YouTube has become its own online cable network of sorts offering music videos, funny videos, podcasts and videocasts, TV shows, and even movies. Looking for an old movie that was only released on VHS and the cost of buying the tape if you can find one is prohibitive? Someone may have ripped a file from the VHS and posted it on YouTube. Even some video distributors are putting reduced resolution copies of their movies on YouTube you can watch and even buy the higher resolution version if you like it.
Watching music videos, TV shows, movies and more on YouTube is convenient for many but some people would like to do their watching offline and even on different devices than they use to surf the web. Not to mention that interruptions and poor buffering resulting in an unpleasant viewing experience can be annoying. For those people, downloading videos from YouTube would be handy, but no such option is available on YouTube. For them there are still options available to download videos from YouTube.
Many web browsers have plugins available to block ads, read rss feeds, and even to download videos from YouTube. My personal experience with one such plugin for Firefox was not pleasant. It did allow the option to download videos as Flash or MP4 files, but it removed all but the default toolbars from the browser and I could not restore them. I had to remove the plugin and do a reinstall of Firefox to get it back to where it was. That's not saying this will be your experience, but I have not dared to try the plugin since. If this option interests you, do a search using your browser name and Download YouTube Videos or YouTube Plugin.
- Works in your browser with no additional sites to visit.
- Links conveniently provided when you view a YouTube video.
- May cause bugs in your browser.
- Only gives Flash and MP4 download options.
KeepVid is a website that will allow you to copy and paste the url of the YouTube video you want to download and be able to download them as MP4 and some other file types as well. They used to be my standard download site but they have been buggy as of late either wanting me to update my version of Java or download and install their downloading program. Most such programs are usually advertising sponsored, though I cannot say that with confidence about theirs as I won't install such a program to my computer. If you keep your Java up to date you may not experience problems on the site. I can usually download one or two videos through them before getting a prompt to install their downloader.
- Easy to use with many download options.
- May allow HD downloads.
- Not as convenient as downloading from the YouTube page.
- May keep prompting you to install software.
You can check out the site here.
Online Video Converter
This website allows you to download and convert various files from different websites and even from your computer. You will have to select your country and the type of files you want to convert (music, video, app), then paste the YouTube url into the box and select the file extension you want to download (MP4, AVI, FLV, etc.). As you can see there are various options for the video files including the older AVI and MPEG types, which can be larger than MP4s, and mobile file types too. The service will then convert it on their server and provide a download link. An additional bonus is that sometimes someone 'stretches' the video to widescreen to claim it is HD but the service will put it in its proper ratio.
One bug I have found with this service is broken downloads. If the download is interrupted, which has happened several times for me, the download ends and you have an incomplete file. Rather than just pausing and resuming the download you will have to start over again.
- Many file type options to convert to.
- Will restore correct video ratio in some cases.
- No BS software to install or prompts to install.
- More complex than others with many choices to make.
- Broken downloads do not resume.
- Broken downloads will save as incomplete files.
You can check out the site here.
Unfortunately with the rapidity that YouTube download sites make changes it makes it difficult to recommend any sites as what was once a great download option may now suck. One site I had used now limits their downloads to a max video quality of 360p without installing their downloader software.
These sites are not free to run and do require server space, a lot, for their services. They will initially offer a great service up front then start restricting that service to get you to install something on your computer to keep the service, or may even start charging.
With as popular as YouTube download sites have become, the best way to find such a site is to search the words Download YouTube Videos or Download YouTube Converter on a search engine. This way if new sites pop up then you will be able to find them. You might also add extensions like AVI or 3gp to the search words to find different sites.
I know, there aren't many options in this list. That's because as I mentioned that these sites change rapidly in what they will allow for free and your best bet is to keep searching actively when these changes occur and find new sites to download YouTube videos.