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how to download youtube video to windows media playerThe digital age is a dream come true for hoarders and collectors. No matter how much digital data or information you amass, it won’t take up a lot of space. This means you don’t have to control your primal instinct to search and collect, you can give rein to it.

Sometimes, however, there are technical obstacles. If you’re looking for a way to download YouTube videos and view them in Windows Media Player, read on. This article will explain how to best extract YouTube videos and subsequently enjoy them on Windows Media Player.

How It Works

YouTube streams content using flash video technology. The respective file format is .flv. To download and view a YouTube video, you basically have three options:

  1. Download and playback the video in .flv file format.
  2. Download and playback in an alternative file format.
  3. Download the .flv file and convert it to another file format for playback.

This article is mainly concerned with how to view YouTube videos in Windows Media Player, regardless of how you obtained the files and what file format they are in. Hence, we can neglect the third option.

Best Download Options For YouTube Videos

To limit the confusion, I have selected only two tools. One is a website, the other a program. Both work flawlessly. You should go with the second one, VDownloader, if you want to download multiple videos in parallel.

Kiss YouTube

Kiss YouTube is a straight forward way to download YouTube videos because you do not need to install any software. In addition, Kiss YouTube can download YouTube videos in three different file formats: 3GP, FLV, and MP4. Paired with ease of use, that’s plenty of great features for an online service.

You can either copy and paste the URL of the YouTube video into the respective field on the Kiss YouTube homepage (see screenshot below); OR you can rename the YouTube URL, adding the word ‘kiss’ between ‘www.’ and ‘youtube.com/…’.

In both cases you will be directed to a page that lets you select your download format.

download youtube videos to computer

To proceed, click the download link of your preferred file format.

VDownloader

This is a software option, which is more convenient if you want to download multiple videos or wish to download from more sources than just YouTube. Attention! The installation comes with lots of extra software options and adware, all of which you can opt out of. Be sure to carefully screen all your options and go with a custom installation to opt out of the Ask toolbar and homepage.

Once you have completed the installation, VDownloader is a great tool. As soon as you copy a URL, it is pasted into the program’s > Video URL field. Next select your preferred > Output Format and hit the > Download button. While your first video is already downloading, you can proceed to add the next one.

youtube video download

The available output formats include .flv (no conversion), .avi, .mpeg, .mp3 (audio), and several more.

VDownloader was also reviewed by Karl in this article: VDownloader – Really Easy Video Downloader Software VDownloader - Really Easy Video Downloader Software (+ 20 Free PRO Accounts) VDownloader - Really Easy Video Downloader Software (+ 20 Free PRO Accounts) Read More .

How To View Various Video File Formats In Windows Media Player

Now that you have downloaded your videos, here comes the tricky part. Per default, Windows Media Player only recognizes a limited amount of file formats, the standard video file format being .wmv. However, none of the options above download YouTube videos in that format. So what can you do?

You need to download and install codecs so that Windows Media Player can read all those file types. Don’t sweat, it’s a quick and easy three-step-program:

  1. Go to Codec Guide and download any of the K-Lite Codec Packs, the basic one is sufficient.
  2. Install the downloaded K-Lite Codec Pack.
  3. Enjoy downloaded videos in Windows Media Player.

how to play youtube videos in windows media player

That’s it.

Also check out the following YouTube-related articles on MakeUseOf:

Conclusion

If you’re now wondering, why you would want to use Windows Media Player in the first place, I congratulate you. The answer is, I don’t know. Fact is, it’s much easier to download a media player that naturally supports all these file formats. Obviously, you will save yourself the hassle of installing codecs and trying to make it work with WMP. If you can live without WMP and would prefer an easy option, I highly recommend [NO LONGER WORKS] VLC Media Player.

Here are some more MakeUseOf recommendations:

This is the time to fess up! Do you download YouTube videos to your computer and in case you do, what is your reason? Do you mind sharing how many gigabytes the YouTube videos take up on your hard drive?

