Note: This guide works as on 11th April, 2010. It’s a bit more technical but I have tried to make it as step by step as I can. Post your doubts in comments and I will try to help you out. Since its 5am, the blog post is going to contain a whole lot of rants :). Skip portion which is in italics and contained in “#region”.

Background Storyline:

(Skip if you don’t know me and just want to download video)

#region Rant

I hate lock downs imposed by other companies on their users. Yeah there are people out there who will misuse your service but don’t put roadblocks in the faithful users of your service. I love ustream and at least use them once a week but I guess they don’t like me that much.


I had a video of my presentation at TC50 on Ustream. My not so computer savvy sis has a habit of backing everything on her backup hard-disk (every photo, every video about your family – well at least she is not taking print-outs). She asked me for the video and I am like “Okie give me two minutes, I will send over Skype”. Since the video was uploaded by techcrunch team, Ustream didn’t provide me a direct way.

I start searching on the internet and found couple of how-to  blog posts but going through them realized, Ustream team has been working extra time to disable workarounds. I search for a software and its $90 but yippee! there is a trial version. Normally I would have given the link here for the maker’s website but on their website they say its 15 days trial and you download, install and its start downloading the video. Half way through it says trial version only downloads first 10mb so “Buy now” or “No video for you :(“. Damn!!! So keep search some more and didn’t find anything and we are already 10 minutes in and my sis pings me again.

Time to go turn on the geek mode and download and send the video before the next ping – expected time “t-10 minutes”.

Step 1:

Download and install Wireshark from

Well you might ask what is Wireshark? The answer in our case is it will ustream servers are going to send the video and its details to your computer over the network. Wireshark will capture all this data flowing over your network and write it to a text file.

#region rant

Surprisingly Wireshark’s website has a whole lot of crap on their front-page except saying what does the damn software do!!! Oh, there is a link to “Learn Wireshark”. Cool. But even that doesn’t say what it does!!! Yeah there target base is a whole lot different but still.


Step 2:

Run wireshark and capture the data

i) Go to “Capture –>Interfaces”


ii) It will bring up a popup window. You will see all your network cards like wifi, wired etc. The simplest option is to disconnect all others and just use one type of network for example wifi. Click “Start” button in the row whose number of packets is non-zero. If there is more than one, just select the one with highest number.


iii) Wireshark will minimize itself. Open the browser, open the ustream page which contains the video and start playing the video.

#region rant

If you need a screenshot for this, tell me how in the world were you able to do step 1?


iv) Wait till video starts playing and go back to Wireshark and stop the capture from “Capture –> Stop”


v) Export all the data you captured to a text file for easy searching.


v) Write the name of the file and save it on desktop. Change the “Save as type” to “Plain text”, Check the “Packet Bytes” checkbox on right, make sure “All packets” is selected on left and then click “Save”



Step 4:

Find the url of video

Open the file you just saved it any text editor like Notepad (wordpad will be better if you know how to do it. Search for “.flv”. You will find couple of instances. Select the line which contains a lot of numbers and 3-4 above it contain the words “http://” and “ustreamstorage”. Concentrate on the rightmost column only. The rest is just gibberish :).


Now now start copying the text from right column starting with the word “http://” till “.flv” In the above example I copied “http://vod-sto”, "", "/ustreamstorage/", "content/0/1/2/21", "63/2163474/1_280" and "032_2163474.flv". Yup this also seems like gibberish but if you combine all of them and it becomes a url “”. Yippie! We are almost done :).

Step 5

Download the video

Since the last step was complex, lets make this one simple. Open the url you just made in browser and it will prompt you to “Save” or “Open” the file. Save it and that’s your video. If you want in some other format, search on google on how to convert “flv” into “avi” or “mp4”.

#region recommendedTools

i) Tools used in writing this blog post: wordpress, Windows Live Writer and Paint.Net. All three are pretty good. Paint.Net will be excellent if they just find another name :).

ii) I downloaded the video using “wget”. If you are a hacker on windows and don’t have cygwin or GnuWin32 or some other linux shell installed on windows go die!

iii) Its 6am. Do you seriously expect me write a third one!!!