How to Download Streaming Videos and Why
Summary: With more and more people joining the streaming pond, are you on the lookout for a streaming video downloader to download streaming videos from your paid streaming service? This article talks about the details of how to download streaming videos from any website, using the best streaming video downloader software on the market.
Table of Contents
- Section 2. Benefits and Disadvantages of Streaming Services
- Section 3. Download Streaming Videos
- Section 4. StreamFab Downloader — The All-In-One Streaming Video Downloader
Do you still remember when was the last time you watched a DVD/Blu-ray movie disc on your home DVD/BD player? Yeah, you probably don’t. Truly, with the rapid technological advancements in information infrastructure, and the increasing popularity of mobiles and tablets, the internet is now entering every household in every corner of this planet. The direct result of the fast-growing streaming media is that physical media, such as DVD, Blu-ray, and even the younger 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, are losing their charismas. Even Samsung, one of the major Blu-ray Player manufacturers, has stopped making Blu-ray Players.
In the meantime, accompanying the down of physical media is the skyrocketing growth and dramatic market expansion of streaming services. Among all the major streaming services, Netflix is still sitting steadily on the throne, with others such as Amazon Prime Video and Hulu eyeing for that position and playing the catch-up game for years. And with more players like Apple TV+, ESPN+, even the major movie studios joining the competition, like Paramount+, Disney+, and Sony’s Bravia Core, the streaming war is becoming only fiercer.
Here below is a comparison table showing the major video/audio streaming services ranked by the number of subscribers as of Q4 2020.
|Streaming Services||Type||Subscribers (Q4 2020)|
|Amazon Prime Video||Video||
|Amazon Prime Music||Audio||55M|
Compared with traditional physical media and pay-TV cable subscriptions, there are advantages and disadvantages with streaming media.
- The movies, TV shows, and other streaming contents are usually on-demand videos and music that you can watch and listen to whenever you want.
- Streaming services usually have a giant streaming library that contains thousands of hours of TV shows and movies.
- Major streaming services have their own exclusive original TV shows and movies that you cannot find elsewhere.
- The video and audio quality is excellent, all the major streaming services offer 4K HDR videos, with high-end Dolby Atmos audios.
- You can stream from everywhere on all the supported streaming devices, like a smart TV, a smartphone, a tablet, a game console, and a computer, etc.
- You can binge-watch your favorite TV shows or movie series for the whole day, all the episodes in one season, or even the entire season.
- Most of the streaming services offer user-friendly interfaces that require no many learning curves to begin with.
- Most streaming services usually offer subscribers multiple profiles for one account so that he/she can share the account with family members and friends.
- Besides streaming on-demand videos, there are also live TV channels that are covered by the streaming cost subscribers paid for.
- Some streaming services also allow subscribers to download the on-demand streaming videos on select devices to watch offline.
- Subscribers can also record the live TV programs covered by the live channels using the DVR feature that usually comes free with the subscription.
- Live internet connection is required for streaming, and there is also demand on the internet speed and bandwidth, especially if you want to stream HD or 4K videos with premium audios, 15 Mb/s or above would be ideal.
- Streaming online would be pretty data-cost, which might be a potential problem if you want to stream on the move on a smartphone or tablet, where Wi-Fi is not an option.
- Streaming online is not technically friendly to elder people who might have a problem setting things up or figuring things out when a problem occurs, and problems do happen time and again.
- TV shows and movies on the streaming platforms come and go. So if you cannot spare much time streaming your favorite programs, they might not be available when you finally have time for them.
After learning all the pros and cons of streaming videos, you might be wondering is it possible to download streaming videos for offline watching if I don’t have much time sitting in front of my TV, streaming my favorite shows and movies, or I just want to watch my shows during the commuting hours and don’t have to cost my mobile data plan? Not surprisingly, most streaming services don’t offer a download option. Even some do, the official download method usually comes with certain limits that you might not be able to tolerate.
- Not all on-demand streaming videos are available for download.
