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Five handy apps for downloading YouTube videos

Introduction

 

NOTE: If you'd prefer to view this information as a blog post, check out this entry in our Five Apps blog.

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 for offline viewing. Fortunately, there are plenty of YouTube downloaders available. Here are five popular choices.

36 comments
chrisl317
chrisl317

All windows programs. So much for fair reporting. Love the Penguin!

paulfx1
paulfx1

$ file /usr/bin/youtube-dl /usr/bin/youtube-dl: a python script text executable Tastes great and is less filling too! I only use it when youtube is stuttering so badly I can't follow a video.

fred64
fred64

I know this is a FireFox extension, but its free and it has the ability to identify all the media: video, audio and images available linked on a web page and download one or all in a couple clicks. It works with almost every site that contains media links (not just flv) and its got a list of popular sites (that you can filter to prevent adult content). It will convert to any of about 15 formats including galaxy pad, iPod, Zune, and of course mpeg, mp3, mp4, mov, wmv, and more. So, even though its limited to FireFox -- I think it deserves a mention just for the breadth of capability for a price that is FREE.

paulettem
paulettem

My favorite downloader is TubeSucker - the free version limits you to one download or conversion at a time, the paid version allows as many as you wish. Never had an issue with any kind of spyware, malware, ads, etc. As for RealPlayer, I finally just took the darn thing off my system now that they have decided to get super greedy. You can no longer convert ANYTHING for free - the minute you try to do a conversion, it merely takes you to their website to pay for the upgrade version - NO FREE CONVERSIONS OF MUSIC OR VIDEOS ANYMORE. I actually contacted them about this and discovered that not only have they indeed stripped their free version of anything worth using, but they expect you to pay over and over again for each and every upgrade version. Sorry - I'm out of here with RealPlayer.

old_ndc
old_ndc

There is a free addon, that adds a download button to the youtube screen, just near the like and share buttons. Free, easy, integrated, no adds, popups, proxy problems .

wyattharris
wyattharris

http://www.convertfiles.com/ I found this website when a client needed a DWG converted to a PDF. It converts just about anything but also contains a download method for Youtube videos. http://file2hd.com/ This site is good for non-youtube videos. Keepvid.com is supposed to work on non-youtube but 9 times out of 10 it failed. File2HD extracts every media file from the site and creates a download link for it. You can then filter it for videos or audio. I use this site frequently for law firms that want to grab some obscure video or a news site's embedded video to use during legal proceedings.

molly_dog
molly_dog

Have you guys tried Freemake Video Downloader? As its name implies, it's free, it installs an app in IE (Yuck), Chrome and, I think, Firefox that allows for one-click downloading. It's incredibly simple to use. You can set it to download and convert to your preferred video format and save to your preferred directory. Freemake also offers a video converter that is FAST!! It converts a full-length AVI to burned DVD in less than 30 minutes and will convert from and/or to a couple of dozen different formats such as Apple, WMV, DVD, Android, FLV, etc., etc.. My only complaint is that it's quirky with ISO files. Other than that, it's absolutely the best converter I've ever used. They also have a music app that I have yet to try. I am not in any way affiliated with Freemake. I just love their products! JG

lstell
lstell

It has a free version and a paid version.

buddyfarr
buddyfarr

there is another one. If you find a youtube video that you like and want to download it for offline viewing first go to the video. Then in the browser address line look at the address. It will be something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bunchofgarbledletterstoyourvideo in the address line add the word 'save' in front of 'youtube' so it looks like this: http://www.saveyoutube.com/watch?v=bunchofgarbledletterstoyourvideo then hit enter and it should take you to a site that will allow you to download it for free. Of course as they say, watch out for copyright material. LOL.

morfordg
morfordg

I used to think FLVripper was a good one for youtube and any flash video streams, but that was until I tried using it on 3 different windows 7 computers, none of them working. $20 bucks down the drain :( I'll have to try out the GetFLV, that one looks pretty good.

