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Downloading and Playing YouTube Videos on Your PC

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Want to save YouTube videos to your computer's hard disk for future offline viewing? It's possible, as explained in the following article from YouTube 4 You author Michael Miller.

YouTube is a streaming video service. That means that it streams its videos from its site to your computer screen. You don’t actually download and save the videos to your computer; the videos are streamed in real time to your web browser, using the Adobe Flash Player.

The problem with the streaming video approach is that the videos you watch aren’t saved to your PC’s hard drive; if you want to watch a video at a later time when you’re not connected to the Internet, you can’t.

But even though YouTube doesn’t let you download its videos, there are other sites and software programs that can step in to get the job done. Fortunately, there are several options for downloading YouTube videos to your computer’s hard drive. Read on to learn more.

Tools for Downloading YouTube Videos

Several websites let you do what YouTube doesn’t—save YouTube videos to your computer’s hard drive. And after you’ve saved a YouTube video, you can watch it anytime you want, even if you’re not connected to the Internet.

The easiest way to save your YouTube videos is to use a video downloader site designed just for that purpose. These sites take the Flash video from the YouTube site and save it to your PC’s hard drive. Once it’s on your hard drive, you can view it at any time.

To use one of these sites, go to the YouTube site, open the desired video viewing page, and then copy the URL for this page. Now go to the video downloader site and paste that URL into the appropriate box. Click the Download button, and the site will download the selected video to your disk, saving it in the .FLV format. (If prompted, you’ll need to give the downloaded file a .FLV extension.)

Some of the more popular YouTube downloader sites include the following:

All of these sites are completely free to use, and will download and save any YouTube video (and, in some cases, videos from other streaming video sites).

In addition, if you use the Internet Explorer web browser, you can use the FlvGetter plug-in to download FLV-format videos from within the browser. If you use Mozilla Firefox instead, similar FLV downloading plug-ins for your browser include UnPlug and VideoDownloader.

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