How to download YouTube Videos

Do you know how to download YouTube videos?  Does your school block YouTube videos?  What do you do if the video is too long or you only want to use a small segment of the video?  There are several ways to solve these problems. First you must download YouTube videos to your computer.  If YouTube is blocked even for teachers and staff, then you need to download the videos at home.

Download YouTube videos to your Computer

There are several free downloaders you can use.  A very easy to use site is SaveVid.   Beware, the site sometimes has inappropriate material on the home page.  I wouldn’t recommend trying this one at school.  However, it is free.  To use this service, copy the URL of the YouTube video.  Paste the URL into the URL text field on the SaveVid site.  Then click “Download”.   A new window will open with a link to the different video formats to save it in.

KeepVid is also easy to use to download YouTube videos.  Only the basic options are available on this free downloader.  To change to other formats (which you will want to do) or to edit the length, you must buy the upgrade.

In my opinion, the best free option is RealDownloader.  This is my favorite downloader.  It not only downloads, but includes the option to change the video to a range of formats including for mobile phones.  Another plus with RealDownloader is that it provides the option to edit.  You can choose the part of the video that you want and “trim” the rest.  I use it to remove the long introduction.  I cut off the parts that I don’t want or need.  This is perfect when you only need a two-minute clip not a twenty-minute movie.

RealPlayer options when converting player formats to download YouTube videos
Courtesy of RealPlayer – RealPlayer Downloader Converter


 Whats the best video format?

If you plan to watch the video on a computer, I recommend MP4.  It is the most common format so most players will recognize it.  The other formats have several uses depending on what you plan to do with the downloaded YouTube video.  If you plan to burn the video to a DVD, then you may want to consider VOB (DVD Video Object File).  Another popular format is WMV, which is a Windows Media Video File.  Regardless of use, MP4 works well with most players.

What if you want to watch YouTube videos on your computer without changing them?

After you download YouTube videos, you will notice that they have the .flv file extension.  To watch the videos you will need to either download a player that supports .flv formats or download the codec for Windows Media Player.

To add the Codec for Windows Media Player, I recommend using the Windows Essentials Media Codec Pack through CNET.  I prefer to get my downloads through CNET.  They offer both editor and user ratings.  I have not had any problems with viruses through their site.  Occasionally the download process can be slightly confusing due to extra offers that pop up along the way.

One of the best media players that is ready to play YouTube videos is RealPlayer.   RealPlayer is user-friendly and free.  The VLC player works well and is created by a non-profit organization.  FLV Player offers slow motion options. Another excellent option is UmPlayer.  UMPlayer plays nearly all possible formats.

Feeling Techie

Try this other cool product.  This one isn’t free, but if you want greater command over your video and music products try RealPlayer Plus.  It includes DVD burning tools, advanced Cd burning, H.264 video quality, analog recording tools to covert albums, tapes, and voice input into digital files, 10-band graphic equalizer, and crossfade tools to create professional sounding music mixes.  So if you want to get down and dirty, it is worth it.

While checking for upgrades, I discovered that RealPlayer has a product called RinseMyMusic.  Honestly, I had never noticed this before.  However, I am seriously thinking about trying this one out tonight.  It fixes your iTunes library.  If you are like me, you have let iTunes collect music from all over your computer, and duplicates were created.  RinseMyMusic fixes misspellings, finds missing music, eliminates duplicates, and finds missing album covers.  Lately I have been frustrated with not being able to download several album covers on iTunes.  So while, this has nothing to do with downloading videos, it is a pretty cool tool – plus its free and it has a simulation mode where you can test it out.  I have to admit, I am a fan of RealPlayer.  I have been using RealPlayer and RealDownloader for years and love them.  So I am confident RinseMyMusic will be wonderful also.  I’ll let you know after I’ve tried it for awhile.