Sunday, January 20, 2013

Choose the software

Some websites, browser add-ons, and programs simply take the URL associated with a particular video and download the videos in their original Flash format (FLV). However, most will convert the files into a more accessible format such as AVI or MP4 so you’re able to play them in the media player or device of your choice. The following are some of our top contenders and suggestions for the ultimate YouTube video downloader.
aTube Catcher (Windows/Free)
This software shines among the arsenal of the free downloaders for multiple reasons. First off, it allows you to download videos from YouTube, Comedy Central, Dailymotion, Google, and a plethora of other sites with ease. Secondly, the videos can be directly converted into more than 20 formats, from WAV to MP3, all from within the program. The software also hosts a variety of other built-in features including a voice recorder, a screen recorder, and a DVD burner.  Oh, and did we mention the software is completely devoid of ads? That’s always a plus in our book.
MacX YouTube Downloader is one of the better downloaders exclusively for the Mac. The program is simple to install, navigate, and use. The default settings are great for beginners, but there is also a level of flexibility and customization that gives more experienced users a bit more to play with. The downloader is quick, efficient, and offers a variety of formats and resolution choices for playback on everything from Android phones to Apple iPads. It also sports a sleek interface as well as the ability to simultaneously download and preview multiple videos at once. It’s definitely worth a look if you tend to stray from Windows-based software.
The Mozilla Firefox extension is the go-to option when it comes to video-downloading browser add-ons. While Google Chrome and Safari both offer similar extensions, Easy YouTube Video Downloader is the most integrated and straightforward. The download and conversion speed is admirable and the HD video download option is a nice a touch – not to mention the extension works right within the YouTube page instead of utilizing external software.
KeepVid (Web-based/Free)
There doesn’t seem to be a clear winner when it comes to video downloading websites, but KeepVid tries its best. The website is compatible with all standard browsers and allows users to download videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Metacafe, and others. It also provides a variety of formats and quality options to choose from. The drawback? It’s a bit slow and chock full of commercial advertisements.

Check system requirements and download

This one is a no-brainer, but it can easily be overlooked. Once you’ve chosen the software you wish to use, make sure the system requirements are met before you attempt installation. Some only work for Windows operating systems. Some only work on Mac OS X. Be sure to do a quick check before you proceed.

Find that YouTube link

Most YouTube video downloaders simply want you to provide the URL address for the video you wish to download. Simply cut and paste or copy and paste the YouTube link in the specified field. Pasting the URL may not be necessary if a browser add-on has the download function built directly into the YouTube website.

Choose the format and quality level

Choosing a file format is a matter of personal preference as well as convenience. While those gorgeous, HD videos may look great on your tablet or smartphone, they will cost you a good deal more in space and download time. The bulk of YouTube video downloaders have a drop-down menu from which to choose a format type and quality level. Many programs also show the corresponding media players and devices associated with the different formats for further clarity.
For instance, if you want to download a video for your iPhone or iPod Touch, there is an option for “IPOD TOUCH/IPHONE MPEG-4 320×240” when downloading and converting videos using aTube Catcher.

Download and save

Now just click the download button and specify a place to save the resulting file. Some downloaders will save the converted file to a default folder they’ve created. Others will ask you where you would like the file to be saved. Just make note of where the end result is going either way.