If you read the Guardian on-line and occasionally watch their excellent videos you may perhaps have wondered if there’s a way to a) keep them and b) see them at a higher resolution.

It turns that there is although it requires a bit of work but the reward is worth it, you will often (but not always) get an HD video to keep to watch off-line on your large screen TV.

The first step is the function known as “View (page) source” which is a right-click away on a blank area of the screen while viewing the Guardian or other website.

Having got the sub-menu up then click the line that says View page source or, now that you understand the method, in future you can use Ctrl+u from the keyboard.

A page of text will result, this being the code that makes up the website along with links to photographs and other articles and videos.

At this point we can metaphorically pause for breath because if you have never had cause to look at page source code before you will be confounded. The way out is the same as it would be in a large library or database and that is not to be overwhelmed with the volume of information but to use a search term to find what you’re looking for.

In the first instance we will look for the video being broadcast on the website and this is likely to be an mp4 so we use Ctrl-f from the keyboard to bring up a text search box and type in “.mp4” without the inverted commas.

which results in something like the image above. The search term .mp4 highlighted where it has been found on the web page in amongst the code. It is on the end of a long link which is the link to the video and if you click that link one of several things may happen depending on how your computer is configured.

The video may begin to play on your screen in which case you have achieved part one of this exercise.

The video may download to your computer following which you may be able to play it.

I’m going to assume that nothing useful happens when you click the link (the worst case scenario) and suggest therefore you right-click the link and choose Save As or Save Link As from the sub-menu that results. This will enable you to save the video to your computer.

At this point we can pause again to reflect on the fact that some means of playing the video offline is needed and that means is called Videolan VLC

If it’s not already installed please go off and install it now in order that you will be able to play downloaded videos in future.

Once installed find the .mp4 video you downloaded just now and play it to your hearts content.

You will find that although watchable it isn’t actually that good. The example above comes out at 640 x 360 which might be ok for a small window on a web page but will have you tearing your hair out if you try to watch it on a large screen.

The secret is in the link above, the one that ends in the cryptic .m3u8. Clicking that link won’t get you a video it will get you a screen full of text but there is a way to use that link to obtain an HD video using the VLC programme you have just installed.

Go to Part Two

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