microsoft-centric website. I wanted to watch the streams in mplayer and fullscreen. Some of the shows were very interesting, so I wanted to dump the stream and keep the show around on my hard drive. It took me several minutes to poke through the source of NRK's Nett-TV pages, retrieve the ASX playlists, look through that, find the right MMS URL etc. NRK Scraper can do it in seconds, without any human interaction.

Finding those URLs is a silly, repetitive process that would be unneccessary if NRK had chosen a less Windows Media Player-only solution, like their colleagues from the German ZDF did. The ZDF media library offers built-in support for the VLC plugin (in addition to QuickTime and WMP) and works much better than NRK's offering.

Now not to be unfair to NRK's techies: It's great to have NRK's material available on the Net at all, and it works fairly well. I'm sure the techies did not have much of a say in what technology would be used. The choice, however, is made, and it's not ideal. I hope NRK Scraper can improve things a little, in the spirit of interoperability and freedom of choice.

Also, I'm trying to learn Norwegian, and NRK is an excellent source of training material :)