Offline Viewing: Videos and Music Along on Your Android Device

You love YouTube, but you don’t always have access to the Internet when the mood strikes you. So, your alternative is to watch videos offline. And, therein lies the problem. YouTube’s new format pretty much prevents you from doing that because the site no longer buffers and preloads video.

On a PC, you can sort of work around this by shutting off the new DASH playback. DASH is the fundamentally different way Google uses to stream video to your browser. Instead of preloading the video, Google thought it would be cooler and more efficient to stream that puppy in real time.

dash playback

It’s not. You know that, and so does everyone else. Google didn’t get the memo because it thinks everyone has a steady 20Mbps download stream at all hours of the day for high-def video.

Anyway, on your Droid, you basically don’t have the same options that you do on your laptop, so you have to improvise a little. When you lose your Internet connection, you lose the ability to watch video with DASH. Here’s how to get around that problem on your Android device.

Enable “Unknown Sources”

Google Play is the big time app store for Droid. Whatever you want, you can find it here – except when you can’t. And, an app for downloading YouTube videos cannot be found here. Oh, sure, there are apps that say they can do the job, but there’s really only one that consistently delivers on the promise.

But, before you can download anything to your Android device, you need to enable “unknown sources” on your Android device. This is a setting that’s under the “security” section of “settings” in your Android device (specifically, the Nexus 7, though other Android devices have a similar setting).

unknown sources

Why enable this? Because you have to. What you’ll be downloading isn’t in the Google Play store. If you don’t enable this, you won’t be able to download the “killer app.”

Download The Killer App

The app in question is the YTD video download software. This app allows you to download just about any copyright-free video on YouTube. It just so happens that this app is free; and, oddly enough, it’s the only app that seems to actually work too. Go figure.

Always respect intellectual property with video downloads.

You can check out the source code on GitHub or SourceForge, if you’re interested.

Configure The App

Once you have the app downloaded, you need to configure it. Thankfully, this isn’t too difficult. Under the settings option in the app, enable the “show preview image,” “show all video sizes,” “enable audio extraction,” and “enable auto-update.”

The audio extraction feature is for when you only want to download the audio of a YouTube video. This is handy if you’re downloading some music that a friend made, for example, and the video is superfluous.

The preview image option lets you see what you’re downloading before you download it. You want to show all video sizes so you’re capturing as many videos on YouTube as possible and auto-update should be obvious.

YTD Downloader Android

Download Appropriate Videos

Using this handy piece of software is dead simple. Launch YouTube and search for a video you want to download. When you’ve struck gold, tap the “share” button (it’s the sideways “V” looking thing with three circles). Now, tap the button for YouTube downloader.

There’s one major restriction for this app and that is that you won’t be able to download any of the music videos of your favorite artists. You know the VEVO music videos on YouTube? Those are a collaboration between YouTube and the studios.

They (meaning the artists and Google) make a lot of money off of those videos, and they don’t want you downloading them. So, you can’t.

The video will download to the “sdcard/download” folder.

Convert The Video

Let’s say you’ve downloaded your video, but you want to be able play it on a variety of media players. The good news is that YTD isn’t just a downloader. It’s also a file converter. So, if you want to convert your video, you just fire up the software and load your video.

YTD can convert videos to just about any popular file format. This is pretty handy not just for YouTube videos (though it handles them very well) either. Let’s say you’re making a business video, something for a charity, a home video, or a video for your partner or friend.

You want the ability to convert it into multiple file formats and burn it to a DVD or something. No problem. This software can make the conversion for you. It’s sort of like a Swiss army knife, but for videos and with no sharp edges.

Margo Clayton has a head for technology. With a passion and a wonder at how tech has changed over the years, she enjoys blogging about history and emerging ideas in the industry.