Five tips to capture streaming media
Streaming audio and video is everywhere these days. You can listen to radio
broadcasts and watch Internet TV. Unlike downloading media files, however,
streaming media is designed for one-time viewing for listening. If you want to
record it you need some way to “capture” the stream.
Capturing streaming audio works the same way as recording a TV broadcast to VCR
or music from a radio station to a cassette. You need special software which
does the actual job of capturing and converts it to a format like MP3 which you
can use in your regular media player.
There are a few tips to get started with capturing streaming audio or video.
1. Use the appropriate software for the type of stream you are trying to
capture. Some software packages are specifically designed for a particular type
of streaming media like Shoutcast radio stations or Realmedia video.
2. Find the appropriate URL of the media stream. This can be a little bit tricky
because the source of the stream may be hidden in a metafile. Some capturing
software can automatically detect the URL but otherwise you must look at the
metafile in a text editor to find out where the stream is coming from.
3. Allow suitable bandwidth for the type of media stream you are capturing.
Unless your download speed is sufficient you may experience “stuttering” -- the
stream stops and starts as a sufficient amount of data is buffered. This can be
very annoying on playback and may require editing to smooth it out. Video
requires more bandwidth and audio.
4. Choose software which converts the media stream to an appropriate format. For
example, if you are capturing a radio broadcast, it makes sense to save the file
as an MP3 file which can be played with any media player.
5. Update your media capturing software frequently. This is a relatively new
field, so many software packages are evolving rapidly to iron out bugs and add
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