If you’re a multimedia fan, you probably have a hard disk full of videos and songs. Keeping track of them all, playing them all, and managing them all can be tough. To help, we’ve assembled a selection of downloads that can do all that for you and more. With these ten free and low-cost utilities, you can download videos from YouTube, download streaming audio, and even edit your own creations.
Read on to learn more about the programs, or see our “Downloads for Managing Your Media” collection for quick access to all ten applications.
Video Downloaders and Converters
The Web is full of great videos, from YouTube and countless other sites. The problem is, the videos stream to your PC, so in order to watch your favorites, you have to head back to the particular sites that host them. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could download the videos to your hard drive, so that you could view them whenever you want and send them to friends?
We’ve chosen two great video downloaders–one is a Firefox add-on and the other is a stand-alone program that works specifically with YouTube. In addition, we found a very good tool for converting videos into assorted formats so that you can view them on any device. And all three programs are free.
Any Video Converter Free Version
Any Video Converter Free comes to the rescue. It converts video files into many different formats, so you can make downloaded videos playable on various portable devices. It even will download YouTube videos for you.
Converting videos is exceptionally easy: You just select a video or videos, choose the desired format, and click the Encode button. That’s it–the video is then ready for transfer and playback.
Download Any Video Converter Free Version | Price: Free
Download Video DownloadHelper | Price: Free
Conversion is similarly straightforward: After you choose the downloaded file you want to convert, select the download format, and click OK, the applet does the job. You can convert to many different portable-device formats, including for the iPod, iPhone, cell phones, and PlayStation Portable, as well to as common PC formats such as MPEG and Windows Media (.wmv). Given that all this is free, what’s not to like?
Note that when you install this software, by default it will install the Yahoo Toolbar and make Yahoo your default search engine. If you don’t want that to happen, make sure to uncheck the appropriate boxes before installation.
Download YouTube Downloader | Price: Free
Audio and Video Editing
Interested in not just being a consumer of multimedia but also editing it or creating it? We have what you need. Here are two no-cost programs that can handle your multimedia projects, one for audio and the other for video.
What can you do with it? For starters, you can cut and paste sections of a recording, or delete entire sections. You can use fades and other effects, and mix an unlimited number of tracks. You can even create your own “soundscapes” by generating sounds and mixing them. All kinds of great features make this software ideal for audio engineers, as well as for anyone who just wants to play around with sound.
Download Audacity | Price: Free
The program has far more sophisticated capabilities as well, but overall it’s more appropriate for basic tasks than for true, in-depth video editing. Nevertheless, it’s free and it does the job. The only drawback is that it doesn’t handle Windows Media (.wmv) files.