Bitcasa Infinite Drive is relatively new, but it's one of your favorite cloud storage providers in general, mostly because they offer virtually unlimited stroage for syncing and backups. When we say unlimited, we mean it—some of you are using terabytes of storage with Bitcasa. It's not primarily a backup service though, and while it was built for file syncing and storage, the Bitcasa desktop client does support regular file backups. Bitcasa supports Windows and OS X, and encrypts all of your files before uploading so they stay safe from prying eyes. Bitcasa even keeps revision history, so if you've backed up a file multiple times and need an older version, you can pick it out and restore it. Plus, you can use the Bitcasa mobile apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone to access your data on the go.
Third-party software is where you will get the best control over downloading online videos. Typically, you paste the URL for the YouTube video you want into the program, and it downloads the highest quality version it can find. For videos in 1080p High Definition (HD) format, that's usually an MP4 file. For anything higher in quality—4K and even 8K videos—the file format is typically MKV.
Totally free, 5KPlayer from DearMob is a media-playing utility that is a lot more than a downloader—but it's got a heck of a downloader integrated. Promising no viruses, ads, or plug-in requirements is a good start. It is, sadly, one of the few I tested that asks for a registration of your name and email—you have to do that to get the full download function across 300+ sites. You may still use it if you don't register; I didn't and was able to download 4K vids from YouTube.
YouTubeByClick captures video from over 40 sites. Before you even do the first download, you can use the "dials" on the interface to set up a preferred download format (MP4 video or MP3 audio) and a default download quality as high as 8K, even on the free version. Downloading a 580MB MKV file in 4K only took 55 seconds—not bad at all, but that was with the premium version's unlimited speed. The free edition took a lot longer with the 2MB speed limit. You also need the premium version to download playlists and channels, do conversions, avoid ads, and get closed captions.
On iPhones and iPads, you'd think there would be no such restriction since Apple and Google aren't exactly the best of pals. But on the few apps I tried in the first edition of this story, not only wouldn't they download from YouTube, they're not even available anymore. One of those apps said in its description, "downloading from YouTube is prohibited due to its Terms of Service." Apple is ensuring that app makers play by the rules—even Google's rules. All the better to get Google to block someone who eventually does something illegal with iTunes downloads.
No honorable mentions this week, as the nominations dropped off pretty sharply from these five. Some of you pointed to your own kind of franken-backup solution that made use of traditional cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive in addition with desktop utilities and clients that can automatically copy whatever you want from your computer to specified files and folders in those services, which is a great option if you want the absolute ultimate in control.
Backblaze earned praise from many of you for being easy to set up, even for non-technical people. It's built for people who want to get their data backed up, without being forced to search for error codes and cryptic status messages whenever something goes wrong. To that point, Backblaze backs up just about everything on your system. You get some control over what's backed up and what isn't, but the point is to be fast, easy, and hands-off, so everything on your system—documents, music, video, external drives you have plugged in, just about anything. Instead of telling what they do back up, Backblaze actually has a special page dedicated to what they don't back up instead. Backblaze offers unlimited storage for your backed up data, and while by default it only backs up files smaller than 4GB, you can bump that up if you need to. Like other online backup services, it runs in the background, backing up your data all the time (or when you schedule it to, if you prefer), and your data is encrypted so only you have access to it. It supports Windows and OS X, and is smart enough to de-dupe data, do incremental backups, and keep backup processes low on system resources. You can read more about Backblaze's features here.
Ororsoft Youtube TV is unique software which turns your PC to customizable internet TV, bringing the best of Youtube videos to your desktop. With the channel filter feature and other useful search options you can easily find the videos you look for and play them live or download to your hard drive. The intuitive interface makes this a perfect tool for both new and experienced users - you can initiate a batch download of selected videos or watch these in live mode without having to download. Features: Youtube TV - play youtube videos from your playlist with high quality. Get the playlist searching for best ranked videos matching typed keyword or compose it by manually choosing the films. All items can be played in full screen mode with auto advance feature. Flexible search - with options to search by categories or sort by view counts, ratings and publish date. You won't need to open your browser any more to find the videos you are interested in. Filter results by channel - Search only in your favorite channels, this feature will greatly increase the effectiveness of your searches. Download or play all the videos from your favorite channels. Use this feature to backup your content of your own channel on youtube. Favorite Channel Manager - maintain the collection of your favorite channels using the predefined list of best channels in youtube category. Easy view and Quick Select modes - two modes optimized for better comfort. In "Quick select" mode you can quickly add videos to the playlist. Switch to "Easy view" mode if you prefer to see the detailed information. Download Manager - Save all your preferred videos to your hard drive by a single click. Video conversion - automatically convert videos to MPG, AVI, MP3, MOV and many other video formats. Video Player - play your downloaded videos by a simple double click, without a need for special programs or codecs.
BackBlaze doesn't have an offline component, so you'll have to handle that yourself, but it's by far one of the most affordable options on the market. Accounts are $5/mo (you get a break if you pay up front for one or two years), and you can add more computers to the same account for another $5/mo. You can read more about Backblaze's pricing options here.
Multi-lingual 4K Video Downloader (4KVD) is frequently updated and features clear download links on the program's website; no ad traps here. The software does what it advertises in a simple interface: grabs videos up to 8K in quality and downloads to plenty of formats. Just copy a YouTube URL and click the Paste Link button to get started. 4KVD will even grab subtitles, entire playlists, and all the videos in a channel to which you subscribe. The sites supported are limited to the big names like YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and a few others, but covers most of what you need.
Jihosoft 4K Video Downloader is available as a completely free system that actually works for both PC and Mac users, but there’s a paid version as well. What’s really great about this YouTube video downloader is that it actually works for just about any kind of video you want to download, whether that video comes from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SoundCloud, or YouTube, so you’re not stuck with just one platform. You’re also going to have the option to download in just about any resolution and still get all the audio and subtitles that usually come with the video. On top of all that, you can convert to any video format or even MP3 audio, so you’re always able to watch (or listen).
NOTE: Beware of the ad traps on some helper sites—ads that look like they should be the download button to get your desired content, but they are not. Also, depending on the ad network employed by the site, your own virus detection software may throw up some warnings. The more the developers of sites rely on ads they don't control, or resort to trying to get you to place something on your system as "payment," the worse off we all are.
SpiderOak's beauty is that it's a combination cloud syncing and storage service as well as a backup client all in one. Unlike some of the other services though, you'll have to pay for the storage you use. You get 2GB for free just for signing up, and you can get up to 10GB by referring friends. SpiderOak Plus nets you 100GB for $10/mo to use for syncing and backups, and every 100GB after that is another $10/mo. Plus, you can connect as many computers to any SpiderOak account as you want, so you're not paying by the system. You can read more about SpiderOak's plans here.