Downloading videos from YouTube (for schools with blocked internet access)

by Stephanie Chasteen on February 3, 2009

I’ve been meaning to write a post forEVah about all the wonderful ways there are to download YouTube (and other) videos to watch offline. This is particularly helpful if you’re at a school with blocked internet access so you can’t show streaming video, but it’s also just useful if you want to archive a certain video (since the internets are notoriously flaky), or show something during a conference.  These are all FREE.

1. Download Helper. This is a Firefox add-on, so when you’re at YouTube watching a video, you just click a little button in your browser, and voila!  Looks easy, though I haven’t tried it.

2. KeepVid I’ve used this one and it works pretty well.  Just put in the URL on this website and get a .flv file (see below). Only drawback is that I needed VLC Player to play the .flv.

One teacher says:

Both of these download in Flash Video (.flv) format. Several video players will play these including GOM Player, my favorite. However, if you are, like me, not allowed to install software on your school computer, you will need VLC Player Portable. All you have to do is save it to your computer or a thumb drive, and drag the video file on to it. No installation needed so it will run even on fairly locked down computers.

3.  Get Miro This one reportedly automatically downloads and converts you tube and other videos for you, and you can even subscribe to podcasts and video casts.

A teacher says:

For instance, I had subscribed to Discovery’s “Amazing Human Body” video-cast and during my human body unit, I had a short 3 minute video to go whenever I wanted to fill some time or get the students’ attention.

4.  Vixy.net. You enter the YouTube (or other website) and this site converts it to MPEG4, AVI, etc.  Once it’s converted, the teacher can download the video to a disk or USB.

5.  Tube TV. This is a downloadable application that then lets you browse and save YouTube and other videos.

All of these have their pluses and minuses — do you want something that is an application on your computer, or a website you go to?  Do you care what format you get the video in?  After reading through these, I think that Vixy.net and Download Helper are the two that I’d try first.

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