Article updated September 30th, 2014
With the plethora of online video sites available today watching free videos on the web is easy. Unfortunately, we don’t always have time to watch videos online when we find them. That’s what downloading videos is for, so we can watch them at our leisure. Most free clips these days, though, are embedded into the web page — making it harder to download online videos to your computer.
The old “Right click, Save As” strategy doesn’t always work so well anymore. If you want to download a video embedded on a site like YouTube, you can still do so if you have a video downloader, such as the RealPlayer Downloader that comes with the RealPlayer Cloud desktop app. If you don’t have a free video downloader installed on your computer, just click the orange button on the top right corner of this page to download RealPlayer Cloud free.
DOWNLOAD ONLINE VIDEOS AND BUILD UP YOUR VIDEO LIBRARY
We’ve rounded up five online video sites full of great content where you can find and download free clips and watch the videos at your leisure. Whether you’re interested in seeing the latest viral video sensations, watching old movies, finding the latest in entertainment news, watching movie trailers, or discovering new video channels with fresh content daily these free video sites have you covered. To make sure a free clip is legal to download, look for licensing information about the video. Typically, videos with a “Creative Commons” license are legal to download, but may have limitations on how you use the video.
Watch Your Videos Anywhere
Download the RealPlayer Cloud app and add videos to your personal cloud drive. Then you can watch them on an iPhone, Android smartphone, PC, tablet, and even your TV.
You’re probably already familiar with YouTube, the world’s most popular free video sites and the third most popular online video site on the entire Internet. YouTube racks up a staggering four billion video views daily. The appearance and interface of YouTube are straightforward, providing a simple yet effective video player in the middle of a white screen. Any registered user can upload their own video to YouTube.
The site has also become a popular source for official versions of music videos, movie trailers, and particularly crowd-pleasing TV commercials. Most of the free clips are shot and submitted by regular everyday YouTube users, and some – like a few well-known funny cat videos — have gone on to enjoy enormous global popularity on YouTube.
Metacafe is another online video site specializing in shorter free clips and more popular videos. Whereas YouTube is a giant, endless buffet of videos, Metacafe is more like the Chef’s Special of the Day – fewer overall videos that are well-organized and easy to find free clips in genres like Music, Sports, and TV. Metacafe keeps an outstanding array of current movie trailers, and then pairs them with exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes videos related to that particular movie. Metacafe’s “Trending on the Web” section curates and collects the Internet’s most popular viral videos of the day. It’s a great place to quickly find a certain popular viral video you’ve heard about.
One of the largest online video sites in the world, Dailymotion makes finding free clips easy with a nicely organized home page. Dailymotion visitors see a slew of the current videos in categories such as Funny, Geek Out, News, and countless others. Most of the free clips on Dailymotion are less than four minutes. Registered “super users” can upload videos of up to an hour in length and in high-definition (HD), but you don’t have to register to download the longer videos. Some of the video categories on Dailymotion are a little racier than most YouTube categories, but family audiences can still enjoy watching free clips from categories like Animals and Games. Dailymotion is easy to navigate, and pulls up galleries of recommended videos that you’re likely to enjoy based on your viewing habits.
Specializing in HD, Vimeo is one of the more popular amateur online video sites where the results are anything but amateur. Most of the free clips available on Vimeo are user-submitted; it’s not a site to visit if you’re looking for popular music videos or movie trailers. What you will find, though, are big and beautiful HD videos shot by some of the most skilled up-and-coming directors and animators. The Vimeo video screen is far larger and has a higher resolution than any of the other sites mentioned here. Those who like to upload videos to your cell phone will appreciate that the free clips on Vimeo are optimized for playback on mobile devices.
The Internet Movie Database has become more than just a tool for figuring out who’s that actress in the movie you’re watching. IMDb has grown into a site that offers movie trailers and free clips from popular talk shows like “The Late Show with David Letterman” – all of which can be downloaded to your computer. There are also full episodes of TV shows that can be watched at IMDb. The online video site even offers a huge gallery of full-length movies and short films made by up-and-coming directors.
Many of the movies and short-films listed on the site are available for viewing, however, you’ll be given the option to go to another site such as Crackle or Amazon to watch the movie. Note: those online video sites typically require a subscription. That said, there are older video options on the site such as Paradise Canyon with John Wayne, that don’t require a subscription. Those videos are part of the Internet Archive Project and can be watched online for free or even downloaded from the site.
DOWNLOAD ONLINE VIDEOS WITH REALPLAYER VIDEO DOWNLOADER
With RealDownloader and RealPlayer Cloud, you’ll have the ability to download any online videos you see and save them to your computer. If you’ve installed RealPlayer Cloud, when watching a video online in Fire Fox or Internet Explorer you’ll see the “Download This Video” button appear at the top right corner of the video player. Click that button, and the RealPlayer downloader will download the video to your computer and store it in the RealPlayer library.
If you use Google Chrome, click the flashing “down” icon in the top right of your browser to see a list of all the videos on your current page, and download any of them you like.
Do you have other favorite sites for downloading videos? Any great recommendations for short films or epic funny videos? When do you watch the videos you download? Let us know below in the comments section below.