Ogie Pogi
Ogie Pogi

http://keepvid.com/ you can choose from various formats and screen sizes. It's free, and no installation needed (just a java runtime only).

jonrosen
jonrosen

RealPlayer has, by default, a video-downloader for any .flv and can convert them to other formats as well.

jonathanwolf1993
jonathanwolf1993

FVD Suite anybody? It works great. Also if you're using Firefox check out Video DownloadHelper, you can easily find it her https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/extensions/?sort=users the second one at time of posting this comment. Free Download manager works amazing, unfortunately the plugins for browsers are fairly limited, http://www.filehippo.com/download_firefox/11293/ this is the build of Firefox i'm using right now with it. I really don't use anything else on Firefox. It isn't limited to YouTube (referring to FDM) either, pretty much any flv file, and it can also monitor all downloads so if you have something against Firefox 9 downloader, problem solved. It also has a somewhat unique downloading format, it downloads as if everything was a torrent, hope this helps everybody/anybody :) By the way, if you use any of these methods and know something I didn't mention i would love to hear it.

konservativ
konservativ

It's free and have it all. Beware of crapware when downloading.

dcwhitworth
dcwhitworth

I'm surprised at TechRepublic for publishing an article that advocates breaking YouTube's Terms of Service - 5.1c - "you agree not to access Content through any technology or means other than the video playback pages of the Website itself, the YouTube Player, or such other means as YouTube may explicitly designate for this purpose;" So unless YouTube has specifically endorsed these products you shouldn't be using them. I'm more than happy to be shown to be wrong on this, but that's my interpretation of the situation.

jdaughtry
jdaughtry

Works great, downloads from multiple sources, GNU GPL, has a "portable" version. Only gotcha is that there is a separate "YouTube" module you have to install.

t0o
t0o

In Opera web browser, development tools allow to extract any web content from almost any page. Just load the page -> right click near the video -> inspect element -> "Network" tab -> reload the page (or press play if video is stopped). You will see the full URL of flv video. If url contains something like "&start=1234" or "&fs=1111" , remove it before downloading as it crops beginning of the video. Some sites might block this trick by checking referer, in such case some more advanced trickery must be used, but in most cases no extra tools are necessary. I suppose Chrome or Firefox might have similar feature.

athanbjr
athanbjr

yea keepvid is waaaay easier than all these also is clipnabber.com/clipnabber_classic.php also freemake its simpler to use, just open the youtube clip you want and it will down it for you in many formats for many devices

dartonion
dartonion

What about keepvid.com? Seems easier than all of these.

RowdenHouse
RowdenHouse

FWIW I have used Video DownloadHelper on various Linux systems for the last few years quite happily. Firefox (Iceweasel etc) plugin, so platform agnostic

Darren B - KC
Darren B - KC

Tried this trick on a few videos on Youtube and all it did was make IE crash. Doesn't work for some reason.

Darren B - KC
Darren B - KC

I use Keepvid, but I have to admit that a lot of times it will crash IE when it tries to connect to the video. I sometimes have to re-open the keepvid page and re-paste the video URL 4 or 5 times before it works.

hhitchco
hhitchco

And it's by far the most complete (and best) of anything mentioned in this artice.

greg_nw
greg_nw

RealPlayer works great for me. Easy to install. Easy to use. Easy to convert file formats. I haven't had any issues with spyware/advertising. Can't believe the knowledgeable TechRepublic folks left RealPlayer out of the discussion. The basic program is free (the one I use). Can upgrade to the pay version if you want.

opcom
opcom

As in the past, the current version of RealPlayer may contain spyware, advertising behavior, etc. I have not checked recently, but its 17 year history in that regard is a trail of annoyances. Maybe I am missing out but I won't trust it or install it because of historical behavior.

