Copy the link, paste it into a single program and download a video. That simplicity is what makes ClipGrab, a cross-platform program for downloading web videos to your computer, a pleasure to use. But it’s the support for multiple video sites, including Vimeo, CollegeHumor and – of course – YouTube, that makes this versatile tool an essential part of your kit.
We’ve featured ways to download YouTube videos before, including my personal favorite took for the job 3ouTube.com, the simplest YouTube downloading tool ever.
ClipGrab is different because it works on almost every computer – Linux, Mac and Windows – and you can download videos off a wide variety of web sites. If this sounds useful to you let’s take a look at what it can do.
Using this program couldn’t be easier. Simply copy the URL of any video you want to download and you’ll see a notification:
This pop-up means you can download the video. Go ahead and open your ClipGrab window and paste your video link in the main window. Click the “grab” button and you’ve started the process.
Just like that your download is started; you’ll even be able to save the file wherever you please. Naturally, there are a few things you can configure. Click the “Settings” tab to explore the options. You can set a default download location, of course, and configure whether downloaded MP3s retain ID3 tags. Of real interest to me, however, is this tab:
Change that option and the video URL you copy will be automatically downloaded – assuming ClipGrab is open, of course. This can be very useful if you have a number of videos you want to download quickly and without fuss, so try it out.
The sites officially supported by ClipGrab include:
Remember, though: other sites may work in theory. Try copying a given link and ClipGrab will let you know whether it can download that video with the previously mentioned pop-up. Also remember that the list of supported sites may change, so consult the ClibGrab info page if you’re wondering about a particular site.
Supported Output Formats
ClipGrab supports outputting to a number of formats:
- MPEG4 (video)
- WMV (video)
- OGG Theora (video)
- MP3 (audio only)
- OGG Vorbis (audio only)
As with supported sites, supported formats may change. Keep up using the ClibGrab info page.
Getting ClipGrab couldn’t be much easier; just head over to the ClipGrab download page. Windows users will find the standard executable for installation, while Mac users are required to do the drag-and-drop dance native to that operating system.
Linux users will find packages for Ubuntu, Suse and Arch, as well as source code and a pre-compiled version which may or may not work on your system. There’s also a portable version over at PortableLinuxApps, a site offering portable software that works on every Linux distro. This is a great way to try the program out: it will even work on a live CD.
There are a lot of video downloading tools out there, but most focus on a few sites. ClipGrab works on a number of different ones, and as such is worth having around. Sure, it can’t download from protected sites such as Hulu, but support for that may be coming. This being an open source project, of course, anything could happen.
Got a better tool for downloading web videos? Share it in the comments below. Also feel free to share what kinds of videos you’ve been downloading to your computer.