If you want to download streaming media through recording and saving audio heard over the Internet, such as on a free-to-use website, there are two basic methods you can easily use that both take advantage of the same basic principle. The soundcard in your computer will allow you, when used with one of several different programs, to record any audio that plays through your speakers. You can download a program that runs as a toolbar within your preferred web browser, or a standalone program that you can run only when you want it.
In either case, the program is designed to record audio, typically through a source such as a microphone, but with the option to use a different input source. You can choose to use your soundcard as the source, and when you press record, it will record any audio played through your computer. This will allow you to record the sound and stop it after the completion of the segment of audio you wish to record.
To download streaming media, such as a video file on any one of a number of popular video sharing sites, you can use similar programs such as those mentioned above, or use download websites. Third party programs exist that will let you download and save flash video (FLV) files that you will commonly find on video sharing sites. These are usually not free, but can often be fairly inexpensive and may also provide you with some editing and compositing options as well.
There are also web browser extensions available that you can use to help you download streaming media from within your web browser window while navigating the Internet. Most sites that have streaming video use FLV files that are great for compression and streaming, but do not allow simple right-click downloading. Browser extensions can allow you to easily download and save a file directly from within the browser.
A number of download websites have been created that are designed to allow you to download streaming media without using a different program. These websites allow you to enter in the uniform resource locator (URL) for a particular video on a hosting site, and the website will generate a link that you can use to download the video on the hosting site. The major drawback of these sites is that they have to be designed for specific sites and may not support the video hosting site you wish to download from.