- Those download-ready streaming videos might not offer the top video and audio quality you want.
- Usually, subscribers are only allowed to download the streaming videos onto certain devices.
- The downloaded streaming videos cannot be shared with other devices.
- Streaming services will usually put an expiration date on the videos that are downloaded from their platforms, meaning, if you don’t watch the downloaded streaming videos within a certain period, usually around 30 days, they simply expire and can no longer be played.
- Once subscribers start to play the downloaded streaming videos, they are given a certain time period to finish watching them, usually within 48 hours.
- The download speed might keep you waiting for a considerably long time if you want to download a TV series that may contain multiple seasons and hundreds of episodes.
With so many limits bound with the official download method, there is a chance that you might not even bother downloading them in the first place. Hence, are there any unofficial means that we can use to download streaming videos? The answer is definitely YES. A 3rd-party streaming video downloader is the answer.
But before we talk about how to download streaming videos from any website using a 3rd-party solution, it is necessary to know how the streaming platforms work and how they try their best to stop subscribers from downloading the on-demand videos via the unofficial way.
Let’s make things simpler to understand, in laymen’s terms. Here below is how streaming services allow subscribers/viewers to stream on-demand videos from their respective platforms.
- All the TV shows/series, movies, documentaries, and other videos are stored on the server of a certain streaming service provider.
- On a supported device, the subscriber/viewer browses and picks up what she/he wants to watch from the streaming library, through a streaming service’s official website or App.
- The subscriber/viewer clicks the play button next to the streaming content she/he wants to watch, then a request is sent to the streaming service provider’s server.
- Once the server receives the playback request, it pushes the on-demand streaming video(s) to the subscriber/viewer’s client on a certain device, which might be a smartphone, a tablet, a game console, a smart TV, a computer, etc.
It looks like that streaming videos from streaming services is not that complicated. Yeah, sort of. But downloading streaming videos is totally another thing and it’s not as easy as you think. As you may have realized, in the name of fighting against piracy and copyright infringements, all the streaming service providers put heavy protections on their streaming videos, just like those movie studios do on commercial DVD/Blu-ray/4K Ultra HD discs.
As a result, if we want to download streaming videos from any website, the very first thing we need to overcome is the obstacles that are guarding the streaming videos against being accessed and downloaded by any potential 3rd-party streaming downloader software. Plus, beating the obstacles is not an easy thing to do. That being said, there are two basic approaches when it comes to downloading streaming videos. Next, let’s break them down one by one.
In this approach, we’re talking about directly saving or downloading the media streams pushed back from the streaming service provider’s server. To do that, we need to get the “secret keys” that a browser receives from the server in order to unlock and play back the heavily-guarded streaming videos, no matter what means. Once we get the “secret keys”, we can overcome all those obstacles and download the streaming videos.
- The downloaded videos are lossless in terms of audio and video quality.
- The download speed is also fast.
- By downloading, you also get other things like subtitles, metadata info, etc.
- All the streaming services are trying whatever they can to hide the secret keys when sending them to the browser, so it is definitely not easy to get those secret keys.
If it is extremely hard to get those secret keys to unlock the protected streaming videos, then screen recording might be the last resort. By doing this way, we’re talking about using a screen recorder software to live record the playback of the streaming videos and audios and then technically combine the two streams into one.
- You don’t have to care about the obstacles because you’re simply recording the videos.
- You can simply record everything from any streaming service platform.
- You have to play back the video from beginning to end, and the playback screen cannot be exited.
- The speed is another major concern, despite there are technologies to accelerate the playback 2 times or even 4 times faster, you still have to finish the entire playback process.
- When the recording is in process, you might not be able to do anything else, because recording is a CPU/GPU-intensive task that might slow down your computer considerably.
There are streaming video downloaders and streaming video recorders on the internet out there. But because people have a natural favor on a downloader over a recorder, some recorders are even advertised as downloaders, which actually are not really downloading those streaming videos. So as an end-user, how to tell a streaming video recorder from a real streaming video downloader? Try the following tricks.
