Most new online video streaming websites are moving towards the FLV (Flash Video) format created by Adobe. Youtube uses FLV format exclusively. The problem with the flv format is that it isn't very easy to save these files. And even if you do, most video players such as Windows Media Player or Realplayer cannot play these files. They can be viewed only through special viewers or on your browser (with Flash plugin).
I will outline a few easy ways to download and view FLV videos from Youtube and other online video streaming sites.
The first step is to download the file. An online tool called KeepVid comes in handy here. KeepVid basically allows you to input the URL of the page which has the video in it. These videos need not be in the FLV format. KeepVid then recognizes the provider and automatically generates a download link for you. So, if you put the URL of a Youtube video page, you will get the download link for an FLV file which you can save onto your computer. KeepVid currently supports over 40 different video sites.
An alternative to KeepVid is the Firefox Videodownloader extension which adds an icon to your Firefox status bar. Clicking on this icon while you are at a video page allows you to download any embedded content on that page. Pretty neat.
You also have the option of encoding your FLV files into avi, mpeg, iPod, PSP or any other format you wish. SUPER Encoder does a fine job of just that.
I hope you found this tutorial pretty useful. Now you can go ahead and compile your own library of cool videos right on your hard drive!