Sunday, June 1, 2014

Video DownloadHelper Codes and Names

Video DownloadHelper Codes and Names For downloading flash videos from Youtube and other streaming sites, my tool of choice is usually the Firefox plugin called "Video DownloadHelper" - it works great when I need it, is very minimal when I don't, and seems to just always work. The one issue though, is that it has a somewhat bizarre naming scheme for how different download options appear for Youtube (for example, HQ36 and HQ5 - what do these mean?).

This annoyed me enough that I made a handy cheat sheet for myself, both in picture form, and as a table. They are posted below, and all the information comes directly from the preferences for Video DownloadHelper (right click on icon -> "preferences" -> "capture" tab on top -> "YouTube" tab below "capture" tab).
Video DownloadHelper Codes and Names
Now in HTML table form:
Type Format Video Audio Name
[HQ18] MP4 360x270 / 480x360 Stereo Medium
[HQ38] MP4 4096x3072 Stereo 4K
[HQ37] MP4 1920x1080 Stereo 1080p
[HQ22] MP4 1280x720 Stereo 720p
[HQ35] FLV 854x480 Stereo 480p
[HQ34] FLV 640x360 Stereo 360p
[HQ6] FLV 360x270 Mono HQ6
[HQ5] FLV 320x240 Mono HQ5
[HQ17] 3GP 176x144 Stereo Mobile
[HQ13] 3GP 176x144 Mono HQ13
[HQ82] MP4 480x360 Stereo HQ82
[HQ83] MP4 360x240 Stereo HQ83
[HQ84] MP4 960x720 Stereo HQ84
[HQ85] MP4 720x540 Stereo HQ85
[HQ36] 3GP 360x240 Stereo HQ36
[HQ37] MP4 1920x1080 Stereo 1080p
[HQ38] MP4 4096x3072 Stereo 4K
[HQ43] WEBM 640x360 Stereo WebM360p
[HQ44] WEBM 854x480 Stereo WebM480p
[HQ45] WEBM 1280x720 Stereo WebM720p
[HQ46] WEBM 1440x1080 Stereo WebM1080p
Yes, I am aware that for some reason a few of the names are repeated - again this information is directly from the plugin, so it is not my mistake.

Another way to make the plugin a little easier to use it change the "Display HQ prefix" setting. Here is what a sample Youtube download menu looks like before changing it.
Video DownloadHelper Youtube Menu before changing setting

Next, I change the "Display HQ prefix" setting to "[Np WxH]". This tells the plugin to display the name of the type and then the dimensions.
Changing the Video DownloadHelper Display HQ Prefix setting

Finally, here is what it looks like now, after changing the setting:
Video DownloadHelper Youtube Menu after changing setting

Hope this post helped someone! If you have information to add that could help others, feel free to leave it below in the comments!


  1. thank you a bizzillion for that tip on changing how the options show up. I had no idea and am not much into video, just trying to save some boating images people have posted so I can watch them while I work out on my rowing machine, so it will kinda seem like I am on the water and image quality is important. You are a doll!

  2. Thanks a lot Josh for putting the tables in your blog!
    It's too bad that there is no sense or system in the names of the type codes. (Not your fault!) For me it would be interesting to know something about the audio quality. Obviously the quality of a video is better when you have a higher resolution. Take e.g. HQ18 and HQ22. There's a big difference in the video quality, but both are MP4 with audio: stereo.
    3GP and FLV can be mono or stereo. Are there other differences in quality? Is the audio quality the same for every MP4-type?
    Maybe you know a source where to look this up.
    Greetings from Quedlinburg in Germany

    1. Yes, there are big differences in audio quality, depending on sampling rate, compression bitrate, & codec. I'm not an expert, but here are some basics:

      1) sampling rate is how many times/sec the sound level is digitized. It limits the frequency response of the whole process to 1/2 the sample rate (we need 2 samples/cycle to detect a frequency). Common standards around 41,400 Hz & 48000Hz can capture frequencies above 20KHz, which is the rough average range of human hearing. Cheap memo recorders go down to 8000 Hz, because 4000 Hz is enough to capture human speech fairly well. Since this is the number of data points in a second of sound, the file size increases directly with the sample rate.

      2) hi-fidelity files get really big, so people have found many ways to compress them. Googling 'audio codecs' will provide many hours of fun figuring out what you've got. They vary wildly in their sound quality, file size, & availability on different machines.

      3) You can often set the codec's 'bitrate', controlling the trade-off between quality/size. This is the amount of data you wind up with per second of time.

      Regarding mono/stereo: unless you have really different sounds on your stereo channels, use mono. The built-in 'stereo' mics in most cameras have so little separation that they just make two recordings of the same sounds.

      The initial sample rate, of course, is up to whoever makes the recording.

  3. I preferred keepvid online downloader earlier but then quality is an issue with it! I agree that Firefox plugin is favourably convenient than any other available tool. Thanks for sharing this useful resource, this would be such a help for all of us :)

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  4. Thanks, Joshua! This was a big help.

  5. Josh, You are my internet helper hero of 2014.I've been puzzled for a couple of years. Thanks & Merry Christmas.

  6. I remember when one could set "Highest Quality" as default so that it was unnecessary to check and change the quality setting for each video. Where has this setting disappeared to?

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