A batting average of .333 may be excellent among Major League baseball players in America, but for my purposes here, it’s a bit disappointing. Here are three tools all bent toward downloading or managing your YouTube experience, and only one of them is a hit, in my opinion.
Years ago I held up youtube-dl for public scrutiny, and I would say that in the time since then, it has evolved so much as to become the gold standard for text-only YouTube download gadgets. (And no, I take no credit for its proliferation.)
There have been others, like get-flash-videos, but youtube-dl seems to assimilate everything it comes into contact with, like … well, like some science fiction characters you know. 🙄
I mention this because of the three I have today, two are borderline functional, but you won’t be losing any features that aren’t part of youtube-dl’s arsenal. So sit back, relax and consider:
Pros: Simple, straightforward, lightweight, obvious. Can read files for links, and can convert between formats. Cons: Doesn’t seem to mesh with YouTube’s page format any longer. Can’t manage HTTPS links. Doesn’t seem to be working, in short. Overall: This is what I remember youtube-dl looking like, seven or eight years ago. yaydl seems to have stalled around 2008, which suggests it won’t be able to comprehend YouTube’s style any longer. I mention it because it’s on my list, and because there’s the off chance it might still work with some other hosts elsewhere.
Pros: Written in C, so it’s terrifically fast and light. Has a full screen interface. Can manage multiple simultaneous downloads. Cons: Minimal on-screen help, a little difficult to learn. Also can’t handle HTTPS links; also doesn’t seem to download target videos. Overall: For a fast, lightweight download manager, it would be hard to beat this. Unfortunately, it too has fallen behind on the times, with a timestamp of 2008 again. Offers a lot of great features and is customizable with a configuration file, but still, can’t seem to find the target videos. It’s a shame. … 😦
Pros: Eliminates the need for a graphical browser at all. Great for skimming searches and finding specific videos. Uses a scrolling command-line approach, with a captive terminal. Works with mplayer or vlc. Follows a vaguely vi-esque style for controls. Cons: Apparently only handles YouTube. Seems to lack settings or controls for multiple formats (720p, Flash, 1080p, etc.). No progress indicators as files are downloaded. Not much color aside from bolding. Overall: Of the three that I have, this is the only one I’m willing to say is positively working. Even better, this does a great job of throwing out the traditional browser-search approach, and keeping everything you need within one application. I am lost at trying to ratchet down the video quality; it would be nice to pull down the Flash version of a video and preview it, before switching to a high-quality version for proper viewing. I might be overlooking that though.
I’m disappointed that of the three I have, only the one appears to work. Then again, judging by my batting averages for most of the alphabet, one out of three isn’t bad. Perhaps if I fall back to a cricket batting average, it will look better. So, two outs and one run would be … 50.0? At least that sounds better. 😐