All the latest news and reviews are now available via the NZTechie.com homepage at https://www.nztechie.com

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Saving Videos from TVNZ ondemand

When TVNZ launched the TVNZ ondemand website it gave New Zealanders a new method of consuming television content through their computers. The site proudly advertises that you can "Download of view your favourite shows online"

So it appears that you can stream a large amount of television content through your computer, and the option to "download" shows is fantastic. However, there is one small problem, where on earth is the "download" button? If you are like me you would have searched though dozens of videos to locate one that you can download and keep for yourself. It does not exist!

The website does not give you a one-click download facility to download your favourite shows. Fortunately, I have located a workaround that will let you download the video and keep it forever on your PC.

One Method

1. Connect to the TVNZ ondemand website at http://tvnzondemand.co.nz

2. Browse to the content the video you would like to download an make a copy of. The pre-video advertisement will play.

3. View the Source of the page displayed

In Mozilla Firefox -> View Menu -> Page Source
In Internet Explorer -> Page -> View Source

4. In Either Browser on the source display, press CTRL F to bring up the search dialogue box.

5. Enter the search string ".flv" into the search box and locate where it is highlighted on the page.

6. You will notice that a URL is embedded in the section you have located. Select the entire URL and download it to your PC. You may notice there may be multiple ".flv" files for your particular show. You will need to download each one.

You can paste the entire URL directly into your web browser, or you can paste it into any other download client you wish (e.g. FreshDownload etc).

7. Once the file is downloaded, rename the files extension from ".flv" to ".mpg" and your PC should be able to play the file normally.

At the time of writing, don't expect any stellar quality video as the majority of content is only available in standard definition.

REFERENCES

TVNZ ondemand goes live @ flog, by Adam Burmister

http://www.flog.co.nz/journal/tvnz-ondemand/

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately these ondemand services do not account for global travel.

Traveling Kiwis will not be able to watch there favourite TVNZ program unless they have an NZ based IP...pitty really.

Sam said...

Cheers, this was just what i was looking for. After a little editing I was able to join them together and have an avi to watch at home.ygcqmq

Michael said...

I have found the url's, and downloaded and renamed. But not been able to view the videos. Can you confirm that you are still able to use this method.

Thanks

Hayden Tennent said...

Michael, try installing the VLC media player from http://www.videolan.org/vlc/ and open the downloaded videos in this. You probably do not have some core codecs required to watch the video.

Arya said...

I tried to do this today and found that the .flv links are no longer embedded in the source as they apparently once were (oh dear, I though). This was the case for an episode of Shortland Street I was trying the process on, anyway. After a little searching, a lot of stabbing in the dark, and some luck, I found that the links are actually now stored in a '.smil' file, which is linked to a little conspicuously in the object tag.

Note the param child element, which specified the name attribute "flashVars" and has, as its value, a link to:

... value="playlist=/content/2499650/smil.smil&config=http://images.tvnz.co.nz/ondemand/images/config_r8898.xml" ...

The xml file to which it links specified an ecrypted RTMP streaming link, but the smil.smil file specifies the locations of .flv files for each part of the show in both 300k and 700k bitrates.

Success.

Hayden Tennent said...

Thanks you for that information Arya!

Patrick said...

How do I open the smil.smil file? I've found it but I cannot do anything with it, and I cannot find the 300k/700k links.

Wayne said...

what then? The smil.smil file says
rtmp:2009/corostreet_ep6758_tx170409_part2_700k.flv

so where would I find the file

Scott said...

You can open the smil.smil file in a text editor and copy one of the .flv file URLs inside. Replace "rtmp:" with "http://tvnzondemand/" to get the file URL.

Unfortunately the ones I tried get rejected with a 403 Forbidden error.

Patrick said...

Yes, but how do I download the smil.smil file?

Scott said...

As Arya said, it is in the FlashVars section of the javascript in the page source. Search the page source for the .smil file, then copy the URL and paste it into your browser so you can view or download it. It's just a text file.

You still won't be able to download any foreign content though, just NZ stuff. And the NZ stuff is even easier to get if you use Firefox and GreaseMonkey - use the TVNZ OnDemand Direct Download Script. It places a list of download links for each content part. Highly recommended.

Scott said...

As Arya said, it is in the FlashVars section of the javascript in the page source. Search the page source for the .smil file, then copy the URL and paste it into your browser so you can view or download it. It's just a text file.

You still won't be able to download any foreign content though, just NZ stuff. And the NZ stuff is even easier to get if you use Firefox and GreaseMonkey - use the TVNZ OnDemand Direct Download Script. It places a list of download links for each content part. Highly recommended.

Mike said...

I found it interesting how it started out easy to download them - just searching for the flv in the source was enough. Now its hidden in seperate xml? Thatl stop the majority. Perhaps they noticed hardcore download activity?

I was checking my Firefox2 cache but the files were about 90% complete everytime which was annoying.

I too got stuck at the SMIL-couldnt see where teh beginning of the smil url was.

The greasemonkey script works like magic!

Jessie said...

I just went to download a video this morning and they dont even seem to have the smil file now! i wanted to download a video of my sister on breakfast this morning for her, but i cant seem to do it! Any ideas? we dont want to have to pay $70 dollars to buy it through TVNZ again like we did last time. Help me!

Thomas said...

I've been working on a basic app to download content from TVNZ OnDemand (for my personal use - Flash support under Linux is woefully bad) and while you can get at the .flv files for some shows the big ticket items (Fringe, V etc.) have RTMP uris embedded in the .smil files which I'm guessing can't be consumed by anything other than their own flash player. I would actually be surprised if such shows are even stored on TVNZ's servers - from a Hollywood perspective it would make sense.

The Walrus said...

How would i download using Google Chrome?

Dazz said...

I'm trying to download the series 2 episode 6/7 of Girl vs Boy. There is no .flv text in the page description, any help?