Ask & Record Toolbar
If you get tired of steering to YouTube every time you want to see the look on Simon Cowell's face when Susan Boyle starts singing, you need a way to save those videos locally. If you're an Internet Explorer user, that way would be the free Ask & Record toolbar from Applian. It renders saving a video no harder than selecting record, then from the dialog that pops up, choosing the video and saving it.
As a version of the Ask toolbar, A&R asks you if you'd like to make Ask your default search engine and home page (it defaults to this), but it's polite enough about it. Just don't blindly click through the install (good advice with any program). Applian includes its free FLV player (the majority of online files are Flash video these days) for its own playback use. This player is a rebranded version of Martijin de Visser's excellent freebie.
As a Firefox user I use the free DownloadHelper, which doesn't add a toolbar to the mix. That brings me to my one complaint about A&R; Unlike DownloadHelper, if you leave the page the video is being played on, A&R stops recording. This means you must watch every video you want to download in its entirety without skipping forward or backwards, which also disrupt the record process. I like DownloadHelper's approach of opening a second stream much better.
Comparisons aside, a free way to save all those heartwarming Britain's Got Talent segments from within IE is a very good thing, even if it does add another toolbar to the mix.
Note: This link takes you to the vendor's site, where you can download the latest version of the software.
--Jon L. Jacobi