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downloading protected/embedded videos - the hard way

Charged with the task to save a news broadcast for posteriority, I wanted to download a video that was only available through an embedded "JW Player" videoplayer on a website. Time was not on my side: the video would be purged from the site within a week.

In the HTML source of the webpage containing the video, I found tags like
data-video-src="http://media.XYZnieuws.net/GEO2013/09/230916509ONL1309244843676.GeoFLVLong.flv"
data-video-iphone-path="GEO2013/09/230916509ONL1309244843676.GeoMP4_H.264.m4v
or (from another video)
data-video-rtmp-path="2009/11/132628352ONL0911177754876.urlFLVLong.flv"
but I couldn't get a clear URL out of the page's source code (URLs anonymized to protect involved parties).
After a bit of research (a.o. channeling browser traffic through a proxy and looking at the URLs being requested), the files used by the JW Player were still a mystery to me, but I found the server that was hosting the iphone video files: iphone.WXYpower.be. And that's where I got lucky: requesting http://iphone.WXYpower.be/XYZnieuws_geomo/_definst_/GEO2013/09/230916509ONL1309244843676.GeoMP4_H.264.m4v/chunklist.m3u8
resulted in a list of media_N.ts files (where N is a number starting from 1, and in this case ranging to 169).
Fetching all those files (wget) and concatenating them (cat) into one big file, gave me a large mpeg file, playable in VLC. Converting it to mp4 with handbrake reduced it to 75% its original size.

Comments

Could you explain to me please how I could do something like that? I want to download a video from vkontakte that is protected, I get the html with firebug, thank you for paying attention >.<
Bert de Bruijn said…
Try to find how the side serves video to iphone (and maybe other mobile) clients. As I've described, if you can fetch those files, you can combine them into a usable video file.

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