- Check the CPU & GPU Usage: as mentioned earlier, live recording is a CPU & GPU-intensive job because audio & video encoding and compression are involved during the recording process. So, if you find the CPU and GPU usage is running high when the task is in progress, then it’s highly possible the software is a recorder; otherwise, it might be a downloader.
- Check the speed: To record the streaming videos requires you to play back the videos from beginning to the end, which takes a longer time even using certain playback acceleration technologies. However, if you find the entire process only takes half, a quarter, or even less of the video length, then it’s safe to consider the process a download procedure.
StreamFab Downloader is an all-in-one streaming video downloader suite that offers not only download solutions to protection-free online videos but also streaming download solutions to all the major paid streaming services whose videos are heavily protected.
Among all the separately sold product modules inside the Downloader suite, YouTube Downloader and YouTube to MP3 are the modules to download online videos and music that are not protected.
- Download music and videos from YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo, DailyMotion, and 1000+ other popular music & video sharing sites.
- Download videos at up to 8K quality and MP3 music at up to 320 kbps.
- Batch-download an entire YouTube playlist at one go.
- Download at 10x faster speed with the Turbo-Speed feature.
- Support major adult websites such as Pornhub, Xhamster, Youporn, etc.
- Allow YouTube users to subscribe to their favorite YouTube channels.
Steps to download online music & videos, taking YouTube as an example.
- Step 1: After installation, launch StreamFab Downloader, and click the Explorer tab;
- Step 2: Click the YouTube logo from the Frequently Used Websites to open the website;
- Step 3: Search and play the video you want to download;
- Step 4: Click the Download button, click the Video tab and choose your wanted resolution;
- Step 5: Hit the Download button to download your target video.
If you only want to download the music of the YouTube videos, then at the download window, click the Music tab and then choose your preferred audio quality as you wish.
Furthermore, in case you want to download videos ten times faster, enable the Turbo-Speed feature available at the Downloading tab from the left panel.
Apart from downloading cost-free online videos and music, the Downloader suite also features a bunch of streaming video downloader series that are capable of downloading streaming videos from all the major streaming services on the market that are subscription-based and heavily guarded.
Feature Highlights of StreamFab Streaming Downloader Series:
- Download streaming videos as 1080p/720p MP4 videos
- Download high-quality EAC3/AC3 audio tracks at up to 5.1-channel
- Download subtitles and metadata information for easier management for media servers
- Batch-download and auto-download new episodes from TV shows and series
- Organize the output file name and directory for each streaming service
- Simple, concise, and clutter-free GUI layout that is friendly even to beginners
- 95% and above download success rate on all the major streaming services
The supported streaming services include:
- Amazon Prime Video
- Apple TV+
- HBO Max & HBO Now
Upcoming Streaming Services in the Works:
- YouTube Movie
- And more…
Steps to download streaming videos from any website, taking Netflix as an example.
- Step 1: Download and install this Netflix downloader, using the Download button below.
- Step 2: Start up the software, click the Streaming Services tab from the left pane.
- Step 3: Open the Netflix website, log in to your Netflix account and play the movie or TV episode you want to download.
- Step 4: Click the Download Now button on the following popup window.
Extra Tips: This streaming downloader is able to download all the episodes and even entire seasons at one go. If the video URL being analyzed belongs to a TV show, then it will automatically detect that and thus give you the options to download the single episode being played, or all the other episodes together.
As mentioned earlier, one of the well-received killer features of StreamFab Downloader is that it is capable of downloading all the relevant metadata information while downloading the movies and TV shows, including the movie title name, genre, cast, poster, duration, plot, detailed audio and video codec information, episode name and season name if it is a TV show. Don't underestimate the extreme convenience it brings. Without all such information, managing your local video collection can be a headache, and there is a good chance that you may mess things up cannot find what you are looking for quickly and easily from a mountain of videos.
