How to Download a C-Span Video
By John Lister
Downloading videos from the Web in general can be a hairy process: doing so is legally questionable, technically challenging and even a security risk if you use software "solutions" from less reputable sources. With C-Span, luckily, you can forget these worries as the site lets you purchase and download full-length videos of hearings and legislative sessions.
Purchasing and Downloading
You can purchase clips from each video's page on the C-Span site (see link in Resources); the link to purchase a given clip is to the right of the page below the transcript. After completing your purchase you'll get a download link that should be ready to use within ten minutes plus the length of the clip, although if you are purchasing a full-length video the download link should be ready much more quickly.
Format and Size
C-Span videos average around 200MB per full hour if you select the standard quality option and 73MB per full hour if you select the cheaper, low-quality version. Clips are in MP4 format, which is compatible with most video-playback software and mobile devices. You can also order physical DVDs of full-length videos for delivery by mail, although this option costs more than a download.
A professional writer since 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, John Lister ran the press department for the Plain English Campaign until 2005. He then worked as a freelance writer with credits including national newspapers, magazines and online work. He specializes in technology and communications.