Many of us love watching television programs or video clips online. Places like YouTube are among the most popular sites on the internet these days for viewing clips whether they’re educational, interesting or just fun. With so many digital devices around you can watch video on, sometimes you might like to download a clip instead of just viewing it online so you can view it at leisure or transfer it onto your mobile phone, tablet or laptop.
One of the biggest problems looking for software to download video clips is Google periodically alters the YouTube code, and software which worked a month or 2 ago doesn’t anymore. Also, because software publishers and websites know downloading from YouTube and other video clip sites is hugely popular, they throw as much advertising as they can at you through through their web based services, or via tool bars and other adware during a program install.
Here we have found for you 5 free pieces of software and an online service that can download video clips from various services, but mainly YouTube. We have tried to find good software while keeping advertising and browser tool bars etc to a minimum, but it’s quite difficult as most of them contain at least some form of advertising.
1. 4K Video Downloader
This is a plain and simple video clip download tool that can grab videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and Dailymotion. The program is open source and cross platform with versions for Mac and Linux as well as Windows. If you want a portable version, there’s a zipped one available.
Simply install or run it, then copy the video clip URL from your browsers address bar and click the “Paste URL” button or link in the main window. The address will be picked up and after parsing the information, a window will pop up with all the available formats and resolutions the video can be downloaded in. If you want to extract just the audio, there’s an option to do that also. Available quality will obviously be different for each clip but can go right up to the 4k super high resolution if it’s available.
Multiple files can be downloaded at once and there is also a one click Smart Mode where you can set the default file format and resolution and the select clip window will be skipped and the file will automatically download. There is a small Donate nag screen on 1st run and also a Donate ad will appear in the download window although you can hide it.
2. WinX Youtube Downloader
WinX Youtube Downloader can only download Youtube video clips but is very easy to use and also includes the added bonus of an integrated player to preview any clips before you download them.
Once you install and run the program, simply click on the big blue button to paste in the video URL you should have from your browser address bar. A new window will be displayed where you click to analyze the video and then the available formats you can download will show. Click the one you want then OK. You can add more videos to the list by using the Paste link icon top left. Once you have what you want or watched the clips, simply press the Download button.
WinX Youtube Downloader contains no adware during install and the only subtle form of advertising is the Convert button on each clip in the list. This program cannot convert the videos but opens a webpage to one of their shareware products that can. Make sure to use the Local Server download link to avoid going to CNet.
3. Youtube Downloader HD
This is another simple and easy to use utility that can download only Youtube clips. Usage is just a case of loading the program, pasting the copied URL from your browser into the Video URL box, choosing the save to location and selecting the download quality. You can go up to 1080p and if the video clip isn’t available in that size, you will be asked if you want the next highest resolution. If the clip is in the FLV format, 2 tick boxes are there to convert the file to a more compatible AVI or MP4 once it’s downloaded.
Youtube Downloader HD comes as a portable zip or installer setup file, but note the installer has a couple of adware dialogs you need to opt out of, even though the website says the program “contains absolutely NO ADWARE”. For that reason we would recommend the portable version. The button below the title is also an advertisement.
4. Freemake Video Downloader
If Freemake’s claims that it can download video from over 10,000 websites are even half right, then that’s still a mighty impressive number! This includes YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, TubePlus, Dailymotion, Megavideo and others, as well as adult sites. For that last reason, Freemake has an option to enable parental control by restricting video access from these sites by means of a password. Connection speed and number of downloads can also be controlled manually.
Video Downloader is well laid out, easy to use, but can also be quite powerful as well. Load the program and click the blue Paste URL button to copy the address from the clipboard, after which you will be presented with a window where the quality can be selected. Full 4k resolutions are supported. Original audio only can be downloaded and the video file can be converted after download to a number of formats such as MKV, AVI, MP3 and also smartphone compatible formats.
There is a one click download mode button where all videos will be downloaded or converted and at the specified quality. Freemake Video Downloader on install includes a couple of Opencandy adware dialogs which you need to watch out for, and you also have the option of installing a plugin for your browser which will send the video to Video Downloader when you click the “Download” button in the webpage. The link below points to the full offline installer.
5. Final Video Downloader
Final Video Downloader has been labelled as the fastest Youtube video download tool available which is quite a claim, but there’s no denying it is very fast at grabbing the video. The interface isn’t the greatest and you cannot individually select each video’s quality unless you go into the options each time and change it. There is an option to convert the video into Apple, Sony or DivX formats and also a button will be integrated into Internet Explorer and Firefox for easy downloading.
Simply click the “Add video link” button to add a URL which will then be automatically downloaded. One major issue we have with this program is it installs the Trusted Software File Type Assistant and you CANNOT opt out of it, only uninstall the assistant once Final Video Downloader has finished installing. Although a scan with Revo Uninstaller revealed it only leaves a prefs.dat file behind, the choice to opt out of installing software like this is essential.
It’s worth mentioning that Direct Youtube Downloader wasn’t included in the list which is a shame as we especially liked the program. But it offers 3 tool bars and 2 trial programs during install, which we thought was too much adware and you can too easily install at least 1 by mistake. Likewise, VDownloader offered 2 tool bars, a trial software and “partner shortcuts” and was excluded for the same reason. You are welcome to try them if you wish, just be VERY careful during the install process!
6. Youtube Download Websites
There are many online Youtube download websites out there and while some may be perfectly usable there are a lot which contain misleading advertisements or want you to download insecure java applets or executable files. In a few cases, these types of sites can also contain rogueware or viruses, so we would advise great care when visiting any of them. Happily one site which has none of these issues is File2HD which we have previously written about for downloading from MySpace.
The free part of the service allows you to download Youtube clips and even gives you the option of converting FLV files to MP4, MP3 or WMV. Usage is easy, enter the YouTube link, agree to the terms of service and click to filter only movies. Then click the “Get Files” button. The available videos will show below and you simply click on the ones to download or click the convert button if needed.
A couple of limitations are it doesn’t seem to pick up ultra HD 4k files or WebM videos, but other than that, it’s easy to use and quick.