How to Download a Movie to My Laptop

You may be able to find a WiFi connection in most places to stream movies, but there will always be some places where it just can't be done – like onboard an airplane, for instance. For these places, being able to download a movie to your laptop can be a happy convenience. The choices out there for places that let you legally download movies are more varied than many realize.

 

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Purchasing movies on iTunes not only allows you to download these movies to your iPhone or iPad, it also enables you to download the movies on your laptop. You can play the downloaded copy even if you're offline. Download iTunes and sign up for a free Apple ID if you don't already have one. Click the "Store" tab in the top corner and then select "Movies." Search for the movie you want to download from iTunes and click on it. Click the "Buy" button to purchase the movie and then type in your Apple ID if prompted to. Hit the "Download" button below the movie's thumbnail to download a copy of it to your computer. You can double-click on the movie at any point in the future to play it on your laptop. The movie will play through the iTunes player.

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Download From Amazon
Amazon is another option for movie downloads. Like iTunes, you can download the movie purchased from Amazon and play it even when offline. Go to amazon.com, type the name of your movie into the search box, then click the drop-down box button next to this. Select "Movies & TV." Click your movie and then hit the "Buy" option next to the title. Hit the top "Menu" option and select "Your Video Library." Click your purchased movie and then click the "Download" button to save a copy on your laptop. You can play this with standard video players on your laptop.


Download From Internet Archive

It's commonly thought that downloading movies for free is illegal, however it isn't with archive websites that have licensing to distribute certain movies. Archive.org/details/feature_films is a nonprofit digital library that has thousands of movies free to download. These movies span many years and genres, so it's worth a look to see if any you want are available on the site. Download a movie from this site by visiting the link and typing the name for the movie you want to download in the "Search this collection" box on the side bar. Hit the "Enter" key to show the results for your search. Click on the movie you want and then click either the "MPEG2" or "OGG Video" options under Download Options. It is usually best to click MPEG2 since this is compatible with most video players.

Download Netflix Movies on Laptop

Netflix now allows subscribers to download movies to their laptop for offline playback. This feature is available on the Windows 10 app version of Netflix. You won't be able to download the movies directly from your laptop web browser since Netflix doesn't allow this yet. You also won't be able to download everything on Netflix; only certain videos are available for offline playback. Open the Netflix app on your computer and search for the movie you want to download. Click on that movie to see the preview page for it and then hit the "Download" button. You can now play this movie on Netflix even if your laptop is offline.


The Kindle Fire functions as an external hard drive when connected to a computer, allowing you to simply drag and drop movies from your desktop to the Kindle Fire device. The Kindle supports video playback in the MP4 format, so you will need to convert your movie if it is in another format. Alternatively, you can add movies to your Kindle Fire directly from the Amazon Instant Video library. With Amazon Instant Video, you can purchase movies or pay a smaller fee to rent movies for a limited amount of time.

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There are a variety of ways to add and watch movies on your Kindle Fire.
credit: David McNew/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Convert Movies to MP4

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Navigate to the Handbrake download page (see Resources for link) to download and install the free, open source Handbrake video conversion software. Handbrake is available on Windows, Mac and Linux computers.

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Launch Handbrake after installation is complete.

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Click "Source," select "Open File" and then double-click the movie file you want to convert to MP4. Handbrake can convert virtually any movie file to MP4 including WMV, AVI, MOV, MPG and more.

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Click "Android Tablet" in the "Presets" section of the sidebar.

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Click "Browse" in the "Destination" section, select the filename and location where you want to save the converted video, click "Save," and then click "Start." The conversion process can take up to an hour, depending on the length of the movie and the speed of your computer processor. Conversion progress will be displayed in Handbrake's status bar and the software will alert you when conversion is complete.

Transfer Movies to Kindle Fire
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Connect your Kindle Fire to your computer using the standard Kindle Fire USB cable.

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Press "Windows-E" to open My Computer on a Windows computer or click the "Finder" icon to open Finder on a Mac.

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Double-click the Kindle Fire device in My Computer if you are on Windows or click the Kindle Fire item listed in the devices section of Finder if you are on a Mac.

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Drag and drop the MP4 movie file from the location it is saved on your computer to the "Video" folder on your Kindle Fire. The transfer process will take a few moments to complete.

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Right-click the Kindle Fire listing and select "Eject" after the transfer is complete. The movie will be available for playback from the default Gallery app on your Kindle Fire.

Purchase or Rent Movies from Amazon
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Tap "Video" on the Kindle Fire homescreen, and then use the search box to find movies you want to watch.

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Select the movie you want to watch, and then tap the price button that corresponds to the type of purchase you want to make. Amazon Instant Video allows you to purchase or rent most movies. Renting a movie is obviously cheaper, but the movie will only be viewable once and for a limited amount of time.

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Tap "Watch Now" after purchasing or renting the movie to immediately begin playback or tap "Download" if you want to store the video on your Kindle Fire for later viewing. Downloading the video also enables you to watch the movie offline.