Review: Downloads: aTube Catcher review

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aTube Catcher is one of a growing number of tools that download videos from the likes of YouTube, Dailymotion and Metacafe. While it’s often easy to browse the web on your phone will you travel, there are times when there’s no connection available – this is when it pays to have downloaded videos in advance!

Download aTube Catcher freeThe videos you download can be converted to a number of popular formats, suitable for playback on a variety of devices. So whether you’re looking for the best possible quality to view on a high resolution monitor, or the emphasis is on smaller file size to fit on your smartphone, aTube Catcher can do the job for you.

There’s also a screen recorder that can be used to capture video from your screen, and a disc burning option.

aTube Catcher menu
aTube Catcher’s home screen is clear and colourful, with Windows-style tiles

User experience

As with many free tools these days, you need to take care during the installation process to ensure that you aren’t accidentally duped into also installing a browser toolbar. Thankfully, this is not selected by default, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for.

After firing up the program, a neat splash screen provides an inviting introduction to what aTube Catcher has to offer. Rather than forcing you to hunt through endless menus to find what you’re looking for, a series of clear buttons provide instant access so you can get to work without delay. The initial interface is pleasingly unintimidating, and downloading videos from any of the supported sites – of which there are many – is a simple matter of copying and pasting the URL, choosing the format you’d like to save the video in, and clicking ‘Download’. There are several formats to choose from, and in many cases there’s a variety of preset resolutions to choose from.

The screen recorder feature is a very nice, and can be used in a number of ways. You could use it to record whatever you’re doing on your computer, but it is also possible to use to capture live streaming video that you would not otherwise be able to download. Just draw a selection box around the video you want and you’re good to go.

aTube Catcher screen recorder
aTube Catcher doesn’t just download clips from video sites, it can also record what’s happening on your screen

We liked

You might not expect it from what many people would not consider ‘serious’ software, but aTube Catcher includes an automatic updater that ensures you’re always using the most recent, most secure, and most feature-packed version of the program.

For hardcore users, there is the option of batch processing files so you can download multiple videos at once. This is a somewhat hands-on task that requires the creation of a text files to tell the software what to do. It’s a little inelegant and long-winded, but it works.

It’s nice to see the option to not only convert videos between formats, but also to create VCDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs from the content you record or download.

aTube Catcher audio
aTube Catcher lets you record sound from your PC’s webcam or microphone. Why download a second program for making podcasts?

We disliked

The bundled browser toolbar is a little off-putting, but as long as you (slightly confusingly, perhaps) click ‘Cancel’ when it presents itself, it won’t be installed.

The program interface, while approachable, does hide the fact that this is a very powerful program. There are lots of extra options and settings – such as the ability to create time-saving video profiles – that aren’t immediately apparent, and anyone who doesn’t investigate the menu system could miss out on valuable tools.

Final verdict

aTube Catcher has so many bases covered, it’s hard to consider it anything other than essential. Even if you’re not a prodigious video downloader and converter, this is a great piece of software to hand installed for when you will inevitably need it.

Specifications

Developer: Diego Uscanga

Licence: Freeware

System requirements:

  • Operating system: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10
  • Processor: Any x86 or compatible
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Disk space: 17MB

Alternatives to consider

Note

You should only download videos when you have the copyright owner’s permission to do so. YouTube’s terms of service prohibit unauthorised downloading.

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