How to download streaming videos

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Most streaming video sites and content creators do not want you to download their videos because they make money selling advertising before, during, and after each video. However, because streaming video must make it to your computer, this means that you can often send the stream to your hard drive rather than your browser and effectively get a copy of the video.

Use can download videos from many streaming sites including YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and several others. However, the web site won't let you download at the highest quality, and tries to trick you into installing their app.

  1. Copy the URL of the streaming video page.
  2. Navigate to
  3. Paste the video in the Just insert a link text box.
  4. If the site can find a video to download, a subtle link labeled download video in browser will appear below various buttons and ads, click the link.
  5. A Download box will appear below.
  6. Select the quality level you want, and click Download to save the video.

Use YTD: Video Downloader to Download From Many Sites

YTD: Video Downloader can download videos from YouTube, Vimeo, and a couple dozen other streaming video web sites. The last time I tried it, it wasn't working on several sites. The installer also tries to trick you into downloading a bunch of adware when you install and each time you upgrade, so be vigilant.

Use Easy YouTube Video Downloader

This is an extension for FireFox, Chrome, and Opera. It adds a download button below the video on a YouTube page and allows for basic downloading in various formats and quality levels.

Use VLC to Download YouTube Videos

Downloading YouTube videos through VLC Media Player is a multi-step process, but it's very effective.

  1. Navigate to the YouTube page video and copy the URL.
  2. In VLC's menu, expand Media and click Open Network Stream.
  3. In the Please enter a network URL: text box, paste the YouTube URL.
  4. Click Play and the YouTube video will begin playing in VLC.
  5. In VLC's menu, expand Tools and click Media Information.
  6. A dialog named Current Media Information will open.
  7. Click the General tab, and copy the contents of the Location: text box at the bottom.
  8. Paste the Location into the address bar of your browser.
  9. The video will begin playing in your browser.
  10. Open the File menu of your browse, and click Save to save the video to your hard drive.
  11. The video will be named videoplayback.mp4, but you can copy the proper name from the Title box in the General tab.

Use a Browser to Download Facebook Videos

Facebook's mobile version allows direct access to the videos so they can be downloaded in a browser. Here's how:

  1. Right-click on video and click Show Video URL in the menu.
  2. Open a new tab in your browser and paste the URL.
  3. Replace the "www" from the beginning of the URL with m and hit enter to bring up the mobile version of the web site.
  4. After the new page loads, click the video, and it will either open the actual video file or ask to download it.
  5. If it opens is, expand your browser's File menu and click Save to save the video.

Additional Sites


Note: I have not tested these other methods.