December 13, 2006

Grab online videos with the All-In-One Video bookmarklet

Author: Mayank Sharma

Video download tools have been available since people have been uploading videos. Linux.com's CLI Magic column recently featured the Python script youtube-dl, which lets you download videos from YouTube using the command line. If instead you want the power of a Web-based application that can download from some of the major download sites at the touch of a button, get yourself the All-In-One Video bookmarklet.

A bookmarklet is a JavaScript program that can be saved as a bookmark. Bookmarklets are simple one-click tools that can add functionality to a browser. The All-In-One Video bookmarklet works for videos hosted on YouTube, Google Video, Metacafe, MySpace, Break.com, Putfile, Dailymotion, Sevenload, MyVideo.de, and Clipfish.de. It's platform-independent and works with the Firefox, Mozilla, and Opera Web browsers.

Installation is simple. Just visit its home page and bookmark the bookmarklet link by right-clicking on it and selecting the bookmark option. If you like, you can drag the bookmark onto the Bookmarks toolbar for easy access.

To download a video, simply visit any of the sites the bookmarklet supports. When you find a video you want to save, click on the bookmarklet to invoke the JavaScript, which detects the media on the page and offers you a download link to the video. Save the file and you're done. Be sure to rename each downloaded clip, since the bookmarklet just names them 'get_video' or 'video'.

If that sounds confusing, developer Christoph Schellen offers a small video that demonstrates how the bookmarklet works. He also provides a Greasemonkey script for Firefox users who use the Greasemonkey extension.

Unlike Google Video, which gives you the option to download the video in any of three formats (AVI, MP4 for portable devices like the iPod, and FLV), YouTube only offers FLV downloads. While both xine and VLC can play FLV, I had a very low success rate at playing downloaded content with these tools. The ones that did play back had no sound. You may have better luck if you convert the video to another format. Take a look at Manolis Tzanidakis' article to convert FLV files into AVI format.

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