There’s nothing more irritating than, when you’re watching some of your favorite videos on, say YouTube or similar, and it keeps stopping midway through a great song for buffering, or you have to wait for it to start downloading then hit pause quick and wait a while for it to download almost completely before you play it. It would help, therefore, if there was a way to download your oft-watched videos to your hard drive to eliminate the wait next time.
There are already a few options for you to do this, including websites wherein you are able post the URL of the video and it’ll then download it, which means having to open that site too and copy and paste each URL each time; then you might need to convert it from it’s original format, in many instances FLV format, which might be great when it comes to hosting videos, but isn’t particularly flexible for the end viewer.
So a program which will download videos automatically or upon request in any desired format, or with the built in ability to convert to your favorite format, such as Sothink’s Web Video Downloader, which also includes a pretty comprehensive video converter, would be a handy thing to have.
The program itself, a free for 30-day trial purposes version of which is available, costs $19.99 to buy/register and, at about 13mb, takes a couple of minutes or so to download and install. Although the program itself is relatively simple to use, there are comprehensive, easy to understand, step-by-step guides on the website to assist you.
Basically, when run, the program sits in memory, monitoring your web browser for any videos, in most common formats, which appear on the pages you visit. Obviously, then, if you’re on YouTube or similar sites, the program will pick up on any videos you navigate to (without necessarily having to watch them), and notify you by means of a small popup window in the bottom corner that a video has been detected. All you need to do then is to instruct the program to download it.
Upon doing so, you are given an opportunity to choose the format in which to save the video, which is quite a comprehensive list of formats, including those used by portable media players such as ipod and mobile phone formats. By default, the program saves downloaded videos in the My Videos directory in My Documents, rather than insisting it has its own directory which so many other programs seem to do.
The program options allow you to choose to monitor your browser for a variety of video formats (or not, if you so wish), and to add a browser to the list of browsers which the program will monitor by default (with one very notable exception, see below).
If you’re low on bandwidth, you can choose to limit how many videos to download simultaneously. You can also monitor your downloads by opening the user interface and, once a video has downloaded, you can watch it in the program’s window or convert it into another format if you desire, should you want to copy it to a portable device for example.
In practice, the program works very well, it sits quietly in the system tray waiting until it detects a video, which it did on all the pages I visited, downloading the ones I asked it to with no trouble.
Are there any bad points? Well, the program supports most of the popular web browsers, Internet Explorer, Opera and Firefox by default; however, it doesn’t list Google Chrome by default (approximately 25% of internet users use Chrome) and, although I added Chrome in the program’s options, it wouldn’t detect any videos on any sites I visited with this browser, whereas it had no issues with IE and Opera on the same sites. I can’t imagine why it doesn’t appear to support Chrome, but, until it does, you could always use IE or Opera when you want to make use of this program.
In summary, the program does download videos from the internet quickly and easily, and allows you to choose, or convert between, a wide range of formats for all sorts of media players.
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