How to Download Encrypted FLVs


Ok. First: Don’t to this. Theoretical exercise. Technical experience. DRM stuff. People getting mad, etc etc etc.

or really… how I did it because I’m sure there are a million easier ways. This method involves using terminal and looking at webpage source code, so if those things make you nervous… uuuhhh…. sorry.

  • 1. Lets say you’re watching the Colbert report and you want to download the video thats there. For later, like to watch on the train. Route around in the source and find the asset which makes the video play. Probably has *.swf in there somewhere (but probably not at the end of the string)*. Copy that to your clipboard and then paste it in your location bar. Hit enter.

  • *If it DOES have something like .flv or .mp4 or .mov RIGHT AT THE END of a string – no ? or & or = or fancy stuff – you’re probably in luck. If it doesn’t download (or appear to save) right away when you put it into your location bar, then try giving wget in terminal a try. Just simply
    wget http://thiswebsite/iwant/tostealavideofrom/thisvideo.mp4

  • 2. So now you have a screen which is one big flash player. Hit play if you want, but again: view the source. There’s another tag in there, probably an object tag, and it has an src attribute. Copy the contents of that SRC attribute to your clipboard.
  • 3. Google “url decoder” or use your favorite url decoder if you already have one. Paste that src tag into the decoder, decode it. Copy it, paste it into your location bar and hit enter. You get something that looks like an xml document
  • 4. Now, if it hasn’t already (which it probably has) this is where things will begin to vary differently depending upon which service is provided the encrypted stream. Basically, use your brains and eyes to locate the link in this weird xml document that looks like its either linking to an array of resources, or one specific video resource. For Colbert, it looks something like this:[REDACTED]?

  • 5. Copy this resource and put it into your location bar; hit enter. 1 of two things might happen: either 1.) you’ll be looking at a video for you to download or 2.) you’ll be looking at a string of resources. Those resources probably begin with the RTMPE or RTMP protocol. Copy the RTMPE protocol location of the video you want to view. Might look like:


  • 6. Download, install and use RTMPDUMP to copy this stream to a file:
  • 7. Beer o’clock
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