When I’m working with the Firefox browser, I use the excellent Download Helper extension for all of my video downloading needs. It is unobtrusive on the page, and supports hundreds, if not thousands of different sites. The extension detects videos playing on a page automatically, and links to the download versions so that you can download the videos to your PC. The core limitation here is that you need to start the video for a second or so, before it is detected.
That’s the main reason why I sometimes prefer desktop apps, as they let me download videos without playing or opening the video pages first. ClipGrab is a free program for Windows that comes with built-in YouTube search capabilities, and a download engine supporting a variety of sites. Supported sites include Dailymotion, MyVideo, Vimeo or Clipfish.
If you want to download from YouTube, all you need to do is key in a search term and wait for the results listing to be populated. Here you see then a selection of matching videos along with a thumbnail still and the video’s title.
It appears that the program limits the results to eight videos tops, with no option to increase that limit. This is definitely not enough for broad searches, and you may need to work your way around the limitation by narrowing down your search terms.
A left-click sends the video to the download tab of the application, where you can configure the download options. Available for selection are the format that you want to download the video in, and the video quality.
ClipGrab comes with a built-in conversion engine to convert videos automatically. If you select, lets say wmv as the format of your YouTube video, you’ll notice that it will first be downloaded before it is converted locally into the right format.
You may wonder how you get to download videos from the other supported video hosting sites? You can either copy and paste video urls directly into the downloads tab to download those videos, or have the program monitor the Clipboard for you to make that an automated process.
The settings let you do the usual things, like configuring proxy connections or notifications. ClipGrab is a handy software, especially if you are into downloading videos from YouTube. I personally prefer Free FLV Converter as it displays more videos and makes the downloading of multiple videos at once more comfortable. clipGrab on the other hand is available for Windows, Linux and Mac.
You can also check out our YouTube downloader overview for additional tools for the job.