HolidayBuyer's Guide

The CNET Lounge forum

General discussion

How to download Hulu shows

by Slikkster / March 13, 2008 7:36 AM PDT

I emailed BOL, but I never seem to make the cut. Such is life. Anyway, on Episode 678, Molly was talking about the only drawback --if there is a drawback -- to Hulu.com is that it's not portable. You can't "record"/save episodes you watch on Hulu, or better said, they don't provide you that opportunity.

However, as with most things, there IS a way, and it's pretty easy to do as well as being very quick. It's NOT free, however.

It's a piece of software from Applian Technologies called "Replay Media Catcher". It's $39.95. It will "record"/capture/download media streams and save them to your hard drive. Hulu.com streams in the Flash Video format, so the files are saved with a rather long file name ending in .flv You can, of course, rename it to something much more manageable so long as you maintain the .flv extension.

Replay Media Catcher comes with a freeware Flash viewer, but I'm sure there are plenty of others available. I know there are freeware video file converters, too, in case your device needs some format other than flash video.

Here's what I've found:

On regular 4:3 aspect shows (like the Simpsons), the files are in the 480i resolution: 480 x 360. For widescreen shows, like 30 Rock, for example, the files are still in "SD", but they retain their widescreen aspect at 640 x 360.

Advantages of Replay Media Catcher:

The videos are NOT downloaded/saved in real time, i.e. second by second as they are displayed. They are, rather, downloaded IMMEDIATELY as soon as you launch the video. You can even browse away from Hulu or close the browser altogether. Replay Media Catcher will continue to save the flash file until it's complete. I was able to download a full 30 minute episode of 30 Rock in all of two minutes. I exited Hulu as soon as the video loaded up and started. So, as you can imagine, you can download and save quite a few shows in a very short time period.

To be clear, then, you do not have to wait or watch the show to have it saved. It's done right away, like any other file download would be.

There is NO DRM on these videos once saved. They are totally unencrypted.

This software will also capture audio-only streams.

Note: In my searches, I've run across a couple of totally free "Download Streaming Video" and "Convert Streaming Video on the Fly" websites, where you plug in the URL of the video you want to watch, and it will download and/or convert the video for you to save locally. I couldn't get them to work with Hulu, however. They seem to be geared toward youtube-type sites. Maybe it's because the REAL URL isn't really displayed by the browser when viewing these videos.

Note 2: I just tried Replay Media Catcher to see if it would capture Netflix streaming. Alas, no, it won't. Seems like Netflix added something else in the mix, or isn't flash-based.

Replay Media Catcher Link: http://www.applian.com/replay-media-catcher/

Now, as far as legalities go, Applian is a legit company. I don't know what the legal deal is with capturing streaming. So, I'll leave that decision up to you.

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: How to download Hulu shows
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: How to download Hulu shows
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Netflix
by Natronx / March 14, 2008 2:36 PM PDT
Collapse -
Well, guess what?
by Slikkster / March 14, 2008 10:13 PM PDT
In reply to: Netflix

Thanks for the info on Netflix and Silverlight. I went back to the Applian homepage to see if they deal with that, and apparently, THEY DO!

They've got a streaming capture program that does much more than just Flash called "Replay Screencast", and it's cheaper than Replay Media Catcher, no less. They say it will record Netflix streaming and convert it into a Windows Media file you can take anywhere.

It also let's you create your own tutorials and videos by recording the screen activity. Anyway, I don't want to sound like I own the company, so I'll let people do their own investigating on that. But I'm going to see if I can get a cheap upgrade price on it to test it out on Netflix streams.

Collapse -
Replay Screencast
by Natronx / March 15, 2008 3:32 PM PDT
In reply to: Well, guess what?

Dude, wouldn't Replay Screencast record mouse movements and record "now buffering" messages on your screen. I'm sure the program serves a useful purpose, but recording a 2 hour movie doesn't seem to be something it would do very well.

I don't think you should worry about being a hacker, and instead just pay Netflix $9 a month for all you can eat movies.

Sorry if I'm being a little harsh.

Collapse -
Actually
by Slikkster / March 15, 2008 10:50 PM PDT
In reply to: Replay Screencast

The Screencast program lets you define a window size that you want to record, so it's not getting things outside that window. However, it takes far too much horsepower to actually get a good recording, since the Netflix stream has to stream in real time, while the Screencast program is trying to record it. Way too choppy, and terrible frame rates.

