YouTube is pretty pervasive and you probably have an app on your smart TV and can access videos on your phone, tablet and computer too. But what if you’re offline? What if you want to just listen to a video, not watch it? Enter the world of video download tools. I review one of the most capable: Gihosoft TubeGet.
As someone who publishes a lot of video content on YouTube – please check out AskDaveTaylor on YouTube! – I am very mindful of the convenience of wide access to my content and the limitations that YouTube puts on that same content because of its barriers to download. And that’s just one of dozens of different video sites, ranging from dailymotion to Vimeo to Facebook and Twitter. If you can watch a video on your phone or computer, why can’t you save it to watch later, on the train, a plane flight or just rewatching it without consuming yet more network bandwidth?
The flip side of this is that many video producers want to tightly manage access to their content and if you watch their video twice, they want it logged as two views in their analytics, etc. What I never advocate is making any choices or using any tools that violate the content owner’s copyright and intellectual property. But downloading content to watch offline? Even Netflix lets you do that, and their content is owned by huge movie and TV studios with teams of lawyers keeping a close eye on the entire Internet on a daily basis!
With all of that in mind, let’s talk about how you can use the simple Gihosoft TubeGet app – available for Mac or Windows – to quickly and efficiently download just about any video content from the Internet. There’s a free version which I’ll start by demonstrating, then I’ll highlight some of the additional features available in the Pro version.
The process is super easy. Let’s get a download started then I’ll jump back and explain what’s going on with the speed pop-up on the lower left, okay?
Back in your Web browser, get to a page that has a video embedded. I’ll use Kensington Magnetic Privacy Shield Review from my YouTube channel. Jump up into the address bar where it shows the URL and copy that value in full.
Now move back to Gihosoft TubeGet and click the big red “Paste URL” button on the top left. That’s it. Really.
Now the program will analyze the page in question, find the embedded video and figure out its specs:
After a short period of time it’s ready to proceed, whether you have the free version or have paid for the Pro version. First question will be what format do you want for the saved copy?
Since I post my videos on YouTube in full 1080p HD resolution, it automatically offers all these other resolutions too. The tradeoff is resolution and crispness versus file size: Notice the tiny 256×144 version is 8MB while the full 1080p resolution is over 200MB. More interestingly are the choices below the quality / resolution box. In particular, choose “Convert to MP3” and it’ll just download the audio portion of the video.
Also take a minute to set the destination for the videos you download so you don’t lose track of where they were saved. I changed mine so that new videos were saved directly onto the Desktop, but you might have a favorite folder you’d prefer, or an external USB drive or similar.
Click on the big red “Download” button and you’re ready to proceed. Unless, of course, you’re running the free version and you’ve selected a feature that’s only available for Pro users. Most notably Pro users can dramatically speed up the downloads by upping the bandwidth constraints. That’s the “speed” menu on the very first screen, above. In Pro version you can set it to “unlimited” and everything zips along as fast as your connection can manage. In the free version you’re constrained to a 1MB pipe which definitely still works, but is going to take a bit longer, particularly if you want nice HD copies of the content you find.
Pro also gives you access to videos on non-YouTube platforms, unlimited downloads per day (free is capped at 5 downloads/day) and a bunch of other features. If you’re patient and just want an occasional copy of a YouTube video, however, the free version might well meet your needs and save you a few dollars, but if you want to grab a bunch of videos – even from a playlist – or content from other sites, the Pro download is a good deal at only $29.95 for a lifetime of updates and support.
To show how the Pro version offers more flexibility, consider this pair of downloads:
The Turner Classic Movie page on Facebook has some interesting mini-interviews, including this very brief snippet (41 seconds!) of reporter Carl Bernstein talking about the movie All The Presidents Men about his role in the breaking of the Watergate scandal. It’s a perfect listen, so in the above I opted to just download the audio from this Facebook video. Notice it shows “mp3” in tiny grey letters.
Below it is another of my YouTube videos I’m downloading in full HD glory at 7.42MB/s. At a total size of 294MB, that speed is definitely better than 1MB/sec. A minute or two later and I’m done, Gihosoft TubeGet has done its job and the mp3 file is ready for a listen and the mp4 video for a watch. Simple, straightforward, useful.
If you want to free yourself up from always on connectivity to watch YouTube, Facebook, Dailymotion or other video content then you’ll find that Gihosoft TubeGet is a solid option for making the process quick and easy. I suggest you check it out!
Gihosoft TubeGet. Free for basic use, Pro version for Mac or Windows is $29.95 for single user or $75 for a 5-seat family license. Want to know how it stacks up against its competitors? Here’s their comparison of free YouTube download tools to check out too.
Disclosure: Gihosoft TubeGet provided me with a Pro license for the purposes of this review. Thanks, Gihosoft!