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.

7 thoughts on “YouTube 1080p Download Bookmarklet”

  1. @SquizLaw:
    What browser are you using? I’ve just found out that it doesn’t work in Opera, and don’t have IE handy for testing (though I did look at it earlier today). I suppose that I’ll go ahead and iron out the browser bugs. *sigh*

    And with regards to tracking, other less scrupulous JavaScript bookmarklets send requests to Google Analytics or funnel the requests through an external website so that they, as the developer of the downloading script, can track what the people who have installed it are watching. This script does not do that, and is deliberately not obfuscated so that it can be vouched for.

  2. I’m using IE8 and it won’t work for me. I will try Chrome and if it will not work there, I’ll post again

  3. The bookmarklet no longer works in Chrome. Youtube was recently updated, which may have to due with the problem. /sadface

    Great bookmarklet when it was working! Thanks!

  4. the new youtube, doesnt allow this function anymore, is there a way that can be changed or something? i use FF.

  5. Bill, I’m guessing it’s not working because of Youtube’s latest redesign. Give Nathan a few weeks; he’s usually pretty good about putting an updated version up after they do a redesign.

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