houtbayblogger
houtbayblogger

Unlike many other countries our download speeds in South Africa are very slow so to watch a YouTube video means that you have watch a few seconds then wait for the download of the next few seconds. Until recently, a solution to this was to find the video and choose 'pause' and wait for the full download before watching the video (you had to catch it before it fully downloads otherwise it reverted to to the base page). Recently they changed their system so that only 20 seconds or so could be downloaded so now the ONLY solution is to download the whole video if you want to watch it in one go. Its a pity that YouTube's terms of service are as they are which means that (yet again) one has to bypass them - but of course if they really thought it was an issue they would make the process more difficult or use some less generic video format. Possibly they should do as you say and specifically endorse some product - but of course being a Google company now, this will mean some payment or at least having to put up with advertising.

opcom
opcom

That's a good point, but I have never read (or been asked to read or accept) the terms of service. I go to the site and watch the videos. If one is worthy of my attention and there is nothing in the page there that says downloading is forbidden, or even so much as the author "asks" that it not be downloaded, I download it. When a guest watches a video on Youtube, the video is actually downloaded to the computer in a mostly hidden manner and played using the computer's player. These softwares shown in the article just un-hide it and save it where you want, instead of where someone else wants. I don't think an actual "YouTube Player" exists. A streaming software must exist. If I download a video from the page on which it is offered, then I am using "the video playback pages of the Website itself" as opposed to going in somehow behind closed doors and taking it from the database, etc. -which might be something they could complain about. I believe that their main concern is the videos showing up elsewhere on another commercial site rather than some private person keeping one they have watched. That's my opinion of it. I do not d/l very many videos from there, but occasionally there is one worth archiving, as we all know a video can be removed at any time. Maybe someone who is actually an enthusiastic downloader has a different opinion about the whole thing. -other members who have posted about which downloaders they like?

athanbjr
athanbjr

yea keepvid is waaaay easier than all these also is clipnabber.com/clipnabber_classic.php

JohnnyStompanato
JohnnyStompanato

I also vote for Realplayer if all you want to do is download videos & not do any HEAVY editing or other vid work. It’s so easy to click the "Download This Video" popup that appears right over the video you start playing. You can download vids from many sites, not just YouTube. I mainly use it to get tunes by downloading music vids & strip out the video part using the Realplayer Converter to .mp3. Many YouTube music vid uploads are duplicates, so just pick the one with the best audio quality. I also use the Realplayer Trimmer function to cut out sections of large files with multiple vids or audios to end up with just a single vid or tune file. I’ve been able to do these functions with the free version of Realplayer. But be aware, there seems to be a compatibility problem using these functions between certain versions of Realplayer & some browsers versions. I don’t know why, but if you have a combo that works, just stick with those for downloading with Realplayer.

hhitchco
hhitchco

but I've used RealPlayer as my player of choice and downloader of music and video for over 11 years. Not one, I repea,t NOT ONCE, has there ever been an advertisement that appeared on this player. My downloads are checked automatically with TrendMicro and never once, ever, has an item been downloaded by RealPlayer that containded any type of malware, including spyware. I'm thinking that you may have had some of these problems occur and erroneously blamed RealPlayer but I have never had a bit of problem with it. That is why I use it and defend it.

xangpow
xangpow

Well all the ones mentioned in the article and by other people have just as much risk, if not more, to be filled with ANY type of malware. That is why I dont mind paying for something. You KNOW the free stuff is going to have something "extra". So the final sentance should be "Download these things at your own risk."

birchyboy
birchyboy

Not bad - just remember to uncheck some of the tiny agreement boxes, otherwise you end up with the useless Babylon Toolbar and other income-generating link irritations.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Uninstaller to get it off some machines - must be an OEM agreement thing - but anyway, if it takes Revo to remove it, it is still cr@pware to me! I totally agree with your assessment! :)

SKDTech
SKDTech

Real player was one of the major media apps that people used. I even used it at one time. Then about a decade ago they became severely bloated crapware and I have refused to touch it since. There are plenty of fully capable and free/low cost media players out there that don't have an earned bad reputation. Real may have cleaned up its act ince then, but I still won't consider it until my current media player becomes a problem.

JCitizen
JCitizen

because they learned their lessons. It was a top removal target of the best anti-malware for years. Not anymore - of course - but I remove it anyway. It is hard to get rid of my prejudice, when I remember what a PITA it was before.