FreeMake Video Converter is enormously popular, with over 93 million users, and if you give it a spin you'll soon see why.
Freemake Video Converter
Its name implies that it only encodes videos in different formats – and it does that very well – but it's also capable of downloading clips from all the biggest video hosting sites (provided you have the copyright owner's permission, of course). You can also use it to convert audio files and images, or rip video from DVDs.
Freemake Video Converter provides a good selection of output options, including AVI, WMV, MPG and MP4. It can also burn videos to DVD or Blu-ray, and has preset profile for games consoles, smartphones and tablets. You can even export the video straight to YouTube.
To convert a video from YouTube or another video hosting site, copy its address from your web browser, then click the 'Paste URL' button in Freemake Video Converter, then select an output format from the list at the bottom.
You'll then be prompted to choose a few settings to ensure the converted file is the necessary quality. You'll be offered a set of handy presets that you can adjust manually if necessary, with options including frame size, video and audio codecs, bitrate and sample rate.
It's all extremely easy to use, and no specialist knowledge is required. The only real downside is that the free version of the software adds a Freemake branded splash to the start of the converted video, but if you can live with that, you'll be hard pressed to find a more straightforward and convenient video downloader and converter.