Download YouTube Videos as MP4 Files
The above is the new official way from Google/YouTube. Its in test mode now but accessible by following those instructions.
If you use Firefox, there are also many plug-ins available that can enable you to download .FLV and .MP4 video files from YouTube.
Recently, YouTube’s HD videos are downloadable as MP4 video files but only in non-HD modes suitable for use on an iPod. If you want the HD versions, you need to download the .FLV file and then probably convert to MP4.
To download the FLV files, use Download Helper. A type YouTube video will show several alternative downloads for the currently playing video.
One blogger, Rishabh Singla, attempted to determine what the different types mean and came up with the following table:
- Basic / Normal: FLV; 718 KB; 1x; Low
- HQ18: MP4; 1.4 MB; 2x; Medium
- HQ22: MP4; 4.5 MB; 6.4x; Very high
- HQ35: FLV; 2.7 MB; 3.9x; High
- HQ37: Container?; Size?; Factor?; Super
However, since the new Download feature has been added to YouTube, I do not believe that HQ44 is consistently an HD “very high” quality video, as shown. Some times it is, but sometimes, the FLV file option is much better.
When the FLV file is better, I download the FLV and either play it with VLC – or, I convert it to MP4. If you are using Windows, look for the free FLV to Zune file converter. If you play with the various options, you can do a very nice conversion to 1280×720 MP4 format. (I need to update this post later – I can not seem to find which FLV to Zune converter I have and where I got it from. Meanwhile, here is a different free converter – I have not tested.)