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Appletell review: Web2 Delight web video download utility

Sections: Features, iPod, iTunes, Mac Software, Macintosh/Apple Hardware, Reviews, Software, Web Applications / Development

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Web2 DelightProvides: View and transfer web videos/photos from select sources
Developer: Global Delight Technologies Pvt Ltd
Minimum Requirements: Mac OS X v10.4.9, iPhoto 6.0.6, iTunes 7.2, QuickTime 7.2
Retail Price: $19.95 ($16.95 for students/teachers)
Availability: Out now

I’m not a YouTube kind of guy. I’m just not entertained by kittens falling off things, toddlers explaining the plot to Star Wars in their oh-simple-and-innocent way, or high school kids beating each other up or making out. Or both. Most YouTube users need to learn an important rule of entertainment…just because something’s entertaining to you and your friends, that doesn’t mean it’s actually, you know, entertaining.

That being said, there are a lot of wonderful videos to be found, both amateur and (usually uploaded illegally) professional. Old music videos I’ve long forgotten (Russel Mulcahy, we need you now) top the list, but every now and again I also find something new from a group of budding filmmakers that makes me wonder how so many professionals got (and retain) their jobs. Those are great moments, finding something like that, but to share your find, you’ve no choice but to just e-mail URLs or embed the video in your blog. What if you want to show someone on your iPhone or iPod, or even burn a DVD to pass around? There are various options out there—some easier than others, some more reliable than others, some more legal than others—but one of the best options available to Mac users right now is Web2 Delight.

Grab It

The premise is quite simple; Web2 Delight provides an iTunes style interface for browsing and cataloging various video/photo sites. The video sites are YouTube, Veoh, blip.tv and Dailymotion. Photo sites are Flickr, Picasa, Webshots and Photobucket. To search for content on any of these sites, simply select the site in the left sidebar, then enter your search keywords in the search field above the main display. Your results will appear (somewhat slowly, depending upon the site being searched) in either list, thumbnail, list/thumbnail combo or coverflow format in the program’s main area. It’s all pretty simple and tight, but there are two big drawbacks. First, you can’t search multiple sites at once. If you want to find the highest quality version of a particular music video, for example, you’ll have to search for it in YouTube, check the results, then search again in Veoh, then again in blip.tv, and finally in Dailymotion. Also, you’re restricted to only these sites. If you know of another site where the video is hosted, you can’t simply enter a URL to get there.

Web2 Delight

Once your results appear, you’re given two options on what to do with the videos. You can stream (or view) them, or you can download them to your hard drive. Downloading them converts them to .mp4. Other formats are listed at the Web2 Delight site, but I couldn’t see where to make the switch, although there is a preference to have Web2 Delight leave the downloads in their original format. If you download them, Web2 Delight allows you to create Playlist-like collections of your favorite videos, keeping them all handy for easy reference. It’s too bad this feature doesn’t work for videos you don’t download, but this does prevent dead links when videos/photos are removed from their host site, and it offers more permanence.

Web2 Delight

Convert It

Even better, of course, is the fact that the downloaded .mp4 files are iPod/iPhone ready, making this possibly the easiest way to transfer online videos to your iPod or iPhone. In fact, after a video is downloaded, you can right click on the thumbnail to pull up various sharing/transfer options, one of which is “Transfer to iTunes.” This creates a Web2 Delight folder in your iTunes directory (Playlists and all), which will store the transfered videos. Adding them to your iPod is then a simple of dragging it to the device (although you may want to first tag it properly, since Web2 Delight doesn’t).

Web2 Delight

Share It

You’re not restricted to iPod/iPhone use, either. With the .mp4 format, you can burn them to DVD. You can use QuickTime to export them to other formats for sharing on the web or elsewhere. You can even bring them into iMovie. The same options are available for photos, of course. And, parents will be happy to note that viewing and transferring restricted videos can be prevented, although whether videos will be properly marked as restricted is anyone’s guess. These video sharing sites aren’t exactly the most reliable when it comes to preventing inappropriate content from reaching minors.

Conclusion

Despite its shortcomings, Web2 Delight is a fantastic application for those who spend any amount of time watching user created/uploaded content on the web. Pulling content from multiple sources into one application is a decent feature, but it’s the ability to download/convert/share video that makes Web2 Delight well worth its $19.95 price tag. I’d argue that such an application could cost upwards of $40 and still be worth it, making this quite a deal.

So, yeah, I may not be a YouTube guy, but I know what entertains me. And Web2 Delight makes it that much easier for me to get to what I want, view it how I want, and share it how I want. Now, if I could just get all of you to quit uploading Your Gossip Girl OMG moments and instead give me more movies about greedy squid bent on revenge, all will be well.

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