Review: SnowFox YouTube Downloader HD Freeware

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I’ve been playing with a Windows software tool called YouTube Downloader HD (by SnowFox). The freeware enables you to download YouTube videos directly to your computer. Yeah I know, you can already watch YouTube videos without downloading the video. But by downloading the YouTube video to your computer (Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000), you can play it later without an Internet connection. Or better yet, transfer the file to your smartphone so you can play it without having to use your data plan. The tool also comes in handy for saving your favorite YouTube videos. You never know when YouTube might remove something you enjoy watching. I’m still annoyed they removed a Star Wars / Star Trek spoof that I thought was hilarious.

SnowFox YouTube Downloader HD

With SnowFox YouTube Downloader HD, you can download and save the YouTube video in the following formats:

  • iPod/iPhone movie – normal quality
  • Standard movie – normal quality (360p)
  • Standard movie – high quality (480p)
  • HD movie – high quality (720p)
  • HD movie (full HD) – high quality (1080p)

I tested the software by trying to download the videos from my YouTube account (note: you’re not limited to your own videos). Of the 15 files I selected, I was only able to download ten videos. I got a parse failed error on the five files I was not able to download. I really don’t know why the parse failed, but I think it might have something to do with copyright issues. All five failures were marked as either matched third party content or video blocked in some countries. The odd thing is that I was able to download one video that was also tagged as matched third party content.

What I like about SnowFox YouTube Downloader HD

  • It’s freeware and free is a very good price
  • Only takes a few minutes to download and save videos
  • All you need is the YouTube video URL to download the video
  • I can download YouTube videos to play on my iPod Touch (comes in handy when you have a toddler to entertain, but no Internet connection)
  • Useful tool for archiving favorite videos (in case they are removed later)

What I don’t like about SnowFox YouTube Downloader HD

  • You can’t select which format to save the file as (automatically saves standard movies as .flv and iPod/iPhone movies as .mp4, but what about avi, mpeg, wmv, and mov formats?)
  • I had to download a flv player to play the downloaded flv video files
  • You can’t select the file name for your video — it’s hard to determine which file it is when it’s saved as Youtube-20111010-122616.flv
  • I’m not certain why some files can’t be downloaded (parse failed)
  • Log file is useless for determining download errors
  • GUI is kinda clunky — you can’t copy and paste the url directly (you have to use the + button to add the url)