Youtube has changed the way we perceive entertainment. The videos on the site are funny, intelligent and wonderful enough to share with friends. But there’s a problem: every time you want to view the videos or show them around, you need to be online. And Internet connections are neither reliable in terms of speed or uptime, nor are they cheap if you are on a pay-per-use plan. So what do you do to download the videos to your PC?
The new iPods, including the iPod Touch, can play these videos, but it’s unlikely you will buy an iPod for that reason alone. Besides, what if you want to watch a video which is not on YouTube, but on Google Video or MySpace, or any of the other video-sharing sites. If you, like me, have faced this problem, here’s a practical solution. And no, you don’t need to spend money on it. Here’s how you can download the videos:
First, you need the Firefox Web browser from Mozilla. If you don’t have it yet, this is one more reason to do so, besides the fact that it is fast and efficient to download. Just go to www.mozilla.com and download it for free. If you already have Firefox, make sure it is Version 2, or just go ahead and download the update.
Once you have the Firefox on your PC, download a tool (or an add-on) called the DownloadHelper. To do so, go to http://tinyurl.com/2zj6z5 and click on the ‘Install Now’ button. A window will pop up, warning you to install softwares that you trust. Don’t worry, there is no virus here. After installation, which should take about a minute, Firefox will have to be restarted. Do so by clicking on the Restart Firefox button.
Once the Firefox has restarted, you are more or less ready. You now need to download a player that will allow you to play the FLV files (YouTube and other flash videos). You can play them on your regular Media Player, but it will require a Codec. I suggest you use a free player like the FLV Player for which you have to open the page in http://tinyurl.com/j54bt. After downloading the player, set it up.
To get the video from YouTube, go to www.youtube.com and browse to the video you want. Once you are on the page that has the video, go to the top of the screen where you will see the three balls of DownloadHelper change from grey to some other colour (see image). Click on the down arrow next to the coloured balls, select the file and download it.
Save it on your desktop or any other folder. Remember that each video file is about 5 MB or more, so it will take time to download. Once this is done, double click on the video and it will open in the FLV player downloaded earlier.