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Should I download YouTube videos or watch them online?

Whenever you want to watch a movie or any other video online, you have two options: you can either download it locally and watch it from your device or computer, or you can stream it directly from the net. There are some pros and cons to either of them. For instance, data usage: in case you are on anlimited broadband plan, you probably don’t care about bandwidth, but in case you pay per each use, or if you own a site with a large number of videos, then you might be wondering if streaming avideo online actually consumes more data than downloading the video outright.

Did you even stop to think if you should stream a video or download it? If you come to think about it, there are many other questions that might pop up in your mind right now about this, apart from the bandwidth matter, such as: If I go ahead and add a YouTube video to my favourites folder on the platform, does each and every video viewing from the favourites  actuallycount towards my download allowance with my Internet Service Provider? The video is probably streamed each time youwatchit,however, does itreally count as downloading? And if it does, then what is the actual difference between downloading and streaming in this specific case?

What exactly means to download and what to stream?

Before going ahead, let’s ensure we are on the same page about what downloading and streaming actually means. When downloading a file into your computer, you are actually copying it from the Internet onto your local computer or device. You physically have the file at your disposal to watch it / use it whenever you want to. However, when you stream a file, you donot physically have this file on the device or computer. The file is on an external server, and you receive portions of data at a time. Streaming is actually similar to watching television or listening to the radio – you don’t need to do anything to see it or listen to it, but after the piece of content is over, you donot have the option to play it again as you don’t physically have it.

Download: you probably heard the term thousands of times. It refers to a file copy – nothing more, nothing less. When you download a file,you are actually making a copy of that file. The copy is stored on a server on your local device.

Stream: it is a different concept, there is no file being copied. A stream is pretty much exactly that; a stream of basic data, ones and zeros, being sent from some server to your computer or device.

We could compare a bottle of water to a download.You can actually move it around and you can place it in different spots or use it when you want. And then we could compare a stream to a hose with water pouring out of it; you need to use the water as it comes out of the hose, or else it’s gone.

YouTube’s download approach

YouTube utilises a download model in order to provide you with access to their videos. When you initially begin to watch a video, the system begins to download it – it literally copies the video from servers owned by YouTube to your Internet browser cache. The catch here is that, if you want to call it that, it starts playing the video before the download is completed. That could make it seem like it’s streaming process, but actually it’s not.

Is it best to download a video or watch it by streaming it?

If you are in a situation where you have to decide whether you should download a video from YouTube or just watch it online, you need to know that this decision is all about convenience. Theoretically the intended way by the platform (YouTube) is watching it on the website so that you can contribute to the growth of the person or channel who created that piece of content, but the truth is that there are so many benefits of downloading and watching whenever it suits you.

In case you intend to watch the video severaltimes, you should download It

We cannot say that streaming is just better than downloading or vice versa. As you have seenabove, they have many different pros and cons. This actually means that it depends on your specificneeds and circumstances – in some cases streaming might be the best choice, while in some other cases it won’t be like this. Essentially, if you will be watching the videoseveral times, it’s definitely better to go ahead and download it. You just download it once and then can watch it as many times you want. And you donot have to have an Internet connection at all to play it once you’ve download it – this makes a real difference in case you are on a flight or anywhere else where you either have no connectivity at all or the Internet is not fast.