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How to download from Youtube using youtube-dl

📅 2020-Sep-05 ⬩ ✍️ Ashwin Nanjappa ⬩ 🏷️ youtube ⬩ 📚 Archive

Youtube-DL is an open source tool written in Python that helps download video and audio from Youtube and many other video streaming websites.

$ sudo apt install youtube-dl

However, the version maintained by Ubuntu tends to be old and since the Youtube website keeps changing its protocol, you might get errors downloading content.

Instead, I recommend installing the latest version using pip:

$ sudo python3 -m pip install youtube_dl
$ youtube-dl "<youtube video URL>"

Remember to enclose the URL in double quotes to avoid misinterpretation by your shell. I found that the above command downloaded the content as a MKV file.

$ youtube-dl --extract-audio "<youtube video URL>"

I found that this downloaded the audio as an Opus file.

$ youtube-dl --extract-audio --audio-format mp3 "<youtube video URL>"

I found that the created MP3 file had a VBR of 132 kbps.

$ youtube-dl --extract-audio --audio-format mp3 --audio-quality 0 "<youtube video URL>"

I found that the created MP3 file had a VBR of 255 kbps.

$ youtube-dl --format bestvideo "<youtube video URL>"

$ youtube-dl --extract-audio --format bestaudio "<youtube video URL>"

However, it seems like the tool already picks the best video or audio stream by default. I did not see any difference between the files produced with and without this knob.

Tried with: Youtube-DL 2020.07.28 and Ubuntu 18.04

© 2022 Ashwin Nanjappa • All writing under CC BY-SA license • 🐘📧