Avidd: youtube-dl GUI for Android with a material design style
It doesn’t happen often but from time to time I feel the need to download videos, especially from YouTube. The most frequent situation happened to me when I’ve lost the source of one of my videos and I wanted to download mine, but I was also in the situation where I wanted to download someone else’s Youtube video. For proof, in case they delete it, not to re-share or do other things with it. Youtube, actually Google to be more precise, forbids downloading videos from Youtube. They mention something about copyright, but I believe that they do it mainly because a downloaded video is out of their control. And yes, a downloaded video doesn’t have advertising.
Youtube makes it very clear in its TOS that downloading a video from their site is forbidden unless you see a Download button for it or they specifically allow you to do that. They also offer, for a short while now, an option to download videos legally, precisely:
- You can now download your own uploaded videos in MP4 format
- You can save videos for viewing later, no matter the source (if they’re yours or not) but that only if you are a Youtube Red subscriber.
Other than that they don’t allow basically anything else, though they have plenty sharing options if you want to send videos to friends. So while there are some legal option for downloading Youtube videos, there are those very few situations when you really need to download someone else’s video. For instance someone stole a particular item from you and you see that exact item in one of their videos. Or if the video itself infringes some copyright. If you confront them they’ll delete the video and then the proof is gone, that’s when you want an Youtube downloader.
And while the focus is on Youtube because it is the most popular video sharing site, the same happens with the other 3-4 hundred sites that have their own video sharing service (or somehow create & publish their own videos). Even porn sites have their own videos and if for instance you’d like to download one of their videos for…. future educational purposes, then you’re out of luck as out of the box none will offer the option to download them. Or at least so I’ve heard ;).
There’s no secret that there are a lot of online services especially that help you download videos from multiple video sources, but most are clogged by advertising. And then there is youtube-dl, a command-line program to download videos from YouTube.com and hundreds more. Even if I trust it as it’s open source, It requires a Python interpreter and can be run from your desktop computer only and not your Android-powered phone. That’s when I started my search and found out that there are no GUI interfaces for youtube-dl on Android. With only one exception, Avidd.
Avidd is an Android GUI for youtube-dl, and I believe it is the only one so far. So what this means is you can get the powerful video downloading service youtube-dl has on your smartphone via Avidd.
With Avidd it is dead easy to quickly find the video you need and download it on your Android-powered device in high quality resolution. The first thing you see when you start it is a field where you can paste an URL for your video source you want grabbed. Just paste it in there and Avidd will show multiple download options based on the available formats and video quality. If you feel like it you can also browse manually through the displayed videos, but that’s an option more for those that simply want to enjoy videos, not a particular one.
Avidd has a downloading queue option where you can set how many downloads you want running in parallel. I recommend setting a limit since all those downloads will share the same bandwidth. This way with Avidd you can start multiple downloads (i.e. a video that has several parts) at once and be notified when everything finishes downloading. Notifications range from simple push notifications to audio notifications and even device vibration (all changeable from its settings).
200+ video download sources. Avidd has the largest number of available video portals for you to download videos from. Due to it being based on youtube-dl, it supports a large number of media portals that go well above 200. As an example you can download videos from Facebook, Google+, 9gag, BuzzFeed, CBS, CNN, Cracked, dailymotion, EllenTV, FunnyOrDie, HBO, metacafe, MTV, MySpace and basically all adult sites starting with Beeg and ending with PornHub/Pornotube. Not that I know everything about these sites ;).
Material design UI. Avidd has a material design UI style that makes it very clean and easy to use. I appreciate devs that decide to implement clean user interfaces and help apps stay focused on their main function. It’s the same thing with Avidd, instead of wasting time configuring options or navigating a cluttered app, you get direct access to its main function, downloading videos from the sources you decide. I’m a strong believer in the KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid) and Avidd successfully checks on that.
Quickly find videos. By default in Avidd all you have to do is paste an URL from a download source and that’s it, you’ll be able to download the video. However Avidd can also search for any videos you want by simply entering a desired keyword and then tapping to let Avidd do its magic. It also displays some videos right on its main dashboard for you to see something if you’re just looking for a bit of video distraction. Those videos are a combination of manual curation and popularity.
Choose video quality & format. With Avidd you’ll be able to pick a video format and quality. For instance most Youtube videos will give you the option of downloading from 320 to Full HD, so quite some quality choices. It will also let you download MP4s or other formats if those are available. In my tests I always got at least 4 different options for downloading a video.
Manage downloaded videos. If you’ve started downloading a video and change your mind with Avidd you can pause the downloading and resume later if needed. You can also delete a download entirely to “clean your tracks” if you know what I mean.
I still don’t see any copyright issue if you download someone else’s video from Youtube or other sources as long as you don’t share that as your own. Technically speaking any video you watch in your browser it’s actually downloaded on your computer (streamed, bit by bit) so a downloader would only get it all at once. As long as you don’t re-share that or re-upload it as your own, I see no problem and I believe Youtube & the company could loosen up a bit. Sure there are a few that download youtube videos and re-upload them on Facebook as their own (or vice-versa) for gains, but those could be banned. Why should all suffer from a handful of spammers?
Back to Avidd, I believe it is the perfect solution for downloading videos from any sources onto your smartphone. Unfortunately the app got removed from Google Play due to Google’s “hit first, ask questions later” policy and it seems an abuse given that by default you’d need a separate plugin for Youtube, but I’m not the judge here. You can still download Avidd from other sources and install it on your smartphone:
- Download Avidd’s apk
- Download the Youtube plugin for Avidd
- You can keep up with the releases for Avidd on the XDA topic here.
If you get that notice on .apk files from unknown sources just simply enable that option this way:
- Go to Settings.
- Go to Security.
- Scroll down and check Unknown sources box.
- Tap OK when it show the warning.
That should do the trick and you’ll be able to install & use Avidd. Happy video downloading!