When it comes to downloading videos, there is a constant battle between video streaming providers on the one side, and extensions, applications and services that provide video downloading functionality on the other.
A service that may have worked in the past may stop functioning altogether one day, or it may be pulled by its developers or maintainers because of legal issues.
I tried various downloading extensions over the years and they all stopped working at one point in time, became unreliable (worked occasionally but not always), or required external tools that you had to install on your devices.
Internet Download Manager (IDM) is a program to manage downloads first and foremost. It integrates with web browsers but may also be fed with download links and sites directly. The program is not free, but a trial is available that you may use to verify that it works on the sites that you want to download content from. The program is reasonably priced; you can grab a lifetime license for one PC for €22.25 currently.
The program comes with extensions for popular browsers such as Firefox and Chrome, and you are all set up immediately after installation. All you need to do now is to open a video page in the browser, locate the IDM "download this video" button and activate it.
The video starts to download immediately if only one quality is offered; if multiple versions are available, you get a selection list that provides information about the quality and size of the video.
The download manager opens multiple download threads (the developers call it dynamic segmentation) to download the video in question faster. You may notice a speed boost when you compare the download speed to that of browser extensions designed to download videos.
I tried the video download functionality of the download manager on a good dozen video streaming services and it worked on all of them without any issues (except once, where I had to restart the browser to get the IDM panel to be displayed for downloads right after installation).
It is even possible to download from commercial streaming services such as Amazon Prime but the videos won't play because of DRM (there is an option to show the download panel for protected content which you may need to activate. You find it under Downloads > Options > General > Customize IDM Download panels in browsers).
Is it worth it?
Internet Download Manager is not free and the question whether buying a license is worth it needs to be answered. As with most things in life, the answer depends on what you would like to use it for. Video downloading is just one feature that IDM offers as it can be used for all download related tasks.
It speeds up downloads and may work on sites that other solutions may fail on. If you download a lot, be it regular files, images, audio files, or videos, then you will probably benefit from using IDM (especially if anything else you tried so far is not working great).
Now You: do you download videos? which extensions/programs do you use for that?
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.