There are so many ways to download videos from YouTube that my estimate is there are as many ways as there are videos! Okay, maybe that’s just a LITTLE bit of an exaggeration, but there are still so many YouTube downloaders it’s hard to keep track. There are commandline versions, web-based downloaders, Firefox extensions and regular applications as well. But ClipGrab might be one of the easiest, most useful, of them all.
First, ClipGrab is really simple to use. When you find a YouTube video you want to download, just copy the URL and paste it into ClipGrab. ClipGrab then finds the exact URL for the video itself (and not just the page it’s on), and gives you options. Since YouTube offers videos with different resolutions (from cell phone size all the way up to full HD), you will often find videos available in multiple sizes. Just select the size you want from the dropdown menu.
A good feature ClipGrab also offers as a major selling point, is its ability to convert those videos. Most videos on YouTube are in FLV (Flash video) format. And while a good number of desktop video players are perfectly capable of playing videos in this format, most portable devices or set top DVD players can’t. So ClipGrab offers to convert your YouTube videos for you. You can choose to keep the video in its original format, or convert it to MPEG4, WMV, OGG Theora, or two audio-only formats: MP3 and OGG Vorbis.
Once you’re finished making your quality and format selection, simply hit the “Grab this clip!” button and ClipGrab will begin the downloading process.
There are other options available in the preferences tab. You can choose a download directory or have ClipGrab always use it, or to ask. You also have the option, since many YouTube videos will come with long names, to rename the video as you download it. If you’re converting a video to audio, ClipGrab can fill that file’s metadata (ID3 tags), so your audio players are able to recognize it.
Other options include to monitor your clipboard and offer to download a video when it finds one there, and if you want to be notified when a download is complete, ClipGrab can do that as well. Proxy servers are supported as well, in addition to a few other options.
One thing that should be noted is that while I’ve been using “YouTube” to describe the videos ClipGrab is capable of downloading, it also supports videos from Clipfish, Collegehumor, Dailymotion, MyVideo, MySpass, Sevenload, Tudou and Vimeo. But beyond the officially supported websites, the ClipGrab home page mentions that other sites, while unsupported, may work if ClipGrab is able to scan it and find the video URL.
I have to say I’m pretty impressed with ClipGrab. It’s very simple to use, but is flexible enough, with support for enough sites, to make it worth downloading and installing, compared to other programs which are only for YouTube (and could be replaced with a browser extension). It looks good, has nice options (the converting and tagging are especially nice), and in my use does a good job. The source code may be download from the website, and there are installers available for Windows, Mac OS X and multiple binaries for Linux.