YouTube HD Download Bookmarklet

Update x2

Out with the old, in with the new. It has been quite a while since this article was written, and it was seriously out of date. I have updated the bookmarklets, included here for convenience. Be sure to use these links here at the top, and click and drag them to your bookmarks bar.

YouTube MP4 DL

YouTube FLV DL

More information about this newest version can be found in my post detailing them.


After doing some looking at YouTube’s code it turns out that it is possible to determine which formats of a video exist beforehand so I’ve updated my approach to use this consideration. These now grab the highest quality copy available in the particular format.

YouTube MP4 DL

YouTube FLV DL

More information about these can be found on my post detailing them.

Earlier today I was annoyed by all of the existing YouTube file download links and decided to cook up something of my own that made the entire process automatic (one click pops up the download window).

So, without further ado, I present the YouTube HD Download bookmarklet: YouTube HD DL.

And, for those movies that just aren’t up to snuff, there is also the YouTube SD Download bookmarklet: YouTube SD DL.


  • I’ve only tested it in Firefox 3.0.4 for Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.5. Your mileage may vary. The video I tested it on: Big Buck Bunny.
  • If your mileage does vary, it really isn’t anything too fancy and the code is easy to read. Have a look and fix problems you run into!
  • Not all videos have a HD version. If no download window pops up then the file is not available at that quality level. If that is the case, try the SD bookmarklet.
  • I borrowed the url string approach from user macskeeball‘s hint submitted to

8 thoughts on “YouTube HD Download Bookmarklet”

  1. Running Firefox 3.0.4 on Leopard 10.5.5. Dropped the bookmarklet onto the bookmark bar. Navigated to YouTube. Found a hi-def video. Clicked the bookmarklet. Nothing happens. No change to the screen that I can detect. (The frame that was modified in the earlier version doesn’t get modified.)

    Awaiting instruction… :D

  2. @Barry
    Hmm. It seems like you and I are on the same setup so I don’t know why it didn’t work. I retested everything just a second ago (I made a modification to the code so I didn’t pollute the global namespace) and everything appears to work fine. The only other thing I know to tell you is the video I was testing it on: Big Buck Bunny. Does that work for you? (HD & SD work for me.)

  3. @Barry
    The SD version of the bookmarklet (fmt=18) works for me on that video. Try updating the SD bookmarklet, I think I had a typo.

    Also, as far as I can tell, that video doesn’t appear to have been converted yet to the new 720p HD format (fmt=22) or it wasn’t originally uploaded in that high of a quality.

    Thanks for playing guinea pig on this!

  4. A-ha! So HD content will enable the HD bookmarklet to initiate the download -if- there is HD video present while the SD bookmarklet will initiate the SD video download(regardless of the presence or absence of HD content)?

    Guinea pig? Heck; I gain cool resources. What’s not to like?

  5. @Barry
    You’re correct, I guess I could come up with a unified downloader (that automatically goes for the highest available) but that’s beyond the scope of this two minute exercise. I’ll probably revisit this later.

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