The top performers in our review are Wondershare's AllMyTube, the Gold Award winner; iTube Studio, the Silver Award winner; and Replay Media Catcher, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing an application to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of these 10 programs.
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 that you want to download onto your computer. Whether it's remixing a popular video meme, using a clip to include in a new video, or simply storing 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 is what allows you to grab online videos and transfer them onto your computer. The products on our lineup let you find the video you’re looking for and then download it onto your computer. The best products even convert video files into a different format or optimize them for playback on a device other than a computer, such as your smartphone, tablet or gaming device.
Most of the video downloader software we reviewed function on essentially the same principle: 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 the application’s interface. This is convenient, because it allows you to search for the videos you want without the need of having multiple applications open.
Naturally, the most essential aspect of any video downloader software is its ability to capture videos stored on sharing sites like YouTube. The best applications allow you to select the resolution of the video you’re downloading. They can also capture just the audio. This can be useful if you find a lecture or audio-centric video you like. 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 lineup can convert your downloaded videos into other file formats. This means that if you download a video and it’s in MP4 format but you need it in AVI, MOV, WMV or any other common format, this program can convert it for you. Some of the programs allow you to download a video and then automatically convert it once the download is complete. This helps in shortcutting the conversion process by eliminating the step of manually converting your downloads.
Some programs in our review even have the ability to optimize your download conversion for specific devices. The programs that claimed the top spots on our side-by-side comparison 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 that specific device.
Even though YouTube is the most popular video sharing site, a video downloader that doesn’t capture YouTube videos wouldn’t be of much value. A program's ability, though, to download videos from any sharing site is equally important. Almost all the products in our review can download videos from almost any site. The best software contains a list of all the video-sharing services they can capture content from. Some have only dozens; others claim to be compatible with hundreds and even thousands of services.
We rounded up the best video downloader software on the market today. We subjected them to a battery of tests to confirm the claims made by the manufacturer and to evaluate each program’s usability. We found that most of the programs on our lineup are fairly easy to use. However, there were some that had a steep learning curve and could be frustrating to casual users.
We also found that no matter which program you use, the quality of the downloaded video is very good. This is because downloading the raw file that was originally uploaded doesn’t require any compression when it’s transferred onto your computer. This means you get an exact 1:1 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 of the video you want to download.
Take a look at our articles on video downloader software to learn more about the features and capabilities of different software.
When our evaluation was complete, we determined the following programs are the best for downloading videos from the internet:
AllMyTube: This is a new entry on our side-by-side comparison chart. It claimed the top spot, because it is extremely easy to use, has multiple options for downloading videos and offers 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 application above the competition.
iTube Studio: This application is nearly identical to the Gold Award Winner. In fact, all it lacks is the unique features mentioned above. This program is equally useful, simple and quick. It has a preprogrammed optimization library of over 100 devices and works with nearly every video sharing site you’re likely to come across.
Replay Media Catcher: This program is extremely easy to use and has some great features not found in most of the other programs on our lineup. Not only does it have the ability to 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.
It’s hard to go wrong when you buy video downloader software. With a few exceptions, all the products on our lineup produce roughly the same results when it comes to downloading video. What differentiates the programs are the extras they offer, such as file format conversion, device optimization and browser plug-ins. The best program do all of these things and more.