As for "hacking", keep in mind the whole idea here is to make these videos PORTABLE, so you can take them with you on an Ipod or similar. The idea is that you wouldn't need an internet connection or appropriate browser to view them. If I have a video Ipod (not the Touch) or other video portable, I just want to watch a video on my own time without sitting in front of my wi-fi laptop or home desktop. Comprendo? That's what this whole exercise is all about.

You wouldn't want to have to sit in front of your home desktop or wi-fi laptop to hear mp3's, would you? Why not videos, then?

I HAVE a Netflix account, otherwise I wouldn't be able to test the capturing.

Collapse -
Netflix doesn't offer portability
by Natronx / March 16, 2008 2:17 PM PDT
In reply to: Actually

As far as portability, I don't think that Netflix is offering that for $9 a month. If you want movies on your iPod, check out iTunes.

I don't want to see anyone banned from CNET so you may want to check out the CNET usage policies under 'Piracy or Unlawful Activities' before go on any further:
http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-7600_7-5565331-1.html

Peace out.

Collapse -
Look...
by Slikkster / March 16, 2008 10:37 PM PDT

Nowhere have I advocated "sharing" or uploading videos. So let's be clear about that. This really goes to the old question of what's acceptable for someone who's ALREADY PAID for the content (in the case of Netflix). Under no circumstances am I here to say anyone should be distributing private content. I'm talking about personal portable use only, and I think that's pretty clear from my previous posts.

Thanks for your concern.

Collapse -
(NT) it's illegal to keep copies of rented movies
by robstak / March 17, 2008 9:36 AM PDT
In reply to: Look...
Collapse -
Upon further review:
by Slikkster / March 17, 2008 10:50 AM PDT

After reading some of the "Terms of Service" notes on Hulu.com, it appears that even saving an offline file would probably fit into the "copying" restriction they employ in the TOS.

My intentions were honorable, but if mods feel this thread promotes piracy (which is certainly not my intent), please feel free to delete the thread.

Apologies to those who may have taken offense. I was only interested in bringing portability to these videos; nothing else.

Collapse -
Fair Use
by Renegade Knight / March 31, 2008 4:29 AM PDT
In reply to: Upon further review:

Your method is nothing more than a digital VCR. On regualr TV it's 100% legitimate fair use. The concept really doesn't change when you go digital. You are recording a show for later enjoyment. In neither case are you supposed to share it and that's fair enough since anyone can get on Hulu anwyway.

The only issue is the TOS restricting your fair use. That TOS is different than copyright law.

Collapse -
Screw em
by Nicholas Buenk / March 31, 2008 9:00 AM PDT
In reply to: Fair Use

If they write such an absurd TOS, just ignore it. *** for tat.

Collapse -
But No right
by Kermode / August 6, 2008 6:06 AM PDT
In reply to: Fair Use

No, its not the same when its digital, and everything changes. It's important to realize, and most don't, the you don't have a RIGHT to record things from TV - the US Supreme court never said that. If the studios could have prevented you from doing that they would (they tried). However, this time when there is new technology they are awake from the start, and they will try to prevent you from keeping copies if they can - and since you don't have a right to record, they can try all the want.

Collapse -
right to record
by kulro / September 6, 2008 12:18 AM PDT
In reply to: But No right

in reply to no right to record. you are incorrect. look up sony betamax case on wiki and you will find "Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417 (1984)[1], also known as the "Betamax case", was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States which ruled that the making of individual copies of complete television shows for purposes of time-shifting does not constitute copyright infringement, but is fair use. The Court also ruled that the manufacturers of home video recording devices, such as Betamax or other VCRs (referred to as VTRs in the case), cannot be liable for infringement. The case was a boon to the home video market as it created a legal safe haven for the technology, which also significantly benefited the entertainment industry through the sale of pre-recorded movies."

Studios hate this and since they lost the case they have tried everything including orwellian disinformation to try to change the outcome. It is the digital millennium copyright act that congress passed that said you can't circumvent digital rights management which can be in transmissions. no where does it say you cant record. so if the stream is unencrypted then it is not illegal to record.

Collapse -
That's Fair use
by Renegade Knight / November 13, 2008 4:06 AM PST
In reply to: right to record

Thats fair use. Your point is noted though and to be honest I rely on that intrepretation when I record things for later viewing that I have no intention of keeping.

Collapse -
guys get a life. lock me up for recording the Radio Station
by The_killershark / November 12, 2008 6:02 PM PST
In reply to: But No right

Or better yet when the VCR came out. Who didn?t rescored TV shows? Oh, wait we have TiVo better lock them up to. Who isn?t recording TV shows and what about Pay Preview movies? What about dish network and the list of subscribers. Wow a lot of people to lock up. Here is a hint andyone who works for the big Tv corporations come and sue us or blah blah blah blah blah blah Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Blah blah blah blah blah blah

Oh don?t forget if you copy a real program such as windows, MS Office or any real program then that is illegal.

