Ubuntu 12.04 Download Youtube videos using youtube-dl


Now that I have finally settled on Ubuntu as my Linux distro at home, there is heck of a stuff to learn. Well one of the things that I used to do on my previous Linux distro was to download Youtube videos and convert them to other formats using ffmpeg.

This post is all about showing you how to get running using a cool script called youtube-dl

Just so that you are aware youtube-dl tool can use ffmpeg, so gone are the old days. This tool has grown to much of my liking now.

Lets first of all install youtube-dl



[geshi lang=”bash” nums=”1″ target=”_self” ]

This command will install youtube-dl downloader tool. Now try this command

[geshi lang=”bash” nums=”1″ target=”_self” ]

Your video will start downloading right away and will be stored in current folder (if you have write permission to it) by name ckYwfP9-pLE.mp4

As you can notice that video file name is exactly what query string param v’s value is.

Hang on but I got a “Unable to download video” error

Well this is because you are running old version of youtube-dl installed, I guess the repo source does not get modified with each change. There is a easy way to update youtube-dl as shown below

[geshi lang=”bash” nums=”1″ target=”_self” ]

-U switch will check and update youtube-dl

Try to download the above video again. Ta! Da! and its downloading correctly now.

If not check your permission on folder that you are trying this command from.

Advanced options

For more advanced option you can always read man page of this tool by using the command below

[geshi lang=”bash” nums=”1″ target=”_self” ]


In my next article I will show you how to download a youtube video as mp3 and some more examples.

I hope that this helps.

If you have anything to add please leave your comments. I can compare your feedback to food I eat. I love both 🙂






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