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How do I Download Streaming Media?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
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To download streaming media you have a number of options, all with different benefits and drawbacks, which allow you to save your favorite streaming videos or music. The three basic ways to download and save streaming video and audio are through websites developed specifically to help you download media, extensions for web browsers, and through third party software programs that are designed to help you download files. While the specific needs may be different depending on if you want to download streaming audio or video, the basic methods used are generally the same. You should keep in mind local copyright laws in your country, as well as the terms of use for the website you are using, and be sure that it is not a violation for you to record or download streaming media.

If you want to download streaming media through recording and saving audio heard over the Internet, such as on a free-to-use website, there are two basic methods you can easily use that both take advantage of the same basic principle. The soundcard in your computer will allow you, when used with one of several different programs, to record any audio that plays through your speakers. You can download a program that runs as a toolbar within your preferred web browser, or a standalone program that you can run only when you want it.

In either case, the program is designed to record audio, typically through a source such as a microphone, but with the option to use a different input source. You can choose to use your soundcard as the source, and when you press record, it will record any audio played through your computer. This will allow you to record the sound and stop it after the completion of the segment of audio you wish to record.

To download streaming media, such as a video file on any one of a number of popular video sharing sites, you can use similar programs such as those mentioned above, or use download websites. Third party programs exist that will let you download and save flash video (FLV) files that you will commonly find on video sharing sites. These are usually not free, but can often be fairly inexpensive and may also provide you with some editing and compositing options as well.

There are also web browser extensions available that you can use to help you download streaming media from within your web browser window while navigating the Internet. Most sites that have streaming video use FLV files that are great for compression and streaming, but do not allow simple right-click downloading. Browser extensions can allow you to easily download and save a file directly from within the browser.

A number of download websites have been created that are designed to allow you to download streaming media without using a different program. These websites allow you to enter in the uniform resource locator (URL) for a particular video on a hosting site, and the website will generate a link that you can use to download the video on the hosting site. The major drawback of these sites is that they have to be designed for specific sites and may not support the video hosting site you wish to download from.

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Discussion Comments
By charlesberry — On Oct 19, 2017

Thanks for taking the time for making this tutorial, really appreciated. I always use Acethinker Video Downloader to save streaming video to my laptop, free and works pretty well. It is an online tool that lets you download video right from the browser. You don't have to install any additional plug-ins or add-ons.

By fBoyle — On Oct 22, 2014

@candyquilt-- I use a free streaming video recorder too but the quality is good (same as the original) and so is audio. I suggest trying a different software. Also read reviews and descriptions to make sure that the software is compatible with your operating system and the types of videos you want to record. So if you specifically want videos from one site, make sure it works for that site.

I'm guessing that you just used a bad software or it was somehow not compatible, or had low capacity.

By donasmrs — On Oct 22, 2014

Download websites are very nice. I'm not very tech-savvy, so all this talk about software, FLV, etc. just goes over my head. I need something simple and easy to use. I like the sites that have the download option and I just have to follow the directions. It's super easy and works every time.

It is true that the videos available for download can be a little limited but that's changing because more and more sites are putting the download option on their videos. There's obviously a demand.

By candyquilt — On Oct 21, 2014

I used a free and simple software for downloading streaming media the other day. I was disappointed though. I was able to download the video but the quality was very poor. The quality of the original video is good so I don't understand why this happened. The sound was bad too, difficult to hear. Is this the case for all download software and programs?

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