Downloading a live streaming video seems to be more complicated than downloading a video in normal container format. Before bringing up the definition of HLS streaming, there is one video technology called Adobe's Flash, which was the main method of delivering video via the internet. In recent years it has been replaced by the protocols of HLS streaming. How to make HLS streaming downloaded via online solution and offline app is the topic going to be discussed in this article.

What is HLS Streaming?

HLS is a media streaming protocol standing for HTTP Live Streaming. It is used for delivering visual and audio media to the users over the internet. The HLS was launched by the Apple in the summer of 2009, the same year as iPhone 3 being launched. The earlier generation of iPhone often encountered the problems of streaming media online since these older devices had to switch between Wi-Fi and mobile networks. Before the debuting of HLS streaming, apple used the QuickTime Streaming server as its media streaming standard. Due to the non-standardized ports for data transferring, this kind of protocol often blocked by the firewalls.

HLS streaming finally learned a lesson from what the QuickTime has experienced and made a leap in its service.

What should You Do before HLS Streaming Download?

Before downloading HLS streaming, the key part is to get the address of m3u8. The following section is all about the solution to get the address of m3u8.

Step 1: open one HLS streaming video clip. As this video clip requires to be played with flash, make sure that the flash is set to usable.

Step 2: switch to a new interface with Network panel. After opening the video website, move the cursor to the blank area of the interface and right-click the mouse to pop out a new interface, from which there is a network panel pointed by the red marker as the picture above. Click the "Network" button to switch to a new interface.

Step 3: acquire the m3u8 address. Refresh the webpage via quick keyboard "Ctrl+R" or use the refresh button of the webpage browser. Replay the video and after a few seconds, click the pause button in red circle as below.

Click the searching icon in red circle as below and enter the code ".m3u8" to search for the m3u8 files. You will see a list of files with suffix of .m3u8 at the left area.

Step 4: copy the link address. Click the m3u8 file at the left area and it is shown correspondently to the right. Right-click the mouse and choose copy>copy link address to copy the link address of m3u8 file.

With the steps above you will successfully get the link address of m3u8.

Chrome Extension for HLS Streaming Download

The app HLS Downloader 3.0.0 CRX for Chrome well support HLS streaming download only by some simple steps.

  • 1. Open a tab with an HTTP live stream.
  • 2. Click the extension icon and choose the m3u8 playlist.
  • 3. Select a playlist.
  • 4. Wait for the download to complete.
  • 5. Download the file.

The download process might break down while you are trying to store or download the HLS streaming to your PC with the HLS downloader for Chrome. Even if the downloading is successful, you might have to incorporate the ts files about 2 seconds by yourself since the HLS downloader is incapable of incorporation. This method is not recommended for downloading the HLS streaming.

Software Tool for HLS Streaming Download

Now that the solution to download the HLS streaming via Chrome extension is not the optimum, try another solution with the software tool.

  • Leawo Video Downloader
  • Leawo Video Downloader

    1. Download Video & Music from 1000+ Sites
    2. Download Live Stream Videos from YouTube Live and Others
    3. 720P and Even 1080P HD Video Downloading
    4. 6X Faster Online Video Downloading
    5. Smarter Downloading Settings
    6. 1-Click to Play Downloaded Videos
    7. Provid Precise Video Info

Leawo video downloader is a powerful video downloader for downloading videos like movies, video clips, music videos, TV show videos as well as live videos from various live streaming platforms like bilibili, YouTube live and facebook live, which means that it can act as Bilibili downloader. Taking the bilibili as an example, it is one of the most popular live streaming website in China, also a concentration platform for Chinese youngsters to download the live streaming.

The live videos downloading can be categorized as two types, one is direct live video URL and the other is live video m3u8 link. The downloading speed is far beyond the average level of the video downloader. Owning to the advanced speed acceleration technologies, the Leawo video downloader can operate at a 6x higher speed.

Before operating the video downloader, you need to download and install the Leawo Prof. Media as it is the primary program for the video downloader.

Step 1: set output directory

Primary setting is included in the setting panel with one click on the setting icon locating in the top ribbon. Select the option of downloader and you can set an output directory in the "save videos to" box. Click "ok" button to save the setting.

Step 2: run the video downloader

After returning from the output directory setting, you can access the module of video downloader by clicking the "video downloader" or the "download" button.

Step 3: input the link address to visit the live streaming website

As a default setting of the program, the main interface of video downloader is Users can change the homepage setting to any other webpage as you set in the setting panel.

Input the link address of m3u8 URL directly into the location bar to visit. Both the live video URL or the M3U8 link can be simply input to run the corresponding website.

Step 4: download the targeted file

The link address you input the location bar will lead you to a new interface where qualified videos are illustrated. Select the one you like and lick the download button to download the file.

Step 5: check download status

The buttons "downloading" and "downloaded" are for checking the download status. Video being downloaded or download finished can be checked in the corresponding panel. By right-clicking the downloaded video, you will see options such as add to convert, add to burn from the menu.

Conversion of video is taken charge of by another module, the video converter. For example, if the video we download with the video downloader is in MP4 container format, we can use the "add to convert" button to convert MP4 into MP3 container format via video converter.

FFmpeg for HLS Streaming Download

FFmpeg seems unfamiliar to many of the users especially a starter working on codec. However, download HLS streaming is far less simple than you imagine. Just follow the steps one by one to download.

  • Step 1: download and install FFmpeg if you haven't done it.
  • Step 2: go to the HLS streaming site from where you want to grab the m3u8 video URL.
  • Step 3: in the start menu, search and open the PowerShell or command prompt.
  • Step 4: replace the part of "http: //" on the website: ffmpeg -i "http: //" -c copy -bsf:an aac adtstoasc "output.mp4" with the actual m3u8 video URL and execute it.
  • Step 5: FFmpeg will start the downloading process once you execute the command. Each individual .ts file will be downloaded and added to create a single mp4 video files. The complete video can be checked in the designated location.

Comparisons of 3 Solutions for HLS Streaming Download

HLS streaming download has become more and more popular as it is the best way to keep the videos without worrying about the video is gone. The article covers three solutions for downloading HLS streaming and also raise the question for the user: which one should I choose? See the comparisons of them and make a choice.

Program Downside Upside
Chrome extension Might not be able to encrypt the video/the downloaded HLS streaming might fail in transmitting/the ts files should be incorporated with other files Free to use in Firefox and Chrome
FFmpeg It requires the user has the basic knowledge for IT/requires to know how to abstract the m3u8 URL/ downloading is not guaranteed Allow downloading the free HLS streaming as MP4 file
Leawo Video Downloader Requires to abstract the m3u8 URL for using/paid software Downloading process guaranteed/selectable video resolutions/allow downloading HLS streaming as MP4 file/free to download at maximum 5 videos


No matter which solution is adopted to download the HLS streaming, the first step is to abstract the m3u8 URL which has been taught in the second section of the article. Comparing with the other two solutions, Leawo video downloader is capable of downloading the HLS streaming with higher rate of success. It is a more reliable app in downloading not only normal video files but also live streaming videos.