CyberNotes
Web Browser Wednesday




Online video has become an integral part of the Internet over the past few years. It once was hard to come by a good video online, and now there are millions of them!

Periodically I will come across a video that I absolutely love, and I want to save it to my computer so that I can have access to it whenever I want without having to worry about being online. The filetype that YouTube videos are stored as is FLV, which is something most normal media players can’t handle. If I’m taking a video over to a friends house I don’t want to worry about them having the right software to play it, so I take a few minutes and convert it first.

Here are the services that I normally use to do the conversions:

—Zamzar (Homepage)—

ZamzarZamzar is probably my favorite video conversion service because it supports videos from YouTube, Google, MySpace, Revver, PutFile, Break.com, Apple Trailers, Dailymotion, Metacafe, iFilm, Grouper, and Blip.tv! By “support” that means all you have to do is copy the URL from the site and Zamzar will go to work to begin the conversion process.

To make the process even easier you can copy the bookmarklet that they offer into your bookmarks. It works for multiple browsers (IE, Firefox, Opera, etc…) and if it detects that you are on a supported site it will automatically begin the conversion process for you. All you’ll have to do is enter in your email address and select the file type to get the video converted into, which includes: 3GP, AAC, AC3, AVI, FLAC, GIF, IPOD, MP3, MOV, MP4, MPG, OGG, WAV. It normally just takes a few minutes for them to email me saying that the video has been converted and is awaiting my download.

You might have noticed that several of the conversion options listed there are audio-only options. This is useful for videos that have a song or background music that you like, but don’t know where else to get it. You can take the video and have it converted to an audio format, such as MP3, that can then be played on portable media players and iPods. Of course the quality of the audio isn’t going to be the greatest, but if you’re just listening to the music through a pair of headphones you will hardly notice any quality degradation.

If you’re looking for good content to save to your computer go ahead and checkout the ZamZar Popular page. There you’ll find some of the most converted videos over the last 24 hours, most of which seem to be music videos right now.

 

—ViLoader (Homepage)—

This service is very similar to what Zamzar offers in terms of filetypes and supported video services, but it also offers some extras that might appeal to anyone into the finer details. You’ll be able to customize things like how many frames per second and the bitrate for both the audio and video:

ViLoader

One thing that I like about this service is that it doesn’t utilize your email for notifications and does the conversions immediately. After you press the “Convert” button you will be taken to a screen that shows you a progress bar for the conversion process, so you always know how much longer it will take. To make the download process a little easier they also offer an add-on for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Opera users.

ViLoader also seems to do a slightly better job of retaining the quality of the original video, which is something I find important. Of course, most of these online videos aren’t the best quality to begin with so I normally don’t worry about that too much.

—Overview—

I’m sure more and more of these services will continue to appear because it is nice not needing to have a conversion utility, such as Super, installed on your computer to do the work. Some of the programs that you can download to do the conversions can also be pretty complicated and require a lot more thought compared to these online services.

If you know of any other conversion services that make it easy to download online videos please let us know in the comments below!