How to Save Streaming Videos on a Mac

by Christopher Capelle

Saving streaming video from the Internet to your Mac is a fairly straight-ahead process. You don't have to spend any money on additional hardware or software, and all that is required is a reasonably recent Mac along with a broadband Internet connection. The saved video can be played in iTunes, which is a free download. You also have the option to edit and burn the video to a DVD using Apple's iMove and iDVD software, both of which are part of the iLife bundle.

You can download Firefox and Mozilla's DownloadHelper.

Download the current version of Mozilla's Firefox browser from Mozilla's Website (see Resources) if you don't already have it installed. If you already use Firefox, pull down the "Help" menu and select "Check For Updates."

Firefox may already be installed on your Mac.

Visit Mozilla's add-on website (see Resources) and click on the "Add To Firefox" button. Depending on your settings, you may have to confirm that the download is coming from a trusted source, which it is. Click on the "Install Now" button. Relaunch Firefox when prompted, and a window named "Add-ons" will open.

Launch a website that features video content, such as YouTube. Select a video you want to capture, but instead of clicking on the play button, right-click on the video window and select "Download Video" from the pull-down menu, which is the bottom choice. The video will then download to your computer in MP4 format.

You can watch your captured videos on your iPod.

Launch iTunes and select "Add to Library" ("Command" and "O") from under the File menu to import the video into iTunes. Navigate to the MP4 file that you downloaded, highlight it and select "Choose." The imported video file will be stored in "Movies" in the source pane (the list in the left part of the iTunes window). If you have an iPod that supports video content, you will be able to sync the video to your iPod.

The Internet has changed the way we watch videos.

Launch Firefox and open the downloaded MP4 file by selecting "Open File" ("Command" and "O") from under the File menu if you simply want to watch the video without importing it to iTunes. Look at the URL bar in Firefox; the URL will start with "file:///", which indicates you're playing the video directly from your computer, not the Internet.

You can use iMovie and iDVD to burn your videos to DVD.

Import the video into iMovie by launching iMovie and selecting "Import" then "Movies" from under the File menu. In iMovie you'll have the option to edit the video, add or subtract audio and eventually burn it to disk using iDVD.

Tips

  • You can tweak Firefox's preferences to save the videos as Flash (.fla) files.
  • If you plan on editing video content, you should max out the RAM on your Mac.
  • Sticking with the default settings in DownloadHelper is fine in most instances.

Warnings

  • Profiting from copyrighted materials you don't own is illegal.
  • Video files tend to be large, so confirm you have plenty of free space on your hard drive.

Items you will need

About the Author

Christopher Capelle is a freelance copywriter with over two decades of experience. Subjects of his writing include the business and technology fields, consumer products and home repair/improvement. He graduated from The University of Connecticut and earned a master's degree in journalism from Iona College.

More Articles

Photo Credits