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There are billions of hours of video on YouTube. really. And this is not the most amazing statistic about the site, which has been the main place for uploading and watching online videos since 2005. That’s right, sometimes you really want or need to have one of those videos. on your computer or phone. But when the topic of downloading YouTube videos comes up, there’s a side topic that needs to be addressed: Is it legal?
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From a copyright perspective, as long as you’re downloading a video for personal offline use, you’re probably fine. It’s more black-and-white when you consider Google’s terms of service for YouTube (opens in a new window), which states: “You may not … access, reproduce, download, distribute, distribute, transmit, display, sell, license, Exchange, modify or otherwise use any portion of the Service or any Content except as: (a) expressly authorized by the Service; or (b) with the prior written permission of YouTube and, where appropriate, the rights holders.”
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Viewing YouTube videos offline through unauthorized channels earns money from Google and video creators. There’s a reason YouTube advertises: that’s how people live.
Obviously, stealing videos from YouTube is not a big deal. If you want to share a video, YouTube and most other video sites make it easy, from emailing to sharing on social networks. You just don’t need to download the video multiple times.
However, this has its reasons. If you need to download a YouTube video—absolutely necessary, just for yourself, not for distribution, not to be a total no-no—here’s how.
Note: This story will be updated regularly as the tools involved change frequently. Some changes are not always pleasant, such as software full of “add-ons” that are introduced by antivirus tools as malware. The same goes for donor websites – changing a site’s ad network can also lead to malware issues.
How To Download Youtube Videos
To keep this from becoming a laundry list of programs and sites that can download YouTube videos, we’ve come up with some rules for inclusion. Services must:
Now available to YouTube Premium subscribers—the paid version of YouTube that lets you watch without ads—is a video download. facial. There is a caveat about quality: all videos you download are limited to 1080p or lower. Not 4K.
The biggest problem is that this feature doesn’t actually record the video to store permanently on your computer. It’s more like the download feature found in the Netflix and Hulu mobile apps, which lets you stream a video, watch it later using local storage, and view it using just the app’s interface. It’s not a method that lets you, say, watch a video using different software like VLC Media Player.
You access Download by going to the YouTube hamburger menu and selecting Downloads (opens in a new window) to view a list of your recordings. The page says, “Downloads are available as long as your device has an active internet connection at least once every 30 days.” This is probably not exactly what you are looking for to download; Read the tool that does.
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Third-party software is where you get better control over downloading online videos. Basically, you paste the URL of the YouTube video you want into the program and it will download the highest quality version it can. For videos in 1080p high definition (HD) format, this is usually an MP4 file. For any higher quality – 4K or 8K – the file format is usually MKV.
In the past, YouTube videos were Flash-based, so your download was an FLV file, but they were difficult to play. MP4 (short for MPEG-4 Part 14 Multimedia Format (opens in new window)) works everywhere
Note that an MKV file, also called Matroska, is a boxed file that can contain video using any number of internal codecs. The surefire way to play them all is to use VLC Media Player for Windows, which does it all. (More on that below.) When it comes to downloaders, here are the best options.
We mentioned VLC Media Player (opens in new window) above because it’s a fantastic tool for Windows, Mac, and Linux users that plays almost any media you create. It also has the ability to download YouTube videos, albeit in a convoluted way. (If you have any problems, try a full VLC install and clear its cache to make it work.)
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Copy the URL from the YouTube video, then open VLC. From the Media menu, select Network Stream (Ctrl+N) and paste the URL. Click play. While the video is playing, go to Tools > Codec Info. At the bottom is a box called “Source” – enter the URL you see in the box.
Go back to your browser and paste the URL – this is a temporary web address and will eventually expire – into the address bar and start playing the video. When watching a video in Chrome or Edge browsers, click the three-dot menu in the lower right corner for the download option to save it locally. In other browsers, such as Firefox, right-click the video and select Save Video As.
It seems that VLC will only save your file at 1080p and not higher, even if the original YouTube stream is 1440p or 2160p (aka 4K). It also won’t convert video to other formats. To get these settings, you need the desktop program below.
Multilingual 4K Video Download (opens in a new window) (4KVD) is constantly updated and has a clear download link on the program’s website; There are no ad traps here. The software does what it advertises with a simple interface. It captures videos in up to 8K quality and downloads in multiple formats. Just copy the YouTube URL and click Paste Link to get started. 4KVD will also receive subtitles, all playlists and all videos on the channels you subscribe to. Supported sites are limited to the big names like YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and a few others, but it covers most of what you need. It displays a large banner ad to keep the lights on with the free version, which is also limited to 30 downloads per day.
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I had to convert from MP4 to MKV to get my test video in 4K. 4KVD captures a 3-minute, 229.7MB file for a movie trailer at about 1 minute and 20 seconds. I did the same conversion when downloading an Ultra High Definition (8K) playlist (opens in a new window).
If you enable Smart Mode and presets, 4KVD can download to your favorite format with one click. If you want to download more than 30 videos per day or subscribe to YouTube channels for instant downloads (opens in a new window), this requires the paid version. Playback of the resulting mkv files with VLC Media Player is flawless.
The program itself has the ability to extract audio to MP3 format, so you don’t even need the YouTube 4K to MP3 (opens in new window) companion software. But if it is your own item, it is the same price as 4KVD.
4K Video Recorder $15 at 4K Download Watch (opens in new window) 4K YouTube to MP3 $15 at 4K Download Watch (opens in new window)
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The powerful VideoProc from Digiarty is included in this version of the editor and converter (opens in a new window), which also provides editing and effects, and of course brings many downloads, 4K support from more than 1000 websites, with TikTok. With app acceleration (opens in a new window), it promises some speed. Fortunately, we often offer discounts; In fact, the price is very low for a one-year license; Currently (opens in new window) the price is $25.95.
To use it, let the software scan your hardware to see what (if anything) can help speed it up. Click the Downloader button, click Add Video to upload as many URLs as you want in batches, and then download now. Or grab an entire YouTube playlist or live stream.
It streams a 697MB test 4K video (opens in a new window) in WEBM format in about 2 minutes and 15 seconds, which isn’t bad. The trial version of VideoProc Converter, which limits conversion to 5 minutes, does not limit downloads.
Like others, FlixGrab (opens in new window) has many different programs, many of which have overlapping functions. For example, you have FlixGrabMS in the Microsoft Store (opens in a new window) for Windows 10 and 11 devices, but it won’t let me download videos from YouTube. FlixGrab direct download from flixgrabapp.com works with YouTube and many other sites. It also offers a free YouTube Downloader (opens in a new window) that is specific to YouTube but uses the same easy-to-use interface.
How To Download Videos From Vimeo
The biggest change since our last update is the renewal subscription fees. The website now has a donation page that says, “Applications are now open
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