A Python library for downloading YouTube videos
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Latest commit 85e2df5 Feb 8, 2017 @nficano Release version 6.2.2



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pytube is a lightweight, dependency-free Python library (and command-line utility) for downloading YouTube Videos.


YouTube is the most popular video-sharing platform in the world and as a hacker you may encounter a situation where you want to script something to download videos. For this I present to you pytube.

pytube is a lightweight library written in Python. It has no third party dependencies and aims to be highly reliable.

pytube makes zero assumptions, meaning there is no built-in method to get say the "best" quality video, pytube simply exposes all the available formats and resolutions, giving you the developer the power to define what "best" is.

pytube also makes pipelining easy, allowing you to specify callback functions for different download events, such as on progress or on complete.

Finally pytube also includes a command-line utility, allowing you to quickly download videos right from terminal.


Download using pip via pypi.

pip install pytube

Library usage

from pytube import YouTube

# not necessary, just for demo purposes.
from pprint import pprint

yt = YouTube("http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik-RsDGPI5Y")

# Once set, you can see all the codec and quality options YouTube has made
# available for the perticular video by printing videos.


# [<Video: MPEG-4 Visual (.3gp) - 144p>,
#  <Video: MPEG-4 Visual (.3gp) - 240p>,
#  <Video: Sorenson H.263 (.flv) - 240p>,
#  <Video: H.264 (.flv) - 360p>,
#  <Video: H.264 (.flv) - 480p>,
#  <Video: H.264 (.mp4) - 360p>,
#  <Video: H.264 (.mp4) - 720p>,
#  <Video: VP8 (.webm) - 360p>,
#  <Video: VP8 (.webm) - 480p>]

# The filename is automatically generated based on the video title.  You
# can override this by manually setting the filename.

# view the auto generated filename:

# Pulp Fiction - Dancing Scene [HD]

# set the filename:
yt.set_filename('Dancing Scene from Pulp Fiction')

# You can also filter the criteria by filetype.

# [<Video: Sorenson H.263 (.flv) - 240p>,
#  <Video: H.264 (.flv) - 360p>,
#  <Video: H.264 (.flv) - 480p>]

# Notice that the list is ordered by lowest resolution to highest. If you
# wanted the highest resolution available for a specific file type, you
# can simply do:
# <Video: H.264 (.mp4) - 720p>

# You can also get all videos for a given resolution

# [<Video: H.264 (.flv) - 480p>,
#  <Video: VP8 (.webm) - 480p>]

# To select a video by a specific resolution and filetype you can use the get
# method.

video = yt.get('mp4', '720p')

# NOTE: get() can only be used if and only if one object matches your criteria.
# for example:


#[<Video: MPEG-4 Visual (.3gp) - 144p>,
# <Video: MPEG-4 Visual (.3gp) - 240p>,
# <Video: Sorenson H.263 (.flv) - 240p>,
# <Video: H.264 (.flv) - 360p>,
# <Video: H.264 (.flv) - 480p>,
# <Video: H.264 (.mp4) - 360p>,
# <Video: H.264 (.mp4) - 720p>,
# <Video: VP8 (.webm) - 360p>,
# <Video: VP8 (.webm) - 480p>]

# Since we have two H.264 (.mp4) available to us... now if we try to call get()
# on mp4...

video = yt.get('mp4')
# MultipleObjectsReturned: 2 videos met criteria.

# In this case, we'll need to specify both the codec (mp4) and resolution
# (either 360p or 720p).

# Okay, let's download it! (a destination directory is required)

Command-line usage

You can download a video by simply passing the -e (or --extension=) switch and setting it to the desired filetype:

$ pytube -e mp4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik-RsDGPI5Y

Same thing for specifying a resolution:

$ pytube -r 720p http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik-RsDGPI5Y

You can also specify a download file path (-p or --path=):

$ pytube -e mp4 -p ~/Downloads/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik-RsDGPI5Y

and/or optionally choose the filename (-f or --filename=):

$ pytube -e mp4 -f "Dancing Scene from Pulp Fiction" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik-RsDGPI5Y

You can also specify a resolution or desired filetype:

$ pytube -e mp4 -r 720p http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik-RsDGPI5Y