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Video Downloader Software Review
How to Choose a Video Downloader Application
AllMyTube claimed the top spot because it is extremely easy to use, has multiple options for downloading videos and includes features that don’t appear in any other product. Features like a companion mobile app, Wi-Fi transfer of videos and social media support boost this video downloader above the competition. It also has nearly every other feature we look for such as an integrated browser and the ability to optimize your downloads for playback on smartphones, tablets, gaming systems and more.
iTube Studio has recently gone through a major upgrade. It has an intuitive interface that makes quick and easy work of finding, downloading and converting videos from nearly every website. After a video downloads, you have the option to record what’s happening on your screen. You can also optimize your videos for playback on more than 100 devices and even sync them to those devices without leaving the program’s interface.
Replay Media Catcher is extremely easy to use and has some great features not found in most other programs we reviewed. Not only does it download, convert and optimize videos from popular sharing sites like YouTube, but it can also capture streaming content from services such as Netflix and Hulu.
Why Video Downloader Software?
A little more than a decade ago, video-sharing websites such as YouTube, Vimeo and Dailymotion revolutionized how we think about video on the internet. Since then, billons of users have uploaded, shared or viewed videos through these services.
With so many videos online, there are bound to be some you want to download onto your computer. Whether you want to remix a popular video meme, use a clip to include in a new video, or simply store a video on your hard drive for easy access, downloading a video file from a sharing site is almost as simple as uploading one.
Video downloader software allows you to grab online videos and transfer them onto your computer. The best products even convert video files into different formats or optimize them for playback on your smartphone, tablet, gaming device and more.
How It Works
Most of the online video downloader software we reviewed function in essentially the same way: You copy the URL of the video you want to download and paste it into the application’s interface. The program then scans that webpage, isolates the raw video file and downloads it onto your computer.
Some programs install a browser plug-in that allows you to download videos as you surf the web. It’s usually a simple "Download" button that appears whenever a video starts to play. Of course, you can turn this off if it becomes annoying.
Other programs have an integrated browser built right into their interface. This is convenient because it allows you to search for the videos you want without opening multiple applications.
At their most basic level, video downloader programs capture videos stored on sharing sites like YouTube. The best applications allow you to select the resolution of the video you’re downloading, and they can capture just the audio. This is useful if you find a lecture or audio-centric video you like. You simply download the audio, sync it to a mobile device and listen to it the same way you would an audiobook or podcast.
The best video downloaders in our comparison can convert your downloaded videos into other file formats. This means that if you download an MP4 video, the program can convert it to an AVI, MOV, WMV or any other common format. Some of the programs can automatically convert videos once they finish downloading. This shortens the process because you don’t have to manually convert your downloads.
Some programs in our review even optimize your download conversion for specific devices. The programs that claimed the top spots on our side-by-side comparison chart have more than 100 preprogrammed optimization files that run the gamut from iOS and Android smartphones and tablets to gaming systems like the PlayStation and Xbox. If you have a device that’s sold by a major manufacturer, there's a high probability you can optimize your download for it.
An online video downloader that isn’t compatible with YouTube isn’t of much value, and it’s just as important for it to work with any other sharing site. Almost all the products in our review can download videos from most other sites, and the best programs have a list of all the video-sharing services they can capture content from. Some are only compatible with dozens of sites, while others claim to work with hundreds and even thousands of services.
What We Tested, What We Found
We rounded up the best video downloader software on the market today and ran each one through a battery of tests to confirm the claims made by the manufacturer and to evaluate usability. We found that most of the programs we reviewed are fairly easy to use. However, there were some with steep learning curves that could be frustrating for casual users.
We also found that no matter which program you use, the quality of the downloaded video is very good. This is because the software downloads the raw file that was originally uploaded – it doesn’t require any compression when it transfers onto your computer, so you get an exact copy of the video you’re downloading. Some video services store multiple versions of uploaded videos in different resolutions. When this is the case, the best programs give you a choice of which version you want to download.
It’s hard to go wrong when you buy video downloader software. With a few exceptions, all the products we reviewed produce roughly the same results. What differentiates the programs are the extras they offer such as file format conversion, device optimization and browser plug-ins. The best program does all these things and more.