YouTube offers a variety of RSS feeds for everything from uploads by individual users to search results for any phrase. With these tools, you can download YouTube feeds as video podcasts in iTunes or any other video-podcasting application. YouTube doesn’t normally make this easy – the feeds are designed to notify you of new videos and send you back to YouTube, not to let you watch videos offline.
Many tools that were designed to do this in the past have stopped working, but Miro and RSS Handler still work well. These great tools can to automatically download YouTube feeds for watching offline or on the go.
Miro is an all-in-one video and music player that can download and play media from the Internet. In addition to downloading torrents, playing media on your hard drive, and subscribing to standard podcasts, Miro can also subscribe to YouTube feeds. Miro will download the videos from the YouTube feed and regularly check them for updates, allowing you to play these videos offline and sync them to portable devices such as Android phones and tablets.
YouTube offers a variety of RSS feed types that aren’t exposed in its interface. For example, in addition to getting RSS feeds for a specific user’s uploads, you can get feeds for top-rated videos and other featured categories, a user’s favorites, videos related to a specific video, videos that match a specific search, and more. For more information on the types of feeds you can create, check out this guide on Google’s Developers website.
Let’s say we want all TED Talks videos on YouTube – we’d use the following feed. Replace TEDtalksDirector in the feed address with any other username you want to get a feed for.
Add the feed address to Miro by clicking the Sidebar menu and selecting Add Podcast.
Each podcast you add will appear under Podcasts in the sidebar. You can have Miro automatically download new items or only download them when you request them. When you copy the YouTube videos to a portable device, Miro will transcode them to the appropriate format for your device.
RSS Handler runs in the background on your system, creating properly formatted video podcast feeds from YouTube RSS feeds. You can use RSS Handler to subscribe to YouTube feeds as podcasts in iTunes or other video-podcasting applications. You’ll need RSS Handler running whenever you want to update the feed and download new items.
The current stable versions of RSS Handler no longer appear to work properly, so you’ll need to download the latest version – currently version 3.0.1-beta4 – from RSS Handler’s downloads page. You’ll also need Java installed to use RSS Handler – extract the RSS Handler archive and run the start.bat file to launch it.
Instead of giving RSS Handler an RSS feed, you build your own feed by entering information in the RSS Handler window. For example, if you wanted to subscribe to the TED Talks channel on YouTube, you’d select User and enter TEDtalksDirector – the TED Talks username – into the ID field.
The User, Favorites, and Subscriptions options all accept YouTube usernames as IDs, while the Playlist option accepts a playlist ID, which you’ll find in your browser’s address bar while viewing a playlist on iTunes – look for the ID after list= in the URL and copy everything before the & symbol.
Click the Generate Podcast URL button to get a special address after customizing your podcast. Add this address as a new podcast in iTunes by clicking the Advanced menu and selecting Subscribe to Podcast. You can subscribe to it in any other video-podcasting application, too. The downloaded videos can be watched in iTunes (or your podcasting application of choice) and put on iPods and other portable media players.
Ensure you select the correct format option in RSS Handler – for example, if you’re using iTunes, you’ll want to select one of the MP4 video formats, not the FLV one.
For other ways to download YouTube videos, check out these articles:
- 5 Easy Ways To Download & Convert Online Videos
- How To Download All Videos From A YouTube Playlist
- 4 Free Apps To Download YouTube Videos [Mac]
Which one of these tools do you prefer for downloading YouTube RSS feeds? Do you have any other tricks for downloading YouTube videos? Leave a comment and let us know.