Viewing YouTube movies offline

Video On the Go

Article from Issue 162/2014
Author(s):

With the right tools, you can store YouTube movies on your hard disk and view them when Internet access is unsatisfactory or unavailable.

The drawback of movies on the web is that they are only available for online viewing. For many reasons, you might want to download a movie – perhaps because your connection is not good enough for smooth playback, or you want to archive a video, or you want to view it where you won't have Internet access. Several small programs can download web movies – and sometimes even convert them to another format.

Programs such as 4K Video Downloader, cclive, ClipGrab, get-flash-videos, Minitube, xVideoServiceThief, and youtube-dl can help (but see the "Warning" box). These tools appear to YouTube like a normal user, which allows you to save the streaming output to a file on your hard disk.

4K Video Downloader, ClipGrab, Minitube, and xVideoServiceThief offer graphical user interfaces. In contrast, cclive, get-flash-videos, and youtube-dl are programs for the command line, meaning a tougher learning curve while you learn the cryptic parameters. On the upside, however, you can embed the tools in shell scripts. A quick overview of the most important functions is provided in Table 1.

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