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How To Download A YouTube Video To Windows Media Player

By Tina Sieber2010-11-18

how to download youtube video to windows media playerThe digital age is a dream come true for hoarders and collectors. No matter how much digital data or information you amass, it won’t take up a lot of space. This means you don’t have to control your primal instinct to search and collect, you can give rein to it.

Sometimes, however, there are technical obstacles. If you’re looking for a way to download YouTube videos and view them in Windows Media Player, read on. This article will explain how to best extract YouTube videos and subsequently enjoy them on Windows Media Player.

How It Works

YouTube streams content using flash video technology. The respective file format is .flv. To download and view a YouTube video, you basically have three options:

  1. Download and playback the video in .flv file format.
  2. Download and playback in an alternative file format.
  3. Download the .flv file and convert it to another file format for playback.

This article is mainly concerned with how to view YouTube videos in Windows Media Player, regardless of how you obtained the files and what file format they are in. Hence, we can neglect the third option.

Best Download Options For YouTube Videos

To limit the confusion, I have selected only two tools. One is a website, the other a program. Both work flawlessly. You should go with the second one, VDownloader, if you want to download multiple videos in parallel.

Kiss YouTube

Kiss YouTube is a straight forward way to download YouTube videos because you do not need to install any software. In addition, Kiss YouTube can download YouTube videos in three different file formats: 3GP, FLV, and MP4. Paired with ease of use, that’s plenty of great features for an online service.

You can either copy and paste the URL of the YouTube video into the respective field on the Kiss YouTube homepage (see screenshot below); OR you can rename the YouTube URL, adding the word ‘kiss’ between ‘www.’ and ‘…’.

In both cases you will be directed to a page that lets you select your download format.

download youtube videos to computer

To proceed, click the download link of your preferred file format.


This is a software option, which is more convenient if you want to download multiple videos or wish to download from more sources than just YouTube. Attention! The installation comes with lots of extra software options and adware, all of which you can opt out of. Be sure to carefully screen all your options and go with a custom installation to opt out of the Ask toolbar and homepage.

Once you have completed the installation, VDownloader is a great tool. As soon as you copy a URL, it is pasted into the program’s > Video URL field. Next select your preferred > Output Format and hit the > Download button. While your first video is already downloading, you can proceed to add the next one.

youtube video download

The available output formats include .flv (no conversion), .avi, .mpeg, .mp3 (audio), and several more.

VDownloader was also reviewed by Karl in this article: VDownloader ““ Really Easy Video Downloader Software. Also check out Simon’s article on How To Easily Download YouTube High Definition Videos.

How To View Various Video File Formats In Windows Media Player

Now that you have downloaded your videos, here comes the tricky part. Per default, Windows Media Player only recognizes a limited amount of file formats, the standard video file format being .wmv. However, none of the options above download YouTube videos in that format. So what can you do?

You need to download and install codecs so that Windows Media Player can read all those file types. Don’t sweat, it’s a quick and easy three-step-program:

  1. Go to Codec Guide and download any of the K-Lite Codec Packs, the basic one is sufficient.
  2. Install the downloaded K-Lite Codec Pack.
  3. Enjoy downloaded videos in Windows Media Player.

how to play youtube videos in windows media player

That’s it.

Also check out the following YouTube-related articles on MakeUseOf:

  • 3 Free Ways To Download YouTube Movies To Your iPhone (& Other Mobile Phones) by Jeffry
  • 3 Sites to Download YouTube Videos as MP3 Files by Tim Lenahan
  • 10 Youtube URL Tricks You Should Know About by Varun


If you’re now wondering, why you would want to use Windows Media Player in the first place, I congratulate you. The answer is, I don’t know. Fact is, it’s much easier to download a media player that naturally supports all these file formats. Obviously, you will save yourself the hassle of installing codecs and trying to make it work with WMP. If you can live without WMP and would prefer an easy option, I highly recommend VLC Media Player.

Here are some more MakeUseOf recommendations:

  • Top 5 Free Media Players For Windows by Will
  • Kantaris ““ A Great New Media Player Based On VLC by Simon
  • Splayer ““ A Portable Play-All Media Player for Windows by Jessica

This is the time to fess up! Do you download YouTube videos to your computer and in case you do, what is your reason? Do you mind sharing how many gigabytes the YouTube videos take up on your hard drive?


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