Batch Downloading YouTube Videos

July 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Posted in Internet, Media, Movies, Online services, Software | 2 Comments

If I run into a YouTube video I’d like to watch again, I enjoy saving the file for future viewing. It’s also valuable if you plan to use the clip as a source reference or it’s hidden or hard to find. Playing a downloaded clip is much smoother too – none of those buffer delays. Browser Add-ins like DownloadHelper and FlashGot make the job simple.

But if you run into something long, posted in parts, this can be a tedious process. DownloadThemAll helps batch downloading a big page of links or images but YouTube Channels and similar don’t serve links directly.

When I Googled for this, I was offered several links and videos that recommended a product that includes a spyware tool-bar installer. It comes up as a safe site in site safety markers but ESET Anti-virus blocked the download. Avoid

BulkYoutubeDownloader (BYtubeD) to the rescue. It can easily suss out YouTube links on a Channel. While it’s capable of batch downloading a number of files, it doesn’t manage this part as well. As their help files suggest, use BYtubeD to produce the links and DownloadThemAll to download the links. DTA is very efficient at batch downloading files.

(These instructions are for Firefox or Waterfox. Other browsers will be similar)

How To
1 – install the DownloadThemAll & BYtubeD add-ins and restart the browser
2 – navigate to the Channel in YouTube and Right click, select BYtubeD
3 – set the download destination, quality, etc, check ‘select all’ and set to Generate Links.
(Use the Enqueue (download) option for downloading up to 5 only – it tries them all at once)
4 – click Start
5 – a web page of file links is produced and opens in your browser, with video quality levels.
(Note this page is just temporary links so prepare links and start download one channel page at a time)
6 – with the page selected, go to Tools, DownloadThemAll Tools, DownloadThemAll.
7 – Select Links, set download location, and click Start.
DownloadThemAll will bring them down in name sequence, 4 at a time. Roll your mouse over a downland to watch how it efficiently downloads multiple parts at once. This can be faster than a straight download.

If you have a large batch, run this process at the end of the day and have it run overnight. You can add more pages to DownloadThemAll to create a larger batch. Just repeat the above process. Note that BYtubeD will overwrite the previous temporary links page you added to DTA previously so add them to DTA first, then make the next page.

Alternatively, you can use AntiContainer. It adds greater link capability to DownloadThemAll so you can use just the one tool. However, you have to go through the links and select the right ones, avoiding menu and other bits on the list. You may find it more useful on other sites though as it’s not YouTube specific.

And remember – this is for personal use. Using it to steal or infringe copyright can get you in trouble. And if you think you surf anonymously, you’d be mistaken. The web server has to know your computer address to send you the files.

UPDATE: It’s worth noting that YouTube plays Flash video. However, most posted videos are uploaded in another format like MP4 and converted by Youtube to Flash format (and various resolutions (quality levels)). When you download them, the best option is usually the original as it has the highest resolution. BYtubeD will download the highest resolution up to what you set. DownloadHelper will give you a choice. Typically “[Medium]” indicates the MP4 file. The extra advantage of MP4 is that all media players support it while only some support playing Flash FLV files.

UPDATE 2: Recently I ran into some content that was “unavailable” for download as MP4 via BYtubeD or DownloadHelper. Flash Video Downloader could download the MP4 though so it pays to have a few tools in the kit. FVD supports many sites and formats and is also a good choice for mobile uses. It has a slightly less obvious tool for searching for videos across many sites. (Note that some videos may only be posted in FLV so MP4 would require a post-download conversion. In this case it was present but hampered.)


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  1. Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News. Do you have any
    suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thank you


    • Thanks. No, I do nothing to promote the blog. It sometimes surprises me what becomes popular here.


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