Favorite stream rippers

The new RealPlayer 11 beta version's ability to record streaming audio and video marks a decided shift for the media player. What's your favorite software for ripping online audio and video streams to your desktop?

(Credit: CNET Networks)

When RealPlayer launched back in 1995, it was mostly used to provide consumers with streaming audio and video content without giving them a local copy. Its feature set has grown considerably in recent years, but it's still surprising to see a new RealPlayer 11 beta version that lets users record YouTube videos and Internet radio directly to their hard drives.

Recording streaming media is nothing new, of course. Open-source app Streamripper32 has been letting users record Shoutcast radio for many years, and my favorite audio player, Quintessential Player, can automatically record nearly any audio stream.

Extensions for Mozilla Firefox like Ook Video Ook allow you to save any embedded content in a Web page, including YouTube videos and MySpace audio streams, whereas VideoDownloader focuses more on simply downloading all online videos.

RealPlayer's emergence into the stream-ripping genre is a definite validation of the concept, though the legal issues around the topic seem far from settled.

What do you use to download streaming audio and video locally? Tell me about it in the comments.

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