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    How to Record Streaming Media: Save Audio and Video Streams as files to hard disk

    There are 2 types of Streaming Media: Streaming Audio and Streaming Video.

    How to record streaming audio

    Streaming audio is very easy to save because any signal produced by your sound card (Internet stream, music, audio from videogames, ...) can be easily recorded using Direct sound recording software.

    Another group of programs called Streaming Audio Rippers allows you to rip Internet audio broadcasts. If you're a fan of radio stations as well as other live and on-demand audio streams using:

    • Shoutcast/IceCast (.MP3, .AAC, .OGG)
    • Flash (.MP3)
    • Flash .FLV (audio only .FLV)
    • Live 365
    • Windows Media (.WMA)
    • Real Audio (.RM, .RA)
    in most cases you will be able to rip your favorite broadcasts. Streaming audio rippers actually download audio stream and save it to your hard disk (this process is also called audio stream ripping).

    Audio stream rippers support less stream formats (compared to Direct sound recorders), besides they usually can't record DRM protected streams (although in some cases you may record DRM protected stream and remove DRM protection with DRM removal software). But unlike Direct sound recorders, the quality of recordings of audio stream rippers doesn't depend on the quality of your sound card, audio file format settings. Also └udio stream rippers are absolute winners when recording on-demand streams that are affected by Internet congestion.

    Note that some programs (for example: Replay Music, StreamRipper) not only can record/rip audio stream, but also split your songs and tag them automatically.

    Also note that most streaming media recorders can record both audio and video streams (Although most of them can't split and tag songs automatically).

    P.S. Streaming audio recording software chart allows you to compare main feature of audio stream recording software. It also gives you editor's recommendations.

    How to record streaming video

    There are 3 main types of streaming media recording software:

    • VCR style recorders like WM Recorder. They are usually very easy to use even for newbies.
    • Download managers like HiDownload
    • Streaming media players like VLC and MPlayer that can dump raw stream to a media file on your hard disk.
    The following are the most popular media stream formats:
    • Flash Video streams: .MP3, .FLV and .MP4 (HTTP, RTMP, RTMPE protocols);
    • Windows Media audio and video streams: .WMA, .WMV, .ASF, .ASX, .WAX, .WMX, .WVX (HTTP, RTSP, MMS protocols)
    • QuickTime video: .MOV and .MP4 (HTTP and RTSP protocols)
    • Silverlight;
    • Real Audio, Real Media and Real Video streams: .RM, .RA, .RMVB (HTTP, RTSP, PNM protocols)
    • MoveMedia video streams;
    • Nullsoft video streams: .NSV (HTTP and UNSV protocols)
    Some streaming media recorders can download only a particular stream format like Windows Media or Real Video, others support several stream formats. And some media streams like MoveMediaPlayer video streams can't be recorded by any stream recorder at all.

    Supported stream formats and protocols as well as editor's recommendations can be found in the Streaming media recording software chart. You may also read about editor's recommendations in the FAQ: The best streaming media recorders.

    Anyway there is no streaming media recorder that works perfectly with every media stream. If you experience problems please try to download the latest version of the software you use or try to use alternative software. Sometimes free software is well worth trying.

    In case of non-recordable streams or DRM protected streams you may use Screen capture software and Direct audio recording software (although in few cases you may record DRM protected stream and remove DRM protection with DRM removal software).

    But please don't confuse non-recordable streams with the streams you can't record. The majority of stream recording problems comes from inabilty to find a stream URL. In case of a problem you may request a free assistance in the Streaming media recording forum, but before doing this please make sure you have done the following:

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    Note: Streaming audio/video recorders are not intended for use in circumventing copy protection mechanisms or for making illegal copies of copyrighted content. Please respect the rights of the content owners when recording.