Uses the GPU to play downloaded videos

Save music & video streams from the network

Verena Ottmann

Media libraries and streaming portals only offer some content for a limited time. So that you have access to it even after the expiry time, you can make a private copy - completely legally!

EnlargeFilms and music from the web can also be downloaded onto a PC.
© Photo: © kentoh - AdobeStock

Many video streaming platforms offer low rental rates, with which you, for example, only have a limited time available to watch a film. Music services also often have a similar subscription model; streaming is then possible, but not downloading. We'll show you what legal options there are to save your favorite music and series without expensive subscription costs and enjoy them anytime, anywhere.

Legal situation: private copying is allowed

According to §? 53 of the Copyright Act (UrhG), “individual reproductions of a work by a natural person for private use on any medium are [permitted], provided they are neither directly nor indirectly used for commercial purposes, unless an obviously illegally produced or made publicly available reproduction In other words, as with music and films on DVD or Blu-ray, you can also save content from streaming portals for private purposes, as long as you use a legal source (i.e. a subscription). But: It is not allowed to pass it on to third parties!

However, permission to make a private copy does not mean that you can use any method to make it. Basically, copying streaming content means recording what is shown during playback. There are two ways of doing this: You can either film the screen content using software (more on this later) or you can pick up the image signals directly on the graphics card. You will achieve better results with the help of the latter procedure, but - despite permitted private copying - it cannot be assessed legally correctly in some cases.

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Filming the screen: A bit cumbersome to use

EnlargeFilming the screen content with Debut Video Capture gives good results.

One way of recording video content that is running on your display is so-called screen capture software. It films everything that happens on your screen, including displaced windows, mouse movements, etc. This method is used, for example, by gamers who want to stream their skills live straight away. The freeware Debut Video Capture does a good job here.

EnlargeDebut Video Capture lists all recordings with the most important information.

After the installation, first start the program and then use the first button at the bottom left ("Select recording window") to select the part of the screen that you want to record. The use of two monitors is recommended here because you can control video playback on one and Debut Video Capture on the other. Once the recording area has been defined, start recording and playback. Here, too, there are various options for video quality and storage location to choose from in the settings. You can use Debut Video Capture or another player to view the recordings.

Freely available content: tap videos directly

EnlargeThe VLC player can record everything that it can play itself.

When it comes to recording video content, VLC player goes a step further. He is able to record everything he can display himself, i.e. freely available content such as YouTube clips and the like. All you need to record a video stream is its URL.

In the standard settings, the recording function or the control buttons are not yet displayed. You have to do this yourself via "View, Advanced Control". In the following, select the option “Input / Codecs” under “Tools, Settings” and choose the folder in which the recordings are to be saved under “Files”.

EnlargeIn the VLC player, enter the URL to the video that you want to record.

Next, open the video that you want to record and enter its URL in the VLC player in the input line under "Media -› Open network stream - ›Network". You start the same with the "Playback" button, and you start the recording with the red recording button in the advanced controls. If required, switch the view to full-screen mode using the corresponding button in the control bar. Attention: If the video is upside down, tap under “Tools” on the tab “Video Effects”, then on “Geometry” and uncheck “Transform (rotate 180 degrees)”. Save the setting and close the dialog. The video will now play correctly.

EnlargeOpen Broadcaster Software (OBS) is a very powerful software for recording and streaming.

OBS Studio offers you a very powerful alternative to the VLC player. After the first start, a setup wizard helps with the configuration. In the first step, you can choose whether recording or streaming is more important to you, we will decide on the first option. Click through "Video Settings" and save everything. In the main window you define a source using the + symbol. Here you can, for example, specify your browser for entering a URL or the option "Screen recording". Enter the video link in the URL line.

EnlargeIf you specify the screen view as the source for OBS, you can theoretically also record content from paid streaming services.