A Comprehensive Guide to Downloading Streaming Videos Using Python and FFmpeg

This article explains how to download streaming videos using Python and FFmpeg and watch them offline.

Streaming services have developed to the point where we can enjoy video content anytime, anywhere. However, there are times when the internet connection is unstable, or we want to watch videos offline later. In such cases, being able to download streaming videos is very useful.

In this article, we will explore how to download streaming videos using Python and FFmpeg. This process involves capturing network packets, analyzing m3u8 files, downloading each segment, and combining them into a single video file.

Capturing Network Packets with Python

What is a Network Packet?

A network packet is the basic unit of data transmitted over the internet. It contains the sender and receiver addresses, data content, and control information. Capturing network packets allows you to analyze all data occurring on the network, through which you can extract the URL of the streaming video.

Capturing Network Packets with Scapy

Python’s Scapy library is very useful for capturing and analyzing network packets. Let’s install Scapy and write a basic packet capture script.

pip install scapy
from scapy.all import sniff

def packet_callback(packet):
    if packet.haslayer('Raw'):
        payload = packet['Raw'].load
        if b".m3u8" in payload:
            print(f"Found m3u8 URL in packet: {payload}")

print("Starting packet capture...")
sniff(prn=packet_callback, filter="tcp", store=0)

This script is a basic example of finding the URL of an m3u8 file in TCP packets. It monitors network traffic in real-time to find specific patterns.

Analyzing m3u8 Files and Downloading Video Segments

What is an m3u8 File?

An m3u8 file is a playlist file used in HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) that contains the URLs of multiple .ts segment files that make up the video.

Downloading and Analyzing m3u8 Files with Python

Next, let’s look at how to download and analyze m3u8 files using Python. With the m3u8 library, you can easily load the playlist and extract segment URLs.

pip install m3u8
import m3u8
from urllib.parse import urljoin

m3u8_url = 'https://example.com/path/to/playlist.m3u8'
m3u8_obj = m3u8.load(m3u8_url)
segments = m3u8_obj.segments

for segment in segments:
    ts_url = urljoin(m3u8_url, segment.uri)
    print(f"Segment URL: {ts_url}")

This code is a basic example of extracting segment URLs from an m3u8 file. You can use the extracted segment URLs to download individual .ts files.

Downloading and Merging Individual Video Segments

Merging Downloaded Video Segments

After downloading the video segments, you need to merge them into a single continuous video file. For this, you can use FFmpeg, a powerful tool for handling multimedia files.

Using FFmpeg in Python

After installing FFmpeg, you can execute FFmpeg commands in a Python script to merge the downloaded segments.

pip install ffmpeg-python
import ffmpeg

def merge_ts_files(ts_files, output_file):
    with open("file_list.txt", "w") as f:
        for ts_file in ts_files:
            f.write(f"file '{ts_file}'\n")

    ffmpeg.input('file_list.txt', format='concat', safe=0).output(output_file, c='copy').run()

ts_files = ['seg-1.ts', 'seg-2.ts', 'seg-3.ts']
merge_ts_files(ts_files, 'output_video.mp4')

This code is an example of merging individual .ts files into a single video file using FFmpeg.


In this article, we explored how to download streaming videos using Python and FFmpeg. We covered capturing network packets, analyzing m3u8 files, downloading video segments, and merging them into a single file. With these techniques, you can save and enjoy video content offline anytime, anywhere. Video content plays a significant role in modern society, and understanding how to effectively utilize it can be highly beneficial.

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