Browsers Internet

Ant Video Downloader: Dead Easy Tool For Downloading Online Video [Firefox, IE]

Justin Pot 06-09-2013

Download videos from almost any streaming site in just one click. The Video Downloader is an extremely simple extension for Firefox and Internet Explorer that makes downloading videos from sites like YouTube and Vimeo easy – and tries to work with every video site on the web.


Whether you want to use a clip in your own video project or simple save a video for offline viewing, sometimes you’re going to want to take a video from the web and put it on your hard drive. There are lots of site-specific tools for this, but if you want a catch-all tool for most video sites on the web, look no further than Ant. Sure, it doesn’t offer many options, but it also stays out of your way. Let’s take a look.

Downloading Videos With Ant Video Downloader

Ant Video Downloader: Dead Easy Tool For Downloading Online Video [Firefox, IE] ant button

This simple button will change into a floppy disk when you watch a video. Here’s how that looks:

Ant Video Downloader: Dead Easy Tool For Downloading Online Video [Firefox, IE] ant newbutton

When the button looks this way you need only click it to download the video you’re watching. Be careful: if you’re watching a commercial you just might end up downloading the commercial, so be sure your desired video is playing before you click anything.


Ant Video Downloader: Dead Easy Tool For Downloading Online Video [Firefox, IE] ant downloading

I tested this on YouTube and Vimeo – both worked perfectly. I would have liked a choice of format and quality, but the files I ended up with played back nicely and would be more than useable as b-roll for projects if I wanted. I also tested the plugin with a couple of more-obscure sites, just to make sure. Videos from Cinemassacre The 6 Best Angry Video Game Nerd Episodes [MUO Gaming] "He's gonna take you back to the past, to play the . . ." For many a gamer, this song is immediately recognizable as the theme to the Angry Video Game Nerd. After all, "he's... Read More didn’t download, so that site didn’t work. Downloading from, however, worked perfectly.

Commercial sites seem to consistently fail. I tried Hulu, CBS and Fox – and ended up each time downloading the commercial no matter what I did.

So yeah, using Ant Video Downloader can feel like a mixed bag. Ant offers a hard to browse, impossible to search list of compatible sites, but there’s no way to find out for sure if a given site is working or not right now – I couldn’t find  list of user recommended sites, for example.


If you want something simple, and you mostly download videos from popular sites like YouTube and Vimeo, this might work for you. Anyone wanting more features or control should check out the other suggestions below.

Configuring Ant

I thought I’d go over the configuration options this extension gives you. Here’s how the preferences look in Firefox:

Ant Video Downloader: Dead Easy Tool For Downloading Online Video [Firefox, IE] ant settings1

You can set this to show up as a toolbar in the setting – don’t! You might like toolbars, but you’re wrong – they’re a waste of space. You can also move the downloader to the statusbar, if you still like statusbars. I’d stick with the button.


Below that you can change the folder where your downloads end up. Probably a good idea, but it’s up to you.

Ant Video Downloader: Dead Easy Tool For Downloading Online Video [Firefox, IE] ant moresettings

Ant offers a player, which is basically a quick way to watch the videos you’ve downloaded. That player can open in a window or a new tab – it’s up to you.

You can configure notifications, if you want. And you can stop the program from sending your download data to a central server. I’d recommend this, particularly because it’s the only way to turn off the seemingly useless “Ant Rank” button from your toolbar.


Other Video Downloading Tools

Of course, Ant is far from the only video downloading service on the web. Some are simpler; some are more complex. Let’s take a look at a few.

KeepTube is probably the simplest tool outline there, even if it only works for YouTube. Using it couldn’t be easier: you need only add the word “keep” the the front of any YouTube URL:

Ant Video Downloader: Dead Easy Tool For Downloading Online Video [Firefox, IE] keeptube 2

It’s simple, sure, but requires Java and only works for YouTube. Read about it and similar tools in Yaraa’s list of 5 easy ways to download and convert online videos 5 Easy Ways To Download & Convert Online Videos Streaming video websites are such a big part of our lives, it’s hard to remember a time when they didn’t exist. These websites revolutionized our computer video experience - no longer do we have to... Read More .

If you want more options than Ant Video Downloader, and don’t mind installing some software to get it, check out Freemake Video Downloader. This program allows you to paste URLs from thousands of sites and download a clean copy:

Ant Video Downloader: Dead Easy Tool For Downloading Online Video [Firefox, IE] freemake 01

It’s Windows only, sadly, but works quite well. Read Saikat’s excellent review about how Freemake Video Downloader allows you to paste the URL of any video and download it without a fuss The 5 Best Tools to Download Streaming Video From Any Website If you want to download videos from websites using online tools and programs, we've rounded up the best to get the job done quickly. Read More .

Ant is somewhere in between these two options. It’s a one-click solution, and because it’s a browser extension there’s no desktop program to worry about installing. But it’s not as complex as tools like Freemake, meaning you have less control over how it works. If you’re looking for a compromise, Ant might be for you.

Of course, it’s not for everyone. Let me know your thoughts about Ant Video Downloader below, along with any other alternatives you feel are worth mentioning.

Related topics: Mozilla Firefox, Online Video.

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  1. dennis
    December 21, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    I have used ant downloader for many years but now get a download error when I click the download button. rebooting does not help

  2. Gary
    September 24, 2013 at 7:50 am

    Hi , I am using ant video downloader for past 2 months without any problem but since morning it keep saving videos in html format but I want it to save file as flv or any other format which can be accessed without net. Do you know how to fix it?

    • Neal
      September 28, 2013 at 12:26 am

      Hello Gary,

      Even I'm facing same problem here . I 'm using ant video downloader more than 3 years but since 1 month when I download any video it comes in HTML format not in flv format as earlier. I'm using FireFox browser. Badly need the help.. Some here please reply me with ur suggestion

      thank you

  3. Justin P
    September 9, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Just tried, ended up downloading the ad. Guess that's a no.... :(

  4. Alex
    September 9, 2013 at 6:48 am

    I'm wondering if Ant. Video Downloader can download VEVO videos from YouTube, as far as I know only 4K Video Downloader supports it stably.

  5. Richard Burns
    September 7, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Nothing beat DownloadHelper.

  6. Daniel E
    September 7, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Not really surprised you can't download from Hulu or Netflix -- bet those videos are DRM'ed