Is DownloadHelper The Perfect Free Video Download App?

imageI’ve almost given up watching Television. As Newton N. Minow observed in 1961, Television “is a vast wasteland”. Minow went on to say “True, you’ll see a few things you will enjoy. But they will be very, very few. And if you think I exaggerate, I only ask you to try it”.

I often wonder what his observations on the current state of broadcast TV might be. If TV was a “vast wasteland” in 1961……

In any event, I just can’t bring myself to watch the dreck that passes for entertainment. Instead, I’ve gone to watching what I want to watch, when I want to watch, by either streaming video content, or downloading selected content for later viewing.

While searching for an application to facilitate downloading video content, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of available applications. Google “free video downloader”, and you’ll find over 41 Million references. I think you’ll agree, that’s a mind numbing number.

After testing more than a few free video downloaders, I settled some months back on a Firefox extension, DownloadHelper. With over 77 Million downloads to date, it’s hardly an exaggeration to call this add-on – popular. Not only will this tool download and convert videos, but it can download audio and picture galleries as well.

Once installed, you will find a new application icon has been added to the menu bar – notice the small white arrow pointing to the new icon in this screen capture. Clicking on any graphic will expand it to the original size.


The preference menu provides a fairly complete set of tweaking capabilities.


The application will recognize that a webpage has imbedded media (you will noticed the icon revolving), and simply clicking on the icon will allow you to download any media on that page.

The following screen capture illustrates that there are two .flv videos available for download on this National Geographic page.


In the search for the “perfect” video downloader, I’ve tested literally dozens of applications, and not one can hold a candle to DownloadHelper. Despite some minor issues, this application deserves a 10 out of 10.

DownloadHelper has additional functionality that I have not covered in this short review. If you’re into downloading online video, I highly recommend that you take a close look at this application.

Note: When you first install the extension, your browser is redirected to a welcome page with links to a user manual at and a FAQ at

System requirements: Windows 7, Vista, XP,  Firefox (all).

Download at: Mozilla

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Filed under Browser add-ons, Connected Devices, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Software, Video Tools, Windows Tips and Tools

22 responses to “Is DownloadHelper The Perfect Free Video Download App?

  1. Mig

    Nice review. Thanks 🙂

  2. I have tried it. In-fact its installed on my Firefox right now. A great extension which includes ability to download multiple Videos simultaneously from same page with one click.

  3. Anonymous

    Thanks for this post,is very powerful.

  4. Hi Bill,

    Unfortunately this isn’t yet available for he Chromium browser. I did use it when I was running Firefox.

    I use Mobile Media Converter

    It has a download feature for YouTube videos and it converts all kinds of media. It’s great if you want to convert a video into an Mp3 for instance, if you just want to listen to the music.

    Best Wishes


  5. Hi Bill,
    This is a great application, I’ve used it for a few years and it often will pick up video other apps won’t grab.
    We recently got high speed cable at our house, and while my wife has a few shows and channels she wants to keep I’ve noticed something. My son never bother to even hook the cable to his new TV. He uses his x-box to stream Netflix and is looking at a Roku in the future to stream the content he wants because most of the cable “is pure crap” as he puts it. I think content providers are going to have to deal with a generational shift soon, younger consumers (and the technically inclined) are much more likely to abandon cable subscriptions in favor of “just bits” . Most of us just want a large pipe into our house and allow us to stream what we want and not pay for “Jersey Shore” or other garbage.

    • LOL!!

      When I was writing this article “Jersey Shore” was uppermost in my mind. I actually checked it out once just to have a look at “Snooki”. That woman is a prime example of why we need more mental health facilities. And, anyone who watches her, is not much better in the mental health department. That’s a program that belongs in the trash. Unfortunately, it’s the type of program that’s pretty much standard fare today.

      You’re dead on the money; consumers want total control of the “pipe” – especially. as you point out, younger consumers and the technically inclined. Recent stats I came across for Canada indicated, fully 27% of consumers have dropped cable television in favor of net content. Your son is a prime example of how discerning today’s young people are. Gotta love it!

      As usual, a great comment Mark.



  6. Grr

    I was looking for something to download and convert utube vidoes. This was recommended to me by Avinash.
    But I preferred going for a standalone application.
    However the drawback is that the standalone application downloads&converts only utube videos.
    So may be I might give DownloadHelper a try.


  7. John Bent

    Hi Bill,
    I downloaded this but get a message saying it is not compatible with FF 3.6.12.
    On checking their website it seems only to be compatible up to 3.5.
    Kind regards

    • Hi John,

      I’m surprised that you’re getting that message since this add-on works perfectly with FF 3.6.12. The screen shots in the article are from my personal machine, and you know I wouldn’t be running anything other than the latest version of FF. 🙂

      Did you download from the Mozilla add-on repository?



  8. John Bent

    Hi Bill,
    Absolutely, which is why I was surprised too. Used your link to download. Will uninstall and try again.
    Kind regards

    • Hi John,

      I just took a look at that link and according to the site, this should work up to FF 4. Would you let me know if you are successful in installing?



      • John Bent

        Hi Bill
        Yes I spotted that too. Still no luck – I uninstalled and reinstalled with the same result. Weird.
        I followed the link to the Downloadhelper website and it was in FAQs I read it was only compatible up to v3.5. That might be out of date of course.

        Kind regards

        • Hi John,

          I checked out the product support page and found this – “When trying to download/install Video DownloadHelper from the Mozilla addons site, you get an error message. Most common error codes are -203, -207 and -228.

          The problem is not due to our extension, but to either the Mozilla site or the state of your local cache. In general, these problems disappear after a few hours, but you can try to clear your browser cache and try again.”



        • Mig

          Hi John,

          Thanks for spotting the issue in the documentation. I’ve updated it and i confirm DownloadHelper is compatible with 3.6.* and betas of 4.0.
          If you cannot install the extension from the official mozilla site, you can try directly from

          All the best,

          • John Bent

            Hi Mig,
            Thanks, I’ve now managed to install it that way. Don’t know why it wouldn’t install from Mozilla as it worked like a dream on my other machine. I hate mysteries!
            Anyway thanks again.