However, with all the metadata information being downloaded in the process, it will be much easier for you to organize the downloaded movies and TV shows with your media server tools, such as the StreamFab Player 6 -- both a powerful media player and media managing tool combined. See the reference picture below to have a general idea of how metadata information can help you easily manage your local media library.
Moreover, when the download completes in the downloader, your downloaded streaming movies, and TV shows can be easily found under Your Library > Local Files > Music/Videos. But if you are using the streaming downloader series, the downloaded files can be found under the Finished tab at that specific streaming downloader's main interface.
If you want to playback a video, just click the Play button from the contextual menu of that video, then the downloader will start up StreamFab Player 6, the default media player that's associated with Downloader, to play it.
Additional Tips: Playing the downloaded streaming videos is totally free with StreamFab Player 6, meaning you even don't have to purchase the media player unless you want to play the downloaded 4K (and above) videos or H.265 encoded videos.
As you can see from above, StreamFab Downloader is an all-inclusive download solution package to answer your question of how to download streaming videos from any website. In other words, no matter which streaming service you choose, StreamFab Downloader has you covered whenever you need to download streaming videos from the service you’ve subscribed to.
Moreover, in case you are having difficulties picking out the best streaming service fitting your needs the best, don’t hesitate to check out our topic on what are the best movie streaming sites today.
- What are the best streaming services for on-demand videos today?
As the first one stepping into the arena, Netflix is still the No.1 streaming king, both in terms of streaming library volume, and in terms of originals. But other major players, such as Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV+, Paramount+ are catching up at a fast pace.
- Are the streaming videos downloadable for offline viewing?
Well, that depends on the type of streaming videos. For on-demand streaming videos, the answer is YES. Some streaming services even allow you to download their on-demand videos officially, despite certain limits. If you prefer a 3rd-party streaming downloader software that allows you to download streaming videos from any website for offline viewing without any strings, then StreamFab's streaming downloader series is your best shot on that purpose. However, if you are talking about the live streaming programs from those live TV channels, then the answer is NO. That being said, you still can get the live programs through other means, like the DVR option offered by almost every live TV streaming service, or you may also opt for a screen recorder software such as Camtasia Studio to record everything that’s being played on your computer screen.
- Are there live TV streaming apps if I want to be a cord cutter?
Sure. There are many options out there. The most notable brands include SlingTV, FuboTV, Tubi, YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV, AT&T TV, ESPN Go, etc., which are cable/satellite TV replacements covering different aspects of streaming contents, including news, local TV channels, sports, documentaries, live concerts and musicals, and more.
- Do I need to be a subscriber to download streaming videos on demand?
Yes, absolutely. With StreamFab streaming downloader series, you need to log in to your subscription account to be able to download streaming videos you would like to download to local hard drives for offline viewing or simply for collection purposes.
- Do I need to purchase the different modules in order to download streaming videos from different streaming services?
Yes. All the streaming downloaders inside the StreamFab Downloader suite are sold separately. You can choose the one named after your subscribed streaming service. For example, if you are with Netflix, then you should purchase the Netflix Downloader module, the same goes for the Amazon Downloader, Hulu Downloader, Apple TV Plus Downloader, Paramount Plus Downloader, Disney Plus Downloader, etc. However, if you only want to download online videos and music from YouTube and other 1000+ websites, then YouTube Downloader Pro that contains both YouTube Downloader and YouTube to MP3 is your best choice.
- Do I need a special streaming device to stream on-demand videos?
Not a special one. As long as you have a computer and live internet connection, you are ready to stream from any streaming service. Just head to the website of your target streaming service, and start to binge-watch. That being said, if you want to stream on some other devices, you can do that on your smartphone, tablet, game console, or smart TV. Don’t worry, nearly all the streaming services have their tailored apps for major portable and mobile devices, Apple devices, Android devices, Amazon Fire devices, Google devices, as well as a large range of select smart TV models. So, there is no need to worry about that.
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