Download Youtube Videos With Youtube-dl


You can install youtube-dl through ubuntu's package management system...

sudo apt-get install youtube-dl  

However, doing this results in me getting the following error when trying to grab some videos:

ERROR: Signature extraction failed: Traceback (most recent call last):  

The best way to install the latest version is through the Python package management system (pip). Make sure you have installed pip and then run the following commmand:

sudo pip install --upgrade youtube-dl


youtube-dl [youtube video url]  

Specify A Format

The tool should download the best resolution file by default, but doesn't always get the type of file you want. For example, I find that with Level1techs it will always grab the webm format. To resolve this, I just specify that I want the highest resolution mp4 file like so:

youtube-download -f "mp4" [youtube video url]

List All Options

If you want, you can list the different formats and resolutions available using the following command:

youtube-dl -F [youtube video url]  

...which will give you something like:

format code  extension  resolution note  
249          webm       audio only DASH audio   53k , opus @ 50k (48000Hz), 15.05MiB  
250          webm       audio only DASH audio   71k , opus @ 70k (48000Hz), 18.85MiB  
171          webm       audio only DASH audio  124k , vorbis@128k (44100Hz), 29.31MiB  
140          m4a        audio only DASH audio  130k , m4a_dash container, mp4a.40.2@128k (44100Hz), 37.45MiB  
251          webm       audio only DASH audio  131k , opus @160k (48000Hz), 33.97MiB  
278          webm       256x144    DASH video  102k , webm container, vp9, 30fps, video only, 22.92MiB  
160          mp4        256x144    DASH video  120k , avc1.4d400c, 30fps, video only, 32.57MiB  
242          webm       426x240    DASH video  235k , vp9, 30fps, video only, 35.37MiB  
133          mp4        426x240    DASH video  255k , avc1.4d4015, 30fps, video only, 72.56MiB  
134          mp4        640x360    DASH video  331k , avc1.4d401e, 30fps, video only, 66.79MiB  
243          webm       640x360    DASH video  442k , vp9, 30fps, video only, 67.08MiB  
135          mp4        854x480    DASH video  629k , avc1.4d401f, 30fps, video only, 139.30MiB  
244          webm       854x480    DASH video  792k , vp9, 30fps, video only, 112.19MiB  
136          mp4        1280x720   DASH video 1191k , avc1.4d401f, 30fps, video only, 281.08MiB  
247          webm       1280x720   DASH video 1626k , vp9, 30fps, video only, 247.77MiB  
137          mp4        1920x1080  DASH video 2327k , avc1.640028, 30fps, video only, 533.65MiB  
248          webm       1920x1080  DASH video 2773k , vp9, 30fps, video only, 534.38MiB  
17           3gp        176x144    small , mp4v.20.3,  mp4a.40.2@ 24k  
36           3gp        320x180    small , mp4v.20.3,  mp4a.40.2  
43           webm       640x360    medium , vp8.0,  vorbis@128k  
18           mp4        640x360    medium , avc1.42001E,  mp4a.40.2@ 96k  
22           mp4        1280x720   hd720 , avc1.64001F,  mp4a.40.2@192k (best)  




Stuart is a software developer with a passion for Linux and open source projects.

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