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Before You Download Movies to Your Computer

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Lots of websites will let you download videos to your computer. If you have the right setup, downloading movies from the internet should be an easy experience.

Downloading Videos vs. Streaming Videos

To watch movies from the web, you can either download or stream. Most major video sites like YouTube, Netflix and Hulu offer streaming videos, which plays through a user's browser without being saved on the hard drive.

Other sites, like iTunes, let users download videos so they can be saved and watched without and internet connection.

Amazon, meanwhile, rents streaming movies and sells movie downloads.

Check Your Bandwidth Before Downloading Videos

Bandwidth refers to the maximum speed at which files can be transferred from a personal computer to an internet server. Generally, if you have a high-speed internet connection, or about 700 kbps, you’ll have enough bandwidth to easily download videos from the web. With a slower internet connection you should still be able to download video, but be prepared to be patient.

Find Space for Your Video Download

Downloaded movies will take up several gigabytes of space on your computer's hard drive. Make sure you have enough space on you computer or on an external hard drive to save the downloaded video file.

Download From YouTube

YouTube and other sites don't give you the option of downloading videos that aren't your own. But that doesn't mean you can't do it. Many sites have popped up that let you get around YouTube's download restrictions. KeepVid is the one I like to use.

Download Video From a Peer-to-Peer Network

Peer-to-peer networks let users share videos and other files online. This is a popular way to download videos without having to pay, but it can be dangerous. For one thing, many of the files shared are copyright protected. For another, many files are fake, and may contain malware.

Be Prepared to Wait

Even with a high-speed internet connection, you'll have to wait on big movie downloads. Downloading a feature length film may take several hours.

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