So anyways I rescored from the radio station the rolling stones who wants a copy?

Collapse -
Can't download from Hulu
by 7Steve / April 2, 2009 7:12 AM PDT

None of the Hulu capture programs I've tried works at all. They all say the capture FLV file or can somehow get the true URL from Hulu. Not in my experience. Yes, if the URL ends in FLV as it does on most sites. However all Hulu video URL's end in "PSA". and so far not even a program that calls itself Hulu downloader has been able to record it! Realplaer and replay both only down load the HTML target not the FLV file. I end up with nothing downloaded except the link to the page it was on. useless!

Collapse -
Dude
by allen26758 / July 12, 2008 5:05 PM PDT
In reply to: Replay Screencast

Dude Natronx,
You should try to not be such a ******.

Sorry if I'm being a little harsh.
Peace out

Collapse -
It solves a problem.
by Renegade Knight / November 13, 2008 4:03 AM PST
In reply to: Replay Screencast

Netflix streams live. There are too many issues wiht live streaming that cause interruptions in your bought and paid for rental and lessen your enjoyment. If you could download it first (which Netflix doesn't let you do) and then play it back you can avoid the bandwith issues that stop Netflix in it's tracks and stops your movie while it waits.

Seemless plaback vs. indeterminate and choppy playback. I'd say he's got a solution to a problem.

Collapse -
(NT) How to download Hulu shows
by EL1TQFV5 / March 27, 2008 12:31 PM PDT
Collapse -
Site Sadness
by EL1TQFV5 / March 27, 2008 12:40 PM PDT

After composing what I hoped was a detailed and helpful message on saving and converting Hulu saved video to portable format using open tools and a CL script, the preview button ate my post. Sucks that. Not giving the site a chance to fool twice and shame on me once.

Collapse -
Free Alternative
by jashsayani / June 20, 2008 3:55 AM PDT
Collapse -
Its too hard to use
by Clio76 / March 10, 2009 2:51 AM PDT
In reply to: Free Alternative

I got sick of using orbits grabit++ tool although its free there is just too much stuffing around and it doesn't work all the time. I then started using Applain but that doesn't work any more so I am now using Jaksta http://www.jaksta.com. Jaksta works all the time and has worked perfectly since I bought it a few months ago

Collapse -
Also consider "Download Helper" a Firefox plugin
by Vance14 / June 23, 2008 12:59 AM PDT

I saw this on Tekzilla and it is great! It is a video catcher that you can add as a plugin to Firefox and a little icon sits on your toolbar. If you want to download any video that is on the page you are visiting, just click that icon and it will allow you to download the video into Flash (which can then be converted to whatever you like with other software). It just grabs the source, so you don't have to stay on the page while it downloads.

As always, legality issues are another matter.

Collapse -
Safari can download flash video without any plugin...
by Nicholas Buenk / June 24, 2008 1:17 PM PDT
Collapse -
Question
by Slikkster / August 6, 2008 7:12 AM PDT

The program I referred to at the outset of the thread will download the shows without any of the built-in commercials. In other words, the Flash files are separated, and its just content. Do these other options presented here work the same way?

Collapse -
Safari won't download hulu videos...
by mschwage / September 5, 2008 2:09 AM PDT

The macosxhints page does not help when downloading videos from hulu. It only downloads the advertisements.

I just tried it. Am on MacOSX 10.5.4.

Collapse -
David Lynch on the iPhone
by skellener / September 5, 2008 2:57 AM PDT
Collapse -
Thread locked...
by John.Wilkinson / April 2, 2009 12:53 PM PDT

Pending a superior ruling, this thread is locked as a violation of the Hulu TOS:

-- Quote --
"The copying, downloading, stream capturing, reproduction, duplication, archiving, distribution, uploading, publication, modification, translation, broadcast, performance, display, sale, or transmission of the Content is strictly prohibited unless it is expressly permitted by Hulu in writing."
-- End Quote --

John

Popular Forums
icon
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
icon
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
icon
Laptops 21,181 discussions
icon
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
icon
Phones 17,137 discussions
icon
Security 31,287 discussions
icon
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
icon
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
icon
Windows 10 2,657 discussions

The Samsung RF23M8090SG

One of the best French door fridges we've tested

A good-looking fridge with useful features like an auto-filling water pitcher and a temperature-adjustable "FlexZone" drawer. It was a near-flawless performer in our cooling tests.