youtube to mp4 linux with code examples

Many people nowadays want to download their favorite videos from YouTube and other similar websites to their personal devices like laptops, smartphones, etc. However, downloading videos directly from YouTube is not easy, and not all websites offer that feature. Luckily, there is a way to bypass this limitation, and that is by converting YouTube videos to MP4 format. This article will show you how to achieve that on a Linux operating system with some code examples.

Requirements
To be able to download and convert YouTube videos to MP4 on your Linux machine, there are a few tools you need to install. The first tool you need is the command-line tool youtube-dl, which is used to download videos from YouTube as well as other websites.

The second tool you need is ffmpeg, a command-line tool used to convert video files to different formats. You can install both of these tools using the following commands in your terminal:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install youtube-dl ffmpeg

After installing these tools, you need to check the current version of youtube-dl installed on your machine. To do this, run the following command in your terminal:

youtube-dl –version

If the output shows that you have an outdated version, you can update it using the following command:

sudo youtube-dl -U

Downloading YouTube videos
Now that you have all the necessary tools installed, you can easily download videos from YouTube using the youtube-dl command. For example, to download a video with a URL of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ, you can use the following command:

youtube-dl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ

This command will download the video to your current working directory. You can also provide a specific output directory using the -o flag, like this:

youtube-dl -o '~/Downloads/%(title)s.%(ext)s' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ

This will download the video to your Downloads folder with the video's title and extension as the filename.

Converting videos to MP4
After you have downloaded a video, you can convert it to MP4 format using ffmpeg. For example, to convert a video with the filename video.flv to MP4 format, you can use the following command:

ffmpeg -i video.flv -c:v libx264 -preset slow -crf 22 -c:a aac -b:a 128k video.mp4

This command uses the libx264 video codec and the aac audio codec and converts the video to a slow preset with a constant quality factor of 22. The audio bitrate is set to 128 kbps. You can also include other options to the command to customize the output MP4 file to your liking.

Combining downloading and converting
To automate the process of downloading and converting YouTube videos to MP4 format, you can use a shell script that combines the youtube-dl and ffmpeg commands. For example, you can use the following shell script to download a video with a given URL and convert it to MP4 format:

#!/bin/bash
URL=$1
youtube-dl -f 'bestvideo[ext=mp4]+bestaudio[ext=m4a]/mp4' "$URL" -o video
FILENAME=$(youtube-dl –get-filename -o 'video')
ffmpeg -i "$FILENAME" -codec:v libx264 -preset slow -crf 22 -codec:a aac -b:a 128k "${FILENAME%.*}.mp4"

This script takes a YouTube video URL as a command-line argument and downloads it using youtube-dl in an MP4 format optimized for the best video and audio quality. It then extracts the filename of the downloaded video and uses it to convert the video to MP4 format using ffmpeg.

Conclusion
As shown, downloading and converting YouTube videos to MP4 format is a simple process on Linux machines. The youtube-dl and ffmpeg tools provide a reliable and efficient way to download and convert YouTube videos to MP4 format with customizable options. With the help of the shell script, you can automate the entire process to save a lot of time and effort.

here are some additional information and tips on the topics covered in the previous article:

  1. youtube-dl:
  • youtube-dl is not only used for downloading videos from YouTube, but it also supports many other websites, such as Vimeo, Dailymotion, and SoundCloud.
  • You can specify the quality of the video to download using the -f flag followed by the video format code. For example, -f best will download the best quality video available.
  • To download only the audio of the video, you can use the -x flag followed by the audio format code. For example, -x –audio-format mp3 will download the audio in MP3 format.
  1. ffmpeg:
  • ffmpeg is a powerful tool that supports many video and audio codecs, filters, and options. You can explore all the available options in the official documentation.
  • By default, ffmpeg will use the same video and audio codecs as the input file. However, you can specify different codecs using the -c:v and -c:a flags followed by the codec name.
  • You can also modify other attributes of the video or audio, such as the frame rate, resolution, bitrate, and more.
  1. Shell scripting:
  • Shell scripting is a powerful way to automate repetitive tasks and save time. You can use various scripting languages, such as Bash, Python, Perl, and more.
  • When writing a script, it's important to keep it simple, readable, and modular. Break down the tasks into logical steps and functions.
  • Always test your script before using it on a large scale, and handle errors gracefully to avoid unexpected behaviors.
  1. Alternative tools:
  • If you prefer a graphical user interface (GUI) instead of the command line, you can use tools like 4K Video Downloader, VLC media player, or ClipGrab for downloading and converting videos.
  • Many web-based services also offer video downloading and conversion, such as Online Video Converter, Y2Mate, and KeepVid.
  • However, be aware that some of these services may not be entirely legal or safe, and could pose privacy or security risks. Always use caution and research the service before using it.

In summary, downloading and converting YouTube videos to MP4 format on Linux is a simple process using tools like youtube-dl and ffmpeg. With the help of scripting, you can automate the process and make it more efficient. However, it's important to respect the copyrights and usage policies of the videos and websites you're using, and use the tools and services responsibly.

Popular questions

  1. What is youtube-dl?
    Answer: youtube-dl is a command-line tool used to download videos from YouTube and other websites.

  2. What is ffmpeg?
    Answer: ffmpeg is a command-line tool used to convert video files to different formats.

  3. How can you download a video from YouTube using youtube-dl on Linux?
    Answer: You can download a video from YouTube on Linux using the youtube-dl command followed by the URL of the video. For example, "youtube-dl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abc123".

  4. How can you convert a video to MP4 using ffmpeg on Linux?
    Answer: You can convert a video to MP4 on Linux using ffmpeg by specifying the input file using the -i flag and the output file using the filename and extension. For example, "ffmpeg -i input.avi output.mp4".

  5. How can you download and convert YouTube videos to MP4 format using a shell script on Linux?
    Answer: You can download and convert YouTube videos to MP4 format using a shell script on Linux by combining the youtube-dl and ffmpeg commands in a script that takes a video URL as input and saves the MP4 file to the desired output location. For example,

#!/bin/bash
URL=$1
youtube-dl "$URL" -o video
FILENAME=$(youtube-dl --get-filename -o 'video')
ffmpeg -i "$FILENAME" -codec:v libx264 -preset slow -crf 22 -codec:a aac -b:a 128k "${FILENAME%.*}.mp4"

Here, the script takes the URL as an argument, downloads the video using youtube-dl, extracts the filename of the video, and converts it to MP4 format using ffmpeg with some configurable settings like slow preset, constant rate factor, and audio codec.

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"LinuxTube"

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