If you 've ever taken the time to sift through all of the clutter, you probably discovered that there are plenty of hidden gems buried deep within YouTube. Unfortunately, YouTube does not provide an option to download videos, which can be handy if you want to watch them when no Internet connectivity is available (such as on a plane). Fortunately, there are plenty of YouTube downloaders available.
Note: This list is also available as a photo gallery.
1: Solid YouTube Downloader and ConverterSolid YouTube Downloader and Converter (Figure A) lets you download YouTube videos and convert them to a variety of formats, including AVI, MP4, FLV, and WMV.
Solid YouTube Downloader and Converter
Although this is a somewhat basic utility, there are two features I especially like. First, the tool gives you the option of specifying the download quality. This is great when you want to download a high definition video. The other feature I like is that you can turn a video into an MP3. This could be handy for converting music videos into audio files. Just be sure to respect any copyrights that might exist on the content.
Solid YouTube Downloader and Converter sells for $29.95, but a free trial is available. The trial version is limited to downloading 50% of the video.
2: YouTube Downloader (YTD Video Downloader)YouTube Downloader (Figure B) is a free utility for downloading videos from YouTube (as well as from a huge list of other sites). Like most of the other utilities listed in this article, it can convert downloaded videos to a variety of formats, including MOV, MP4, 3GP, WMV, AVI, and even MP3.
This utility seems to work well and it's hard to argue with the price tag. However, the software throttles your download speeds and blocks the automatic conversion feature unless you upgrade to the Pro version, which costs $19.90.
3: GetFLVGetFLV (Figure C) is a tool for downloading videos not only from YouTube, but also from a number of other sites, such as Hulu, MTV, and Fox. (Again, be careful to respect video copyrights.)
One look at the interface and you can tell that GetFLV is a higher end solution than the other utilities we've looked at so far. In addition to basic downloading and converting capabilities, GetFLV includes a very welcome FLV repair utility. The application tops things off with a utility for creating your own FLV files. GetFLV costs $59.95, but you can download a free 14-day trial.
4: Free YouTube DownloaderFree YouTube Downloader (Figure D) is another free tool for downloading and converting YouTube videos. This tool is extremely basic, but it does not feel lacking in any regard.
Free YouTube Downloader
My only beef with Free YouTube Downloader is that the installation process is a bit treacherous. The installer tries repeatedly to install toolbars, change your search page, etc. You really have to be on your toes to keep from accidentally installing something that you don't want.
5: GetGo YouTube DownloaderGetGo YouTube Downloader (Figure E) is another free utility for downloading YouTube videos. The interface for this utility is really basic. GetGo YouTube Downloader can convert the video to any number of formats.
GetGo YouTube Downloader
Brien Posey is a seven-time Microsoft MVP. He has written thousands of articles and written or contributed to dozens of books on a variety of IT subjects.