Saturday, August 11, 2007

How to Download Videos and Audio from YouTube

If you're like me, you often come across a YouTube video you'd like to download. The reason is simple: in the same way I buy DVDs instead of borrowing them from the library, I prefer to own my favorite online videos, viewable at my leisure, instead of being dependent on (1) an Internet connection, (2) the whims of the uploader, who for any reason and without notice can delete his material, and (3) YouTube itself, which has been known to delete videos for violating the site’s “Terms of Use.”

Of course, from a business perspective, YouTube is wise to make its videos undownloadable. This way, whenever you want a video, chances are you'll go to, where each visit increases the company's advertising revenue.

But savvy users can get around this walled garden with external tools—which, beside being free, make extracting video and/or audio effortless.

The easiest tool, requiring no downloads, is available at Simply enter the URL of the YouTube video, choose whether you want the video and music (as an AVI, MOV, MP4 or 3GP) or just the audio (as an MP3), and click "Start." Within minutes, Vixy gives you the chosen file, which you can then play in Windows Media Player, iTunes, QuickTime—whatever.

If you want to get more technical (as I suspect Patrick Ruffini did in YouTubing Hillary's Sopranos spoof), you can experiment with VideoDownloader, an add-on to Firefox.