You Tube Download

Objective: We want to download a you tube video and play it offline.

For example the following video of Bob Ross



We download it as mp4 via the FireFox plugin “Video Download Helper”:

When playing a video on youtube, right-click on the Video Helper icon (or the arrow shown beneath it) and select the mp4 stream from the “Media” menu. The mp4 stream is usually the one listed as “720p”. Then just save the stream to disk.


Since mp4 does not play on some platforms, we also convert the video to webm via Hewbo Video Converter on MacOS X. On Ubuntu install ffmpeg as part of the libav-tools and convert the video on the cmd line:

avconv -i video.mp4 video.webm

The webm version now plays in most browsers, that is Chrome, Firefox and Safari, by embedding it in a <video> tag, like so:

  <source src="url.webm" type="video/webm" />
  <br />Your browser does not allow HTML5 video.


On an Android device webm does not play, though, at the time of this writing (April 2013), but next versions of Android will support it.
Edit January 2015: Android 4.0+ now fully supports webm streaming.