  1. JiMi
    March 12, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Time to time I want to download some music video or movie trailer, but lot of youtube downloader don't work for this content. Finally I found http://videater.com and now I can download everything. Great!:)

  2. Anonymous
    December 3, 2010 at 3:01 am

    aha, thanks, I hava already got iFunia Free YouTube downloader for my favourite YouTube vdieo downloading, as after I read this full guide on wikihow: How to Download and Convert Videos Using iFunia Free YouTube Downloader for Mac
    and now it also can do some converting when my iPad don't support the flash video~~

  3. Anonymous
    December 3, 2010 at 3:01 am

    aha, thanks, I hava already got iFunia Free YouTube downloader for my favourite YouTube vdieo downloading, as after I read this full guide on wikihow: http://www.wikihow.com/Download-and-Convert-Videos-Using-iFunia-Free-YouTube-Downloader-for-Mac
    and now it also can do some converting when my iPad don't support the flash video~~

  4. Meella
    December 3, 2010 at 4:01 am

    aha, thanks, I hava already got iFunia Free YouTube downloader for my favourite YouTube vdieo downloading, as after I read this full guide on wikihow: How to Download and Convert Videos Using iFunia Free YouTube Downloader for Mac

    and now it also can do some converting when my iPad don't support the flash video~~

  5. Meella
    December 3, 2010 at 4:01 am

    aha, thanks, I hava already got iFunia Free YouTube downloader for my favourite YouTube vdieo downloading, as after I read this full guide on wikihow: http://www.wikihow.com/Downloa...
    and now it also can do some converting when my iPad don't support the flash video~~

  6. Rowan Luke
    November 25, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Or u can use Audials Tunebite Youtube downloader to download youtube videos, for example.Easy to use plus it can both download and convert youtube flv videos to other formats:

    http://audials.com/en/how_to_record_stream_capture_music_videos_movies_from/youtube.html

  7. Aibek
    November 25, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    I suggest xVideoServiceThief,

    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/x...

  8. Rowan Luke
    November 25, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Or u can use Audials Tunebite Youtube downloader to download youtube videos, for example.Easy to use plus it can both download and convert youtube flv videos to other formats:

    http://audials.com/en/how_to_r...

  9. Anonymous
    November 20, 2010 at 2:45 am

    Audio from YouTube Videos,Zamzar is a good free Online Video Conversion.
    http://zamzar.com/

  10. zaraly
    November 20, 2010 at 3:45 am

    Audio from YouTube Videos,Zamzar is a good free Online Video Conversion.
    http://zamzar.com/

  11. Tina
    November 19, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    You can burn the downloaded video files to a CD or save them on an external drive, that's no problem.

    However, when you use the external storage media on another computer, make sure it has the necessary codecs installed to playback your videos.

    If you would like to share the videos with someone on their computer and you don't want to mess with their system, the easiest way is to use a portable application. That means you use a media player installed on your own external hard drive or flash drive. You should also use one that does not rely on video codecs installed on the respective computer.

    Try VLC Portable. On that page you will also find instructions on how to install VLC Portable and how to use it. Just look under Support. Note that you can not run this application from CD, you have to use a hard drive or flash drive.

  12. AnkammaRao
    November 19, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    FreeDVDSoft youtube downloader is also the best one, you can download entire youtube playlist also check here. http://www.dvdvideosoft.com/products/dvd/Free-YouTube-Download.htm

  13. Nano
    November 19, 2010 at 11:54 am

    or you can use Opera-browser. All you have to do is open your browsers cache and there it is.

  14. AnkammaRao
    November 19, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    FreeDVDSoft youtube downloader is also the best one, you can download entire youtube playlist also check here. http://www.dvdvideosoft.com/pr...

  15. Stkbkr95
    November 19, 2010 at 10:09 am

    I am slow to all of this tech stuff. Used to be a guru when the floppy disk was 5 inches in size. I want to store the content on either a CD or an external drive is that possible if I do this with the media player instructions above?

    • Tina
      November 19, 2010 at 6:47 pm

      You can burn the downloaded video files to a CD or save them on an external drive, that's no problem.

      However, when you use the external storage media on another computer, make sure it has the necessary codecs installed to playback your videos.

      If you would like to share the videos with someone on their computer and you don't want to mess with their system, the easiest way is to use a portable application. That means you use a media player installed on your own external hard drive or flash drive. You should also use one that does not rely on video codecs installed on the respective computer.

