How to download videos from Hulu: a step by step guide (updated)

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Here’s a step by step guide to downloading videos from Hulu using free software Freemake Video Downloader. This post updated Oct 23rd 2012.

Note that while other tools were mentioned in previous versions of this article (e.g. Streamtransport), Hulu had changed their encryption since, and at the time of writing this article Freemake Video Downloader is the only free tool that we know of that will download Hulu videos. (Do you know of others? If so, please let us know in the comments section).

This article is for informational purposes only and you are responsible for abiding with the relevant laws that govern copyright in the state or country where you reside.

How to download from hulu illustration

Four Simple Steps:

Step #1: Install the video downloading software. Download and install Freemake Video Downloader.

Step #2: Browse to the video you want. Use any browser to browse to the video that you want to download. Once you select your video and the pre-video advertisements start, copy the URL of the the video you want to download. (Note: you could also use the integrated Freemake Downloader browser buttons, which are installed by default in most cases)

Copy the Hulu URL

Step #3: Open Freemake Downloader. Then click on the ‘Paste URL’.

Freemake Video Downloader paste URL

Step #4: That’s it. After a brief wait, your video should start downloading. Unlike other tools mentioned previously, you do not need to keep the video downloading in the browser; you can safely close the browser and the download will continue. You can also download multiple video simultaneously (see below).

Downloading from Hulu using Freemake Video Downloader

Troubleshooting:

(1) If you are using a VPN to access Hulu, and the video refuses to download, then this is most likely due to your VPN, not the download tool. Try using the Ultrasurf anonymous browsing proxy in conjunction with the VPN and see if it works (You will need IE on your machine).

(2) If your video does not respond to attempts to fast forward the video and/or the video fails to play, then your video lacks keyframe objects. This may sometimes be the case for FLV videos; if so, you can add them with a tool called FLVMDI. See instructions on how to do so below.

[expand title=”Click here for a quick tutorial on how to add keyframes (if you need it).”]

1 Download FLVMDI, a tool that can inject keyframe objects into FLVs. The reason FLV videos downloaded from Hulu do not fast forward is because they lack keyframe objects (little markers interspersed across a video that enable the media player to navigate back and forth). Hulu videos probably do not contain these by design, to make it harder for people view videos downloaded from Hulu. This is easily fixed, however.

  • Go to the FLVMDIwebsite. Scroll down to the “Downloads” section (towards the bottom of the screen) and download the latest versions of FLVMDI and FLVMDIGUI (at the time of this writing these were versions 2.95 and 1.05, respectively).
  • Extract both FLVMDI and FLVMDIGUI, then move flvmdi.exe to the FLVMDIGUI folder.

HULU FLVMDIGUI screenshot12: Run FLVMDIGUI.exe and process your FLV. Once you launch this program the dialog is self-explanatory:

  • For the input file, browse to your downloaded FLV video file. Note: to process a number of FLV files in batch use”All files in a folder” tab. This will let you point to a folder rather than a single file and process all the FLV files inside.
  • For Output, you can use the same name as the original, which auto-populates. Really no need to create a different output file name.
  • Check the “Include ’keyframes’ object” box
  • That’s it. You can now click the “Run FLVMDI” button on the bottom right to process.
  • Processing should conclude in a few seconds.

3:You’re done. Your downloaded file should now be fully playable on any media player that plays FLV files.

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Any comments or thoughts are welcome!