Streaming video websites are such a big part of our lives, it’s hard to remember a time when they didn’t exist. These websites revolutionized our computer video experience – no longer do we have to download every single video we want to watch – it’s all right there!
But the opposite is also true. Sometimes sending a link or embedding a video is not enough, and we need the actual file, or only its soundtrack. And when that happens, the default FLV file format rarely cuts it. Luckily, there are several downloaders-converters out there that make it easy as pie to download videos and convert them into almost every possible format.
is an easy-to-use web app which both downloads and converts YouTube videos into multiple formats. You can use it to either download whole videos, or extract entire audio tracks from YouTube videos.
It’s very easy to use. Simply enter a valid YouTube link in the address bar and click the big red shiny “Download Now” button. You can then choose which format you want your video or audio file to be in, choose its quality and control several other aspects of the download.
When you’re done, click “Start Conversion”. Xenra will start by downloading the video to its servers, and then convert it into the requested format. The process is rather swift, depending of course, on the video you chose and the quality you selected.
When it’s done, you can download the file, share it, embed it, and generally have fun with it.
ClipConverter is another excellent web app which can be used with multiple streaming video websites, not just YouTube. It can even convert or extract audio from video files you already have on your computer.
To start, paste the video’s URL or upload the file you wish to convert.
Now choose which format you want the downloaded file to be converted into. Here too you can download the entire video or extract only the audio. If you wish to download only part of the video, you can specify start and end times and get only that snippet of the video as the final product. When you’re done, click “Start!”.
ClipConverter downloads and converts your video – and does so extremely quickly – and presents a download link along with a QR code, for downloading directly to your phone.
To speed things up even further, try ClipConverter’s browser add-ons for Firefox, Chrome and Safari, or use the handy dandy bookmarklet.
ConvertVideoToAudio is not as slick as the former two web apps, and not nearly as fast. What it does have going for it, are some unique file formats most other such converters don’t offer.
The website itself is way too cluttered with ads, and there are no settings to choose from except format. Having said that, you may find it useful if you need to quickly download and covert an online video into one of these formats, and while you can’t control the quality, it ends up being surprisingly good.
KeepTube is another download and convert service which you can use in multiple ways, although only with YouTube videos. Similar to other web apps, KeepTube sports the copy & paste option, but another way is to add the word “keep” before the word “youtube” on any YouTube URL you’re currently watching.
Both the copy/paste method and the “keep” method will direct you to the KeepTube website, where you can choose your preferred quality. KeepTube can be used mainly for full video downloads (HD and HQ included), but you can also use it to convert videos into MP3s.
If this is not quick enough, you can download a, or use the bookmarklet. Note that the web app will attempt to launch a Java applet. If this is not to your liking, you can use the non-Java version of the app.
If web apps are not your cup of tea, and you like the feel of a good desktop app under your feet, this is the option for you. Freemake is a fantastic video converter for Windows which we’ve mentioned in the past, which now also offers Freemake’s free video downloader.
This slick piece of software grabs your video links from the clipboard. Copy the video URL and simply click the “Paste URL” button. The software can be set up in advance with your favorite settings, and will start downloading and converting immediately. When it’s done, you can even play the new file directly from the app.
If you turn off the one-click download option, you can set up the quality, format and location for each file separately. The downloader can also be used to extract audio from videos.
Note that the software requires an installation of the latest version of .NET. If you don’t have it yet, it might take a little while to download.
Last time I actually needed to download and convert a YouTube video from the Internet, it proved to be quite a difficult task. But downloading an converting online videos has been getting increasingly easier, and after only a year or two, the Web is teeming with quick and simple options. Now I can’t wait for it to becomes even easier.
Know of some more easy-to-use video downloaders that also convert? Know of an important option we missed? Share in the comments!
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