Save streaming audio and video as a file with Mplayer

There are lots of sites that offer streaming audio and video services these days. A lot of these use Flash video, but some older sites use other streaming technologies, including Real, Windows Media and QuickTime to deliver the content.

Downloading these streams so you can save them for later is almost always possible. It's worth pointing out at this point that you should check as to whether you have the legal right to dump streams to your machine, but I'll leave it to you to do this responsibly.

One of the ways you can dump this type of stream to your computer is to use the media player Mplayer.

With Mplayer already installed, you simply use the -dumpstream command line option to tell it to read the stream and save it to a file (by default, called stream.dump).

$ mplayer -dumpstream streamurl

streamurl in this example is the URL of the stream, which usually begins with rtsp:// or mms://. The hardest part of actually ripping a stream in this way is discovering this URL, as sites often don't make this immediately available.

I'd recommend the Firefox extension UnPlug for this purpose, as it can often discover the stream URL for you, even if it is unable to do the whole ripping process. You can then copy and paste that URL into your mplayer -dumpstream command, and you'll get the media file.

Again, though, do this responsibly and legally. ;)

Avatar for peter Peter Upfold -

Peter Upfold is a technology enthusiast from the UK. Peter’s interest in Linux stems back to 2003, when curiosity got the better of him and he began using SUSE 9.0. Now he runs Linux Mint 9 on the desktop, runs a CentOS-based web server from home for his personal website and dabbles in all sorts of technology things across the Windows, Mac and open source worlds.

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Discussion: Save streaming audio and video as a file with Mplayer

  1. # Posted on 31 March 2008 at 05:17 AM

    <strong>Story added...</strong>

    This story has been submitted to! If you think this story should be read by the free software community, come vote it up and discuss it here:

  2. # Posted on 31 March 2008 at 09:16 PM

    [...] Save audio and video&nbsp;streams Filed under: Linux &#8212; 0ddn1x @ 2008-03-31 21:16:26 +0000 [...]

  3. Fooey (guest)

    # Posted on 08 July 2009 at 11:27 PM

    Normally, there's no need to 'discover' the rtsp://, as just pointing mplayer to the link privided with -playlist usually works.

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