Ted Talks Download Save

A pair of scripts to download videos and subtitles for the TED Talks (http://www.ted.com)

Project README

TED Talks Download

A pair of python scripts to download videos and subtitles for the popular TED Talks


This script automatically downloads (as a scheduled task) videos and subtitles for the new TED Talks published. Gets a HD video by using the TED Talks (HD) RSS feed to know the latest published

It's inspired by the idea of a previous python script by Shereef Sakr. Actually the mechanical of this is more similar to TEDSubs.py, but this inspired mo to create that and later the other. Shereef, Thanks for you work!


This one downloads the video and/or the subtitles for a particular TED Talk, which is established by its URL. The subtitles are downloaded in English and Spanish languages if available.

Pre-Requisites & Dependencies

Obviously, first we need is python. If we are in Linux or Mac, usually is installed by default. If we are in Windows, download it from here.

The python version needed for run both scripts is 2.6

TEDTalks.py uses several modules included in the python standard library, except one, feedparser, which needs to be installed

The marvelous python module feedparser by Mark Pilgrim, usually is included in the most popular linux distributions' repositories. Then, only needs to be installed

For debian/Ubuntu is like that:

sudo aptitude install python-feedparser

For Windows, get it from here and install:

(path where you installed python)\python.exe setup.py install

TEDsubs.py only uses python standard library modules, no needs any more.

Using them


This is the easiest to use, no needs any parameter, just run. It is meant to run automatically on a scheduled basis, that is, to be run every day at the same time

This would use, e.g., the Scheduled Tasks in Windows and cron in Linux or Mac to set a daily schedule of the script.

If we run it whithout any parameter, then it uses the current folder to store the talks and the subtitles. If we instead want to store the talks in another folder, we need to specify it as parameter.

The command line syntax is as folllows

python TEDTalks.py [path]

where path is the optional path where we want to store the talks & subtitles.

If we run the script with the -h option, we get the help

$ python TEDTalks.py -h
usage: TEDTalks.py [-h] [-v] [path]

Automate download new HD TED Talks by its RSS Feed

positional arguments:
  path           The path to store the TED Talks videos

optional arguments:
  -h, --help     show this help message and exit
  -v, --version  show program's version number and exit

Wen first run, it's downloaded the day before video (if any) and the subtitles in English and Spanish languages that are available for the same. The following runs will download the latest video released in the HD RSS feed, and also verify the availability of subtitles (English and Spanish) for all newly downloaded videos (which still appear at the entries of the RSS) that are still in the folder. If available a subtitle has not been downloaded, download it.

If downloads anything, videos or subtitles, sends a mail to the machine's local user with the log (this only runs in linux, not tested on a Mac)


This one needs a parameter to run, and have an option (download only subs). The command line syntax is as folllows

python TEDSubs.py [Options] TEDTalkURL

where option is -s (or --only_subs) and TEDTalkURL is the Talk URL.

if run the script without parameters, we get the help

$ python TEDSubs.py
Usage: TEDSubs.py [Options] TEDTalkURL

Where TEDTalkURL is the url of a TED Talk webpage

For example:

TEDSubs.py -s  http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/jamie_oliver.html

Downloads only the subs for the Jamie Oliver's TED Talk, if wants the video too
only needs to remove the "-s" option

Downloads the subtitles and the video (optional) for a TED Talk.

  --version        show program's version number and exit
  -h, --help       show this help message and exit
  -s, --only_subs  download only the subs, not the video

Where displays a example of how to download only the subs for the Jamie Oliver's Talk

python TEDSubs.py -s  http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/jamie_oliver.html

If we want to download the video too, only need to remove the -s option

python TEDSubs.py http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/jamie_oliver.html

And so with all the TED talks, all you need is to replace the web address Oliver's talk for the one we want the download

How to get them

The code is hosted in a Git repository at GitHub, use this to get a clone:

git clone git://github.com/joedicastro/ted-talks-download.git


Videos are downloaded in .mp4 format, in HD quality (usually 850 x 450 pixels), and subtitles are converted an stored from original .json format to common .srt format


if my scripts don't match what you want, here's a summary of alternatives (which I know)

  • TEDTalks.py

    • Language: Python
    • Type: script
    • Features: Automate download new TED Talks & subtitles (eng/spa) by its HD RSS feed
    • Author: Me
  • TEDSubs.py

    • Language: Python
    • Type: script
    • Features: Donwload TED Talks videos & subtitles (eng/spa) by its URL
    • Author: Me
  • TEDSubtitles.py

    • Language: Python
    • Type: script
    • Features: Download subtitles for TED Talks by its url for selected language
    • Author: Shereef Sakr
  • metaTED

    • Language: Python
    • Type: web
    • Features: Creates metalink files of TED talks for easier downloading
    • Author: Petar Marić
  • tedget.py

    • Language: Python
    • Type: script
    • Features: Download TED Talks videos by its url or id
    • Author: Johannes Hoff
  • Ted Talk Subtitle Download

    • Language: Python
    • Type: Web
    • Features: Download TED Talks subtitles by its URL
    • Author: Esteban Ordano
  • Miro

    • Language: Python & GTK
    • Type: Desktop App
    • Features: RSS Aggregator, Video Player & Bittorrent client. Can download TED Talks videos and play them
    • Author: Participatory Culture Foundation


Contributions and Feedback are most welcome. To contribute to the improvement and development of this scripts, you can send suggestions or bugs via the issues.


Both scripts are distributed under the terms of the GPLv3 license

Apologies for any misspelling or syntax error, English isn't my mother tongue.
Open Source Agenda is not affiliated with "Ted Talks Download" Project. README Source: joedicastro/ted-talks-download
Open Issues
Last Commit
9 years ago

Open Source Agenda Badge

Open Source Agenda Rating