Downloading online Flash video

As with many technologies, the advent on online Flash video (flv) has both an upside an downside. On one hand it eliminates, or at least substantially reduces, the need to have a great variety of platform dependant streaming video tools (a la RealPlayer) but on the other hand there’s a lot of good, or at least interesting, content on YouTube which could either disappear without notice and requires an Internet connection to view. This is an argument I have with most of these Internet based services such as YouTube, Flickr, etc. I think people are setting themselves up for a future problem by posting so much potentially important data at sites with unknown and uncontrollable futures. Enough of my rant though. The point here is to find a solution, or at least a mitigation strategy for viewing Flash videos offline.

Thanks in part to others experiencing the same problem and the popularity of YouTube there are a number of people with an interest in this. Several online sites such as KeepVid and Javimoya offer web-based methods of saving these videos as well as downloadable FLV players for viewing them. Again though, I have a problem with relying on web services which are unpredictable in the future. A better solution would be to use a cross platform script, such as the python based youtube-dl, which does not rely on the cooperation of a third party. Even better is to understand how a script such as youtube-dl works by reading some information on manual FLV downloading from sites like this or this.

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