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How can I turn off the screen blackout in Linux when playing a film in BBC iPlayer? I usually use it in Chrome, but if there is a way to do it in Firefox (Iceweasel) than it is good enough as well.

I think by default iPlayer uses Flash, but if there is a way to switch to HTML 5 that does the job than I am fine to do it as well.

I know how to turn it off completely, but obviously I want it to save energy in all other circumstances.

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You could manually inhibit power management via D-Bus. – sr_ Jan 19 '13 at 11:51
@sr_, unfortunately I haven't heard about this stuff before. How would I use it? – Grzenio Jan 20 '13 at 14:25
There's a utility called caffeine that purports to turn off screensavers while video is playing. I installed it on kubuntu precise and it crashes. YMMV. – Joe Jan 25 '13 at 20:07

I cannot add a comment but to completely turn off the screen blanking I usually use this

xset -dpms &
xset s noblank &
xset s off &

I'm not an expert on sqlite files but you can maybe use a command like

  sqlite3 ./.mozilla/firefox/*default/places.sqlite "select a.url from moz_places a;" | grep bbc.co.uk/iplayer

and try to get a timestamp to check against to trigger the turning off of the screen blanking. Hope this could be of some use!


I digged a little bit into it and came out with this python script

import subprocess

def get_last_visit():

    shell_cmd = ('sqlite3 ~/.mozilla/firefox/*default/places.sqlite '
                 '"select b.visit_date, a.url from moz_places a, '
                 'moz_historyvisits b where a.url like '

    proc = subprocess.check_output(shell_cmd, shell=True)

    dates = [x[:10] for x in proc.split()]

    return int(max(dates))

def get_curren_date():

    current_date = subprocess.Popen(['date', '+%s'],

    return int(current_date)

def main():

    last_visit = get_last_visit()
    current_date = get_curren_date()

    if current_date - last_visit < 300:
        subprocess.call(['xset', '-dpms'])
        subprocess.call(['xset', 's', 'noblank'])
        subprocess.call(['xset', 's', 'off'])

if __name__ == '__main__':


I haven't tested it but you can try to add it to your crond to execute every 5 minutes, should check to see if you were on the bbc/iplay website in the last five minutes and if yes turn off screen blanking. Its far from perfect but I hope that someone can improve it and give suggestions!

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