The PBS COVE API was created with the intent of exposing PBS video metadata to users. A wide range of data can be pulled using the API including title, descriptions, video type, link to transcript, iTunes purchase link, links to streaming video media, and other metadata. Videos offered online are available through Real Time Messaging Protocol links to .mp4 or .flv encoded videos, while some newer national programs have been encoded for playback on Apple mobile devices using HTTP Live Streaming.
The API itself is divided into three subsections: Categories, Programs, and Videos. Categories are ways of organizing programs and videos, while Programs are "buckets" for one to many Videos. These distinct sections are intended to create a taxonomy for the data exposed by the PBS COVE API, to the end of providing developers with a standard that enables more robust uses of the information the service makes available. All calls to this API must be authenticated - there are no sessions. Every call is limited to 200 results, though subsequent calls can retrieve data in "pages".