Download YouTube Videos With youtube-dl On Ubuntu 9.04

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Submitted by falko (Contact Author) (Forums) on Tue, 2009-10-20 11:35. :: Ubuntu | Desktop

Download YouTube Videos With youtube-dl On Ubuntu 9.04

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme <ft [at] falkotimme [dot] com>
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Last edited 09/15/2009

youtube-dl is a small command-line program to download videos from It allows you to save videos as .flv files. This short article shows how to install and use it on Ubuntu 9.04.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Installing youtube-dl

youtube-dl is available as an Ubuntu package, so we can open a terminal and install it as follows:

sudo aptitude install youtube-dl


2 youtube-dl Usage

To learn about youtube-dl's usage, take a look at its man page:

man youtube-dl

Basically it works as follows:

youtube-dl -o [name of output file] [YouTube URL]


youtube-dl -o test.flv

would save the video from as test.flv in the current directory.

To watch the downloaded video, browse to its location in the File Browser and double-click the file:

The Movie Player will open and start the playback of the video. (If required plugins are missing, you will be guided through their installation before the playback starts.)


3 Links

Please do not use the comment function to ask for help! If you need help, please use our forum.
Comments will be published after administrator approval.
Submitted by arun (not registered) on Tue, 2010-10-12 18:52.

 YouTube desktop client for Ubuntu or Linux - Minitube. Download and watch youtube videos using minitube. For more info visit

Submitted by Anonymous (not registered) on Mon, 2010-06-14 14:53.
This is a great utility.  I would like to thank:

  • Ricardo Garcia Gonzalez: program core, InfoExtractor, InfoExtractor and YouTube playlist InfoExtractor.
  • Danny Colligan: YouTube search InfoExtractor, ideas and patches.
  • Benjamin Johnson: Google Video InfoExtractor, Photobucket InfoExtractor, Yahoo! Video InfoExtractor, generic InfoExtractor, ideas, patches, etc.
and everyone else involved!


Submitted by Stephen Wong (not registered) on Fri, 2010-05-14 02:44.

Thanks for this useful software. For me, I use Leawo free YouTube Downloader -

It can download YouTube for free. Besides, it can download videos other video sharing websites. You can check it.

Submitted by Doris (registered user) on Thu, 2010-05-13 09:37.

i often use Video Download Studio as my downloader, it can help me download videos off YouTube very smoothly.

Submitted by kiranjith (registered user) on Wed, 2009-10-28 11:14.

youtube-dl -b -o test.flv

To get the best quality...


Submitted by johntait (not registered) on Sun, 2009-10-25 14:41.
I love this program it's simple to use and the instructions here are crystal clear many thanks!
Submitted by Giorgos (not registered) on Thu, 2009-10-22 15:39.


I'm using (at ubuntu x64) Flashgot (with firefox), which is downloading the video (with wget) at my home folder.

Also, firefox is downloading the video at its temp directory, so someone is able to copy the video from there, before closing firefox (and temp files are deleted).


Submitted by Anonymous (not registered) on Tue, 2009-10-20 23:00.
I hate to break it to you, but the program violates YouTube's terms of use (read them and you'll see you're not allowed to use 3rd party software to download videos on YouTube)
Submitted by Anonymous (not registered) on Tue, 2009-10-20 19:06.
yep great method. I use however
Submitted by AMJ (not registered) on Tue, 2009-10-20 12:14.

There are alternatives without installation:

I haven't tested all of them, but some even let you choose the format of the downloaded video (mp4, avi, etc.).

The only advantage of youtube-dl is for scripting, but does it make sense?