      Try VLC Portable. On that page you will also find instructions on how to install VLC Portable and how to use it. Just look under Support. Note that you can not run this application from CD, you have to use a hard drive or flash drive.

  16. Paritosh Singh
    November 19, 2010 at 8:29 am

    i loved the conclusion :P ditch windows media player in favour of vlc lol
    youtube videos can also be downloaded by using addons in firefox, chrome or other browsers.
    for firefox, the most popular is [url=https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/201/?src=api]DownThemAll![/url]

    • Tina
      November 19, 2010 at 6:38 pm

      Thanks for mentioning browser addons! They are indeed much more convenient. My way of thinking was that anyone who seriously uses Windows Media Player, probably also uses Internet Explorer, so I went with a universal tool.

  17. Paritosh Singh
    November 19, 2010 at 9:29 am

    i loved the conclusion :P ditch windows media player in favour of vlc lol
    youtube videos can also be downloaded by using addons in firefox, chrome or other browsers.
    for firefox, the most popular is [url=https://addons.mozilla.org/en-...]DownThemAll![/url]

  18. DG
    November 19, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Instead of typing "kiss" into YouTube's URL, try typing "pwn". The result is a meta-tool that links you directly into several different downloading tools, some of which are nearly identical to kissyoutube.

    The difference? Typeing "pwn" will take you to http://deturl.com which has a lot more to offer than kissyoutube, such as conversion to more file formats, links to simulcasting tools, youtubeproxy, youtu.be links, sharing tools, etc, etc.

    However! The **FASTEST** and most safe way simply to download the FLV or MP4 files is with this BOOKMARKLET: http://marklets.com/PwnYouTube...

    It lets you download directly from YouTube without any middlemen.

  19. Joana
    November 19, 2010 at 12:50 am

    http://keep-tube.com is the best!

  20. Arieswarlock
    November 19, 2010 at 12:38 am

    Jdownloader works great for youtube videos; gives you the option of downloading the different qualities and formats.

  21. DG
    November 19, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Instead of typing "kiss" into YouTube's URL, try typing "pwn". The result is a meta-tool that links you directly into several different downloading tools, some of which are nearly identical to kissyoutube.

    The difference? Typeing "pwn" will take you to http://deturl.com which has a lot more to offer than kissyoutube, such as conversion to more file formats, links to simulcasting tools, youtubeproxy, youtu.be links, sharing tools, etc, etc.

    However! The **FASTEST** and most safe way simply to download the FLV or MP4 files is with this BOOKMARKLET: http://marklets.com/PwnYouTube.aspx

    It lets you download directly from YouTube without any middlemen.

    • Tina
      November 19, 2010 at 6:40 pm

      Thank you for bringing up these tools DG! The bookmarklet is awesome.

  22. Brandt Absolu
    November 19, 2010 at 12:30 am

    Another good app for downloading video and audio is FreeMusicZilla. It works with virtually any site streaming this kind of content.

  23. Concerned Citizen
    November 18, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    Or, instead of worrying about spyware, and in the unlikely event you're using a moderately civilized operating system, you can achieve better results by running two commands from an Ubuntu shell:

    sudo apt-get install youtube-dl
    youtube-dl --all-formats

    youtube-dl is written in python and the above command will download all formats of a video that youtube makes available (flv, mp4, webm, etc...) in all resolutions available. You can, of course, narrow it down by using different options.

    And if you need to transcode the video to any format under the sun you can just use Handbrake.

  24. Joana
    November 19, 2010 at 1:50 am

    http://keep-tube.com is the best!

  25. Concerned Citizen
    November 19, 2010 at 12:52 am

    Or, instead of worrying about spyware, and in the unlikely event you're using a moderately civilized operating system, you can achieve better results by running two commands from an Ubuntu shell:

    sudo apt-get install youtube-dl
    youtube-dl --all-formats <youtube url="">

    youtube-dl is written in python and the above command will download all formats of a video that youtube makes available (flv, mp4, webm, etc...) in all resolutions available. You can, of course, narrow it down by using different options.

    And if you need to transcode the video to any format under the sun you can just use Handbrake.</youtube>

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