I've spend a day on this so I thought it would be useful to record my experience. I am talking about using the EEE with the Linux distribution it comes with, not Windows by the way.
The BBC iPlayer service allows a selection of the last 7 days UK-broadcast programming to be either streamed or downloaded for later viewing. It is only accessible from the UK (or, presumably, via a UK-based proxy).
This article is not about streaming video. This uses flash and works out of the box (although for full-screen mode you apparently need to download a later version of flash, and a pointer to that info certainly wouldn't go amiss here if somebody has it to hand). The trouble with streaming is (naturally) that you must have a fast reliable internet connection which can be tricky or expensive on the move.
The immediately obvious problem with viewing downloaded iPlayer content on your EEE is that it uses a propriety DRM (Digital Rights Management) system that means that the download sevice only works on Microsoft Windows. However, I soon found out that this was not the only problem. I tried three different approaches:
1) Use a flash-movie grabber on the streaming video, for example using one of the various add-ons for Firefox. These are often used to save YouTube clips which are designed only to be streamed. This has the advantage that the video would definitely play well because streaming flash-movies play well on the EEE. Unfortunately I couldn't get any of the grabbers to work with iPlayer and nor could I find any reference to anybody else being successful.
2a) Use the download facility on a Windows PC, remove the DRM, then transfer to the EEE. This worked well, but unfortunately the resulting file was not watchable on the EEE. The video lagged behind the audio and after a while the video became choppy. I followed the advice in the mplayer log (accessed via CTRL-M), trying various options with no improvement. I have concluded that the most likely explanation is that the EEE's processor is not fast enough to play these files.
2b) I suspect the problem with the above file is that it uses DivX encoding which I have read is more processor intensive to play than the normally recommended XVid. Therefore I decided to attempt to transcode the file into XVid format. My first attempt was to use AutoGK which I successfully use to transcode DVDs for the EEE. It didn't recognise the .wmv extension that iPlayer downloads use so I renamed the source to .avi (the file extensions for video files are somewhat interchangeable and at most describe the container not the codecs, so this wasn't complete crazy). It appeared to understand the file at first, but after 20 minutes it gave up. I believe that with the right software this approach should work, but have no more time to spend on it at present.
3a) Grab the iPhone video stream. Recently the BBC announced that iPlayer would now support the iPhone which doesn't have a flash player (or probably a fast enough modem to handle the normal flash movie data rate). This was implemented using a DRM-free quicktime file. People soon spotted that by making the browser say it was an iPhone, you could download the file on a PC. The BBC stopped this from working, but a trivial ruby/perl/whatever script can be used to download the quicktime file instead. This method has the advantage that no Windows PC is required to download the file. Unfortunately, the quicktime file uses the H.264 codec so does not work out-of-the-box on the EEE.
3b) I have not tried installing the version of mplayer that supports H.264 to my EEE as this involves goving to an earlier version of the media player by installing a package designed for a different Linux distribution, which seems less than ideal to me (i.e. I'd want to back-up first). However AFAIK this should work. Instructions here: downgradingmplayer.
3c) The other option is to transcode the H.264 Quicktime movie into a more supported format. I found a utility to do this that takes just a few seconds and the result plays well on the EEE. However, the quality is badly compromised compared with the ideal of being able to use the downloaded file. For example, an example 15 minute programme has the following file sizes: iPlayer Download - 120Mb (DivX .mmv) iPhone Stream - 60Mb (H.264 .mov) iPhone Stream transcoded - 30Mb (XVid .avi) Since H.264 is probably technically superior to .avi, plus it has been transcoded, the .avi file probably even worse than these figures suggest.
Obviously I hope to be able to find time to tidy this up and give a full walk-through later.