YouTube 1080p Download Bookmarklet

Almost exactly a year ago I wrote what turned out to be a pretty popular bookmarklet for downloading YouTube videos. Last month YouTube announced adding 1080p as a playback format. Catching wind of that a few days ago, I decided I’d go back and check to see if they still worked.

Nope. I guess that betrays the fact that I’m not an avid user of my own bookmarklet. However, it did provide a fun little diversion today in getting it working again.

The first thing I noticed when digging into their code is that Google is now using their own JavaScript library, Closure. I don’t know when the changeover occurred, but it was definitely sometime in the past year (glad that I could clear that up for you). I’m still not sold on the usefulness of Closure, but by virtue of its existence I have to at least have a functional understanding of it.

With regards to the site, there have been a few changes in the way that they store and retrieve their videos that I had to familiarize myself with, and since they don’t always list all available formats (18 being the main offender) I had to force it to divulge that URL with an additional request.

However, at the end of the day, the bookmarklets do exactly the same thing that they used to: download the highest available quality of the specified type. I hope they’re useful! (Click and drag these links to your bookmarks bar.)

YouTube MP4 DL

YouTube FLV DL

Technical footnotes:

  • 1080p is only served in an MP4 container. If you want 1080p when it is available, use the MP4 bookmarklet.
  • I’ve only tested this in Firefox 3.5.3 but I have no reason to believe that it won’t work in any browser, even IE6. Let me know if you experience problems.
  • The two videos I tested on primarily: Toy Story 3 – Official Teaser Trailer [HD] and 720p HD: Big Buck Bunny. If you’re reporting an issue please note if it occurs on either of those two pages.
  • Unlike most other YouTube download bookmarklets, this one does not track you in any way. Believe me, this is a good thing.