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Five YouTube video downloaders worth a look

If you like to watch YouTube videos offline, there are several good downloaders out there to help you out.

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 Converter

Solid 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.

Figure A

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.

Figure B

YouTube Downloader

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: GetFLV

GetFLV (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.)

Figure C

GetFLV

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 Downloader

Free 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.

Figure D

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 Downloader

GetGo 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.

Figure E

GetGo YouTube Downloader

About

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.

28 comments
lifeofreilly
lifeofreilly

There are a number of youtube downloaders around and some can download others sites such as hulu. At the moment I'm using Avgo free video downloader which is at http://www.freedvdvideo.com/

DDunin
DDunin

Almost any video that I can play on the internet I can download with Real Player, and even convert video to most video formats. Plus it has a video trimmer. And the best part it's Free. You can find it at www.real.com

cenots
cenots

Anyone have advice on how to download multiple YouTube videos simultaneously (for instance all videos from a particular uploader?)

jonnytpb
jonnytpb

nice to see other Utube Downloaders Sothink is working good for me these days (w/ Win7). and not just Youtube any recommendations on ways to put web downloads on a DVD? Thanks Jon in West Palm Bch

Slayer_
Slayer_

javascript: (function(a,e,b,c,d,f){b=a.createElement('p');b.style.fontSize='large';b.appendChild(a.createTextNode('Download'));f=encodeURIComponent(a.getElementById('eow-title').getAttribute('title').replace(/[\/:*?\x22|]/g,'_'));yt.playerConfig.args.url_encoded_fmt_stream_map.split(',').forEach(function(g){d=g.split('&').reduce(function(b,a){a=a.split('=');b[a[0]]=a[1];return(b)},{});if(e[d.itag]){c=a.createElement('a');c.style.marginLeft='10px';c.appendChild(a.createTextNode(e[d.itag]));c.href=decodeURIComponent(d.url)+'&title='+f;b.appendChild(c)}});a.getElementById('watch-headline').appendChild(b)})(document,{'22':'720p','18':'480p'}) When you open that favorite on a youtube video, download links will appear below the video. You can also test it by just copy and pasting that into your address bar while on a video page. Also, in case TR messed up the code. Here it is again in a text document. http://trevorsarchives.homenet.org/download/youtubedownload.txt

Bill_M.
Bill_M.

Why would I need another video downloader? I already have the Free Download Manager that handles the downloading of most stuff which includes streaming videos and can convert them to whatever format I like. This way, I don't have to install a lot of add-ons to my browser. The FDM is an all-in-one. It can handle torrent files as well.

is tech
is tech

Real Player will also allow you to download and convert YouTube videos. There's a free version and a paid version, although I think the free version has a monthly limitation on the number of videos you can convert.

SKDTech
SKDTech

I use an extension for firefox that places a download button next to the others. Works well and I can get videos without having to open any other programs.

klin4960
klin4960

I highly recommend 'YouTube Song Downloader' by Abelssoft. Free with ads. 10Euro gives you the 'Plus' version. For downloading videos & songs. Excellent search function, including full album search.

sdupor
sdupor

I would always recommend Freemake Video Downloader. There is also a converter tool. Great and simple, yet powerful utilities for video manipulating. All freeware! http://www.freemake.com/

rajaiskandarshah
rajaiskandarshah

i use downloadhelper extension for mozilla firefox web browser. not sure if the apps listed here have a web browser extension. works on ubuntu linux as well ;-)

kashyap.bikram
kashyap.bikram

i use keepvid.com. no need to install anything, specially if you have a downloader like fdm.

Suresh Mukhi
Suresh Mukhi

The first and only Youtube downloader I ever tried was Xilsoft. I didn't bother with the others because it had all that I needed. Conversion to different file types, splitting the file into smaller segments. It does not even have to be a Youtube video to convert files. I also use it to convert my mobile phone and camera files into smaller uploadable formats.

nt.selvam
nt.selvam

Anyone tried freemake video converter. It has got several output options.

llee
llee

Rather then install software for downloading YouTube videos, I use the free service at http://www.savetube.com. No need to install anything, several choices of format to choose from, and fairly simple & straightforward to use. I believe there are some limits on the file length & size of the video you download (don't remember what those are offhand), but for most YouTube stuff, it works fairly well.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

non-alpha-numeric characters; I saved it elsewhere. Thanks for mentioning this download option.

Alan Denness
Alan Denness

Video DownloadHelper is the extension I use... Within Firefox makes it easy.

tjsobieski
tjsobieski

Can freemake work on UBUNTU with Wine??

maj37
maj37

Have you used the latest version 3.0.2.12? It has mostly bad reviews on CNET.

wendygoerl
wendygoerl

downloadhelper was recommended to me after several downloading candidates I tried took the liberty of wiping out my "swiss army knife" toolbar and resetting my default search engines. Offers several format and conversions options and doesn't requires a seperate program or tab.

tjsobieski
tjsobieski

Another FF extension, Free and works anyplace you use FF

SKDTech
SKDTech

Had some multidisc movies I ripped that I wanted to join together into a single file. This was the only tool I found that had this functionality and made it easy to use. For ripping or converting I have most often used Handbrake but I will have to give Freemake a try to see if it does a better job for me.

myangeldust
myangeldust

Worst possible idea to install a toolbar to your browser. Get a free service and some malware why you're at it. I don't know, dude.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Frickin IE crashes when I try to right click an entry in the favorites list. Once i edited the .url file though, it worked properly in IE. Located in C:\users\username\favorites