With the insane popularity of online video sharing portals like YouTube, Metacafe, Dailymotion and many others in recent times there are countless extensions that have appeared for the Firefox to download videos from these sites. These kind of extensions are still growing like mushrooms. On the other hand it makes the job difficult for the Firefox users to decide that which one to to pick from them. This is a problem because most of these extensions are not very good. Most are limited in compatibility like they may work only on popular websites such as YouTube but not on the lesser known websites. For the other part they may be limited in functionality. Or they may be not as convenient to use and so on. Actually, I have tried many of them in the past. Some of them were really good but after spending a lot of time with the experimentation and tinkering I settled with an extensions called DownloadHelper.
It is in fact one of the most popular Firefox extensions out there and for a good reason (actually a couple of reasons). DownloadHelper has evolved a lot with the passage of time and now this is an extremely polished tool and comes with some really useful features. In fact, DownloadHelper can also help with downloading images, audio etc. but I don’t think it is a specialty for this extension as there are some better extensions that can do that task much better (planning to review some great image/ image galleries downloading extensions soon!).
Once installed DownloadHelper adds a button to the Firefox toolbar which you can place anywhere you like on the toolbar. Whenever you visit a page which contains video files (or audio, images etc.) the toolbar icon becomes animated which means there is some media available for download on the current page. By clicking on the toolbar button a quick download of the video on the current page will initiate. Actually clicking behavior can be changed in the options say if you want to open a dropdown menu instead and select a specific video to download from the current page. In the settings dialog you can also set the option to download video with a third party downloader instead of the Firefox (using Flashgot).
It works really well with sites like YouTube say if you visit a page where multiple video quality versions of the video file are available such as SD, 720p, 1080p – it will show all the detected versions of the same video file in the dropdown and an appropriate version of the video file can be downloaded. Now, I will talk about one of the simple but extremely useful features that separates it from most other video download extensions. I am talking about the automatic renaming of downloaded files by DownloadHelper based on the page tile. So, video files will not be saved with those generic cryptic names like video_001.flv etc anymore. Another nice feature about this extension is the support for video conversion where it will automatically convert the downloaded files to some other format such as MPEG, AVI or WMV (optional). There are also hotkeys available to perform common operations such as downloading or initiating a Flashgot download.
DownloadHelper can be download here.
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