How much online video content do you consume? Judging by YouTube’s popularity I’d say a lot, but YouTube isn’t the only site out there with streaming video content. More and more sites are featuring videos every day.
Every once in a while you come across a video you would like to save. Whether it be for educational purposes, work-related, or for entertainment, it would be nice to save these files to our hard drives so we can easily access them. Sometimes bookmarking just isn’t a viable solution. Sometimes we need to download.
There are a lot of different services and tools you can use to capture streaming video. In this article, I will show you some of the best ones, so you’ll be filling your hard drive with streaming content in no time.
A Little About Streaming Video
The vast majority of streaming video content on the Internet is in the Flash Video – or FLV – format. Flash Video allows for highly compressed streaming video, and many websites use it because it saves space, loads quickly, and displays nicely in web browsers.
FLV files are what we will be looking for with the tools I’m about to show you. If you aren’t privy to the FLV format it is fairly simple to convert files over to other formats, like the more popular AVI, but you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. The FLV format is supported by many different video players, including the popular VLC Player, which is recommended.
The first website that can be used to catch streaming video is KeepVid. KeepVid (directory post) has a very simple concept behind it. Just visit the site and enter in the URL of the video page you would like to download. Click Download and KeepVid will search the page for videos.
Then it will display links for you to download the video in 3GP, FLV, or MP4 format.
KeepVid also has a bookmarklet that you can drag up to your bookmarks bar. Just click the Keep It! button whenever you’re on a website with streaming video and you will be taken straight to the KeepVid download page for that video.
Flash Video Downloader is another website like KeepVid. In the event one method fails, however unlikely that may be, it is always good to have a backup solution.
FVD supports a wide range of websites. It is constantly adapting to the ever-changing tactics that websites undergo in the way of preventing their video content from being easily downloaded. Just enter your URL, click Download, and you are taken to your download link page.
File2HD (directory post) is more of an all-in-one capture website, but it can be used for the same purposes as the 2 sites previously mentioned. To use it to catch streaming video, just select Movies as your filter, type in your URL, and click Get Files.
What’s great about File2HD is that it brings up multiple options for your videos. For instance, when I pasted in the URL of a YouTube video, it gave me the option to download the file in low quality, high, or standard, as well as convert it. Very simple.
If you prefer a cross-browser desktop application, Orbit Downloader is one of the best out there. You can use this app to capture streaming video and download almost anything on the Internet, as detailed here.
To capture streaming video, run Orbit and enable its Grab++ feature. Once it’s running, refresh/reload the page you are on or open up a new browser window to start using it. Orbit will begin catching files from every page you visit, which you can then download from the application.
You can also click the yellow pin icon on Grab++ to keep it on top of other windows while you’re surfing the web, which is a nice feature.
Download Helper [Firefox]
If you’re using Firefox, Download Helper is a simple extension for you to use. Once installed, it’s just a little icon that sits next to your home button in Firefox. When you’re on a website with streaming content, the little icon will light up. Click on it to download – and convert – your file.
A more detailed article on how to utilize Download Helper can be found here.
Like I stated before, it isn’t that difficult to find a way to save your streaming video content. If one method doesn’t work you can search for another and find a good application relatively easily. Be sure to exhaust all of your resources before giving up when attempting to download streaming content.
Do you download streaming content? What tools do you use? Leave your thoughts, ideas, and comments below!
Image Credit: Haywiremedia
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