Why do I need to install video converter?

Ant Video downloader is an add-on that downloads online videos from web sites. Usually video is downloaded as a single file with extension like FLV or MP4. You can download such video with Ant Video downloader and watch it with AVD's built-in player or third party player that is installed on your computer like Windows Media player or VLC.

But some web sites are hosting videos that are called streaming videos. Instead of single file, these videos are split into multiple video segments that we call chunks. When you're watching such video on a web page, the web page's player is downloading these chunks in background. This approach has advantages for you as an user, because it enhances your user experience: you can pause watching the video and save traffic, you can switch to better (or worse) video quality on the fly, you can jump to any place on the timeline.

Ant Video downloader can download these chunks but it needs some tool called video converter to bring them together into a single video file. We cannot place this functionality directly into Ant Video downloader, since there are a lot of video formats, and thus huge amount of cases; this will impact the complexity of add-on, and will lead to new bugs and less stable add-on.

Once you are trying to download a video that consists of chunks, and you don't have video converter installed, And Video downloader will prompt you to install it.

For video converter we use a great, free, widely known, open-source application called FFMpeg: http://www.ffmpeg.org/

Our users often feel unsure about installing additional software due to security reasons. This may be natural since the situation when a software demands installing another piece of software may not look very trusty.

The following is a step-by-step instruction of how to download and install FFMpeg manually, without Ant Video download automatic setup.

But still we recommend you installing video converter automatically with Ant Video downloader. The point is that FFMpeg is an experimental project, and its functionality may differ from version to version. We use the following versions of FFMpeg:

 
Operating system  FFMpeg version used in AVD
Microsoft Windows     N-61599-gce9d3da
Mac OS X     2.1.4
Linux-based     N-61445-gdded5ed

Installing FFmpeg manually:

  •     Go to http://www.ffmpeg.org/download.html
  •     Under Get the packages section, mouse over the logo of your system, either Linux, Windows or Mac OS X
  •     Download package for your system. Install it, or extract if it is an archive
  •     You will going to need an executable that is called ffmpeg (ffmpeg.exe for Windows)

Now, you can do one of the following:
 
Open Firefox, go to AVD Icon drop-down — Preferences — click on Browse button — navigate to a folder with ffmpeg file, select ffmpeg file, click button Open
- or -
Copy ffmpeg file to your Firefox profile folder. The profile folder is the following:

  •   Microsoft Windows: C:\Users\user_name\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\profile_name\
  •   Mac OS X: /Users/user_name/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/profile_name/
  •   Linux-based: /home/user_name/.mozilla/firefox/profile_name/

where user_name is the name of your computer account, and profile_name is the name of profile (may look like nahd6ha2.default)

Once you copied ffmpeg file to profile folder, AVD will automatically pick it up next time when you download streaming video.

If you would like to download ffmpeg of the version that we use with AVD (this is the recommended way) here are the links:  

  •   Microsoft Windows: Link
  •   Mac OS X: Link
  •   Linux-based: Link

 

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