How to download videos from YouTube
- — 22 August, 2012 22:00
Ubiquitous broadband connections mean that most of us no longer have to wait for online videos to slowly buffer before we can start watching them. That said, it is sometimes nice to be able to download videos for later viewing or convert them for a mobile format.
AllMyTube is a $29 utility for downloading streaming video off websites like VEVO, Vimeo, and YouTube, which can also convert downloaded videos to many device-specific formats.
AllMyTube comes with optional extensions for Firefox, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer. Installed, the extensions provide a small button above every video you play in the browser. Click the button, pick the resolution you want, and AllMyTube will download the video -- as long as the website is supported, that is. AllMyTube works well with VEVO, Vimeo, and YouTube, but won't help you if you want to grab a video off a non-supported site.
Some videos on YouTube are preceded by a short video ad. When trying to download such a video, AllMyTube virtually clicks the link in the ad, opening up a new tab with the target page for the ad. The video does download, but you find yourself staring at a random promotional page. This confused me for the first couple of times, but once I realised what was happening, I simply closed the extra tab and moved on. Fortunately, most YouTube videos don't have such ads.
If you'd rather not use the included browser extensions, you can also just copy the address of the page containing the video, switch to AllMyTube (or run it), and click "Paste URL." AllMyTube will try to analyse the page you provided and track down the video. This is similar to what free download manager JDownloader does. It works with YouTube pages, but did not work when I tried pasting a URL from another site containing an embedded YouTube video.
Once you have the file, you might want to convert it to another video format. AllMyTube provides a rich and simple conversion interface. It offers a long list of devices, so you may be able to just pick your phone or tablet model from the list and convert the video for perfect viewing on that device. You can also specify encoding settings manually. This is essential, because the list cannot possibly contain every device on the market today. For example, while it contains the Samsung Galaxy S smartphone, it does not contain the Galaxy S II and Galaxy S III smartphones.
AllMyTube is simple to use, and its interface is relatively clean and free of distractions. It would be even better if it could correctly parse pages with embedded videos and gracefully handle in-video ads, but it is useful all the same.