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Best Free Software 17: Downloading Videos from Youtube and other sites – Part 1

Video Download Helper - Firefox Addon
Video Download Helper Firefox Addon

There are many ways one can freely download videos from many different sites like Youtube, Google Video or Facebook, but we will highlight 2 easy to use programs here: Firefox Plugin – Video Download Helper & in the next tutorial Freemake Video Downloader. They both offer the option to merely download the video file, or convert it to another video format, such as WMV, mp4, several space-saving versions used by mobile gadgets or to even compressed audio, such as mp3. So you can watch that film from Youtube or listen to that favorite song on your mobile phone at leisure if you can get them downloaded and probably converted.

It goes without saying that having a good broadband connection makes downloads fast and painless and a good computer with a good measure of RAM ensures processes like conversion from one format to another do not slow it down (too much) and you can in fact multi-task. If not, downloading and or converting even 50 or 100MB file can otherwise be painfully slow and probably not worth it.

#1. Using the Firefox plugin – Video Download Helper

DownloadHelper is also a free Firefox extension for downloading and converting videos from many sites with minimum effort. …

Using DownloadHelper, you can easily save videos from most of the popular video sites. …

It is also possible to capture all the images from a gallery in a single operation.

This is the quickest way to download videos. In the “Menu Bar” up your Firefox, go to Tools => Add-ons. In the Search Box, type in “video download helper” and search. You will get a couple of results, but of interest here is the mentioned plugin.

Installing Video Download Helper - Firefox add-on
Installing Video Download Helper – Firefox add-on

Use the install button to initiate a quick installation. After that, you will be required, just like with many Firefox plugins to restart the browser to complete the installation.

You will note, you have the video download help icon (3 balls) added to your Firefox browser, somewhere probably top-right, next to the the location bar, where you type the internet address.

If you are on a page with what for the add-on downloadable video content, the red, blue & yellow balls will get animated, if not, they are grey. You will also see them  just below the video as shown above – at least in case of Youtube. If you see nothing, it might be the plugin is not installed, or activated or you probably use an outdated browser version. On a video website where this should work is one with our recipes, of Chapati, above or => Vita’s Spinach and Chicken in Groundnut Sauce, you will note that icon is NOT PALE but colored.

Downloading a video

Regarding the download helper icon beside the location bar, if you click it, you have a window opening showing a long list of supported video sites – which should include Youtube. Clicking the arrow beside it, gives you different suggested download format & resolution options for a particular video. If size & internet speed are not an issue, the larger option is better. Holding the mouse over each option shows other download & conversion options for each. If you have flash or other ad-banners on the page on SOME sites in video form, they are also likely to be shown & are downloadable. In case your desired video is not in the list and you are sure you are on a supported website, it might be its download is blocked. Only a fraction of Youtube videos are blocked, though. For other supported sites, you have to try and see for yourself, what you can download & what you cannot.

Youtube – used in illustration

We shall use the icon BELOW a desired video on Youtube (Vita’s Spinach and Chicken in Groundnut Sauce ). Click on that colored icon. In that case, it will start a quick download, possibly to a folder it suggests and in a suggested format, probably flash or mp4 – for which you need appropriate players and codecs on your PC to playback [see below]. Clicking the small black arrow to the right of the icon gives you more options, including “Download and Convert”.

With that option, you can download and convert to various video formats, including some appropriate for mobile gadgets and to mp3 audio format. The latter option means you can convert a favorite music video to mp3 audio format. Supposing you like the background music of one if these videos or you want to immediately convert a music video to mp3, that would be the right option. No video is downloaded in that case, only the converted mp3.

As implied in the introduction, in order for the PC not to slow down too much and do quick conversions, you need a good amount of RAM, possibly considerably more than 1GB, especially if you would like to multi-task at the same time.

A player that can play back almost all video & audio content is the VLC Media Player – just in case you PC cannot play any of those downloaded or converted files. Alternatively, you could install the K-Lite Codec Pack or the K-Lite Mega Codec from free-codecs.com, both of which have most commonly used video & audio codecs & come with some Windows Media Player Classic, which together with those codecs players virtually, almost any audio/video content. With any of these players on your PC, i.e. VLC & that installed together with the codecs, you do not need any conversion, though.

System requirements

Video Free Downloader Firefox plugin works in recent versions of Firefox in Windows XP – Win 8 and the Linux version of Firefox.

More information about this plugin here: DownloadHelper .

So now there is no reason why you cannot download your favorite videos or compile your own mp3 music files for your mp3 player from Youtube … and other supported websites for personal use.

#2 Using Freemake Video Downloader tutorial