Suddenly, everywhere you look on the Internet, there are videos. Don’t you agree? Whether it’s YouTube, MySpace or countless other Web sites, videos are everywhere! It’s so common these days for videos to be embedded in Web pages all over the Internet. Now, many a times, you probably see some cool videos and I’m guessing that you wish you could download them onto your computer, but (sigh!) the content providers do not give the users any option to do so.
And along with that, even if you are able to download the videos, you won’t be able to play them with your Windows Media Player or Real Player, because the smart content providers usually encode their videos in special formats that do not allow playback on mainstream media players. Well, after today, you won’t have to worry about any of those things. I’m going to show you all how to beat the content providers at their own game. You will learn how to download videos and convert them to a format that will be playable on your favorite media player. If that sounds good, come along with me!
First, for this, you need to use the Firefox browser. And, as I always keep telling you, it’s an awesome browser and not just for the purpose of this tutorial!
Secondly, you’ll need to install a Firefox extension that will let you download videos from different video Web sites. The extension is called Video Downloader and once you install it, just restart Firefox and it’ll be ready to go.
To install the Video Downloader, just click on this link and click the Install Now button.
Once you’ve got that done, you’ll want to test it out by downloading a video. For my example, I’m going to use one from YouTube. So, after we eventually download our YouTube video, we’ll want to convert it to a format in which our media player will play. So, for that purpose, we are going to use a conversion software. My choice here would be Media Coder. It’s a relatively popular video converter and it works flawlessly. You can read more about it, download and install it right here.
Now, let’s go to the YouTube video that you want to download. Once you restart Firefox and after installing the extension, you will see a little icon in the status bar at the bottom of your desktop screen.
Click on that icon and a new window will pop up. From there, you will see a button that says “Download Link.” Click on that and you will be prompted to save the file. Now, remember, the file you are downloading won’t have a name or an extension, so make sure to fill in a name and use .flv as the extension type, while you are downloading the file. .FLV is the default video extension used by most video sites. You can also rename the file after you have downloaded it, so just remember the folder where you have placed it.
Now that we have the file, all that’s left for us to do is convert it to a video format that we can play in Windows Media Player or Winamp. So, go ahead and fire up the Media Coder. Click on the I Agree button for the licence agreement and then click on the Skip Setup Wizard button.
Drag and drop the .flv files that you downloaded from YouTube (or other sites) onto the Media Coder window. Click on the Video tab in the lower left hand section and select X-vid in the format drop down menu.
The last step is to click on the Start button on the top toolbar window to begin the encoding process. The time taken to encode your video is proportional to the size of the video file you have downloaded. When the encoding is completed, you will be prompted by a pop up window. Go to the location of your downloaded file and you will see a new .AVI file waiting for you. You can now play this file in your favorite media player, as long as it supports the .AVI format.
Now, this might seem like a long process, but after you use it a couple of times, it will run as smooth as butter on hot toast! There’s no need to keep track of the links to your favorite YouTube videos now. You can simply download them to your computer. Is that cool or what?! Go ahead and give this is a spin, but do remember, you should not download, copy or distribute videos that are copyrighted by somebody else. Happy video watching, everyone!
~ Yogesh Bakshi