This is how they pirate movies and series from Netflix, Amazon or HBO

Since the arrival of streaming platforms, networks have been filled with pirated movies and series from these platforms, with excellent qualities similar to those enjoyed by users of platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, HBO or iTunes. There are several methods to get the content. Some are a secret but others are the order of the day and we all know how to do it.

Evolution of piracy: from TV to streaming

When a series was broadcast before the arrival of these platforms, the only way to be able to hack them was to directly capture the image from the decoder (usually satellite) and record it with a capture device, so the quality was quite bad due to the excessive compression they have. these emissions. These types of files are known as HDTV, easily distinguishable from WEBRip or WEB-DL, whose difference we have already explained.

With the arrival of streaming this changed, since the quality was much more homogeneous and with a higher bitrate. A very clear example of this we can see with The Big Bang Theory, which began pirating recorded directly from CBS where it is broadcast in the United States. Later, the web version was obtained, which has a higher quality and whose files occupy more. Currently, both formats are uploaded to P2P networks, although both are usually published at the same time in most cases, since it takes the same time to capture them from the streaming platform or from the decoder as long as the broadcast times coincide.

How to pirate in streaming

To pirate the content of streaming platforms there are, mainly, two ways that in turn have some variants.

Download content

The first is the easiest: download content straight from the streaming platform. We can do this very easily with platforms such as YouTube, that do not use any type of DRM and that allows us to download the files directly from Google’s servers with programs or web pages dedicated to it.

However, a payment platform you can’t afford that as anyone with the link could download the information. Therefore, what is done is apply a DRM to content that the users of these platforms download on their devices, in addition to the corresponding access token generated by that link. In that way, the files that are downloaded are encrypted, and only accessing the memory of the device or the program that is decrypting them allows access to that data. For this, it is necessary find a vulnerability, and it is usually not easy at all.

Despite the extra time required to carry out a WEBRip, there are groups that manage to upload the content in just 6 minutes compared to its launch, although the chapter lasts an hour. This is because the DRM used by Amazon, for example, has been broken by a limited number of groups. This gives you access to the original files, and you can download and encrypt them in a matter of minutes. But this method remains in the most absolute of secrets to prevent companies from patching the bug. We have an example in The Grand Tour, whose chapters have always been available almost 6 minutes after being broadcast thanks to being able to access the original files.

There are many platforms that are used to download pirated content, most of them in the United States. The most typical and common is iTunes. His DRM was cracked years ago for Full HD movies, and these are usually available about two weeks before the Blu-ray platform is released. This results in a file that is labeled as WEB-DL, what is the original file downloaded from the platform without any additional compression. Despite this, the bitrate and quality is lower than that offered by Blu-ray, but it is more than enough. More than enough especially for series, for which you have to wait months or even a year to enjoy them on Blu-ray and which offer the highest quality available at the same time as the episodes are broadcast.

To download content through protocols such as Rtsp, RTMP, Apple HLS o simplemente HTTP there are various programs, such as FFmpeg, cURL, WebVideoCap, Flashget, Orbit Downloader, RTMPDump, And a long etcetera. To identify which protocol each platform uses, the most comfortable way is to use a sniffer like Wireshark to analyze the packages. In the event that the platform uses non-standardized ports, it is necessary to do search by hand in the dump to find it.

But not only 1080p iTunes movies can be easily hacked, it has also managed to break the DRM used in 4K iTunes movies on multiple occasions. A store or platform that even has some exclusive titles like the James Bond saga in UHD. How does this usually happen? It is likely that a vulnerability was found in some older Apple TV firmware and they managed to get the data from memory through a dump. That is why platforms always try to use the safest options such as Microsoft’s PlayReady service in its most recent version, for example.

Video capturers

The second method is to use a grabber. A video capture is affordable and can be done with anyone, allows you to record content that you broadcast on television and allows up to 4K resolution. A video grabber does not present any type of problem, since the protocol HDCP 2.2 was cracked years ago, and any computer or player can connect to an external video recorder and record the content.


The use of a video recorder is the most widespread option normally, although as a last option you can also have a computer directly whose screen is recorded. There are programs that allow you to capture the computer image in uncompressed formats that, although they occupy gigabytes and gigabytes, allow you to later make a rip almost lossless. These types of recordings are known as WEBRip, which are easily distinguishable. This makes it take a few hours to upload the content to P2P networks since it is launched, since you have to wait for it to finish viewing so that it is captured, unlike what happens with WEB-DL (also called WEB) that just takes a few minutes.

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This is how they pirate movies and series from Netflix, Amazon or HBO