With highspeed broadband internet connections on the rise, the day of being able to download or watch video clips on your PC is now upon us! For years, you had to settle with postage stamp sized, grainy video clips sent via regular dial-up connections. But with DSL and Cable modems, data transfer speeds have increased 20-100, and today’s online video is a world away from yesterday’s. Most popular are watching and downloading music videos. There are a number of legal sites aimed at music video lovers.
Check out Music.MSN.com – they have a video section featuring the top 100 videos, special featured videos, and you can search or browse videos by genre or artist. For example, they have the latest Ashlee Simpson videos and Black Eyed Peas videos there.
After watching a brief commercial advertisement before the video, you get to watch the complete music video in a window about 320×240. There is an option to expand the playback to full screen, but this results in a jumpy, pixelly image that is not satisfactory. The videos are also linked to downloadable music files that are available from the MSN music store (99 cents per single). Unfortunately, there is no easy way to download these free video clips for later playback on your system – you will need to return to the MSN website each time you want to watch a video, and you’ll have to sit through the ad before EVERY video you watch. With MTV no longer playing much music, this may be the only choice you have for seeing the videos of your favorite music artists, but it leaves much to be desired.
Yahoo Music Videos
Next stop, Yahoo Music. Yahoo has a low priced program for download MP3 digital music, but they also have a large online digital video section to their site (music.yahoo.com). Just like MSN, videos play in a small pop-up window after a wonderful 30-second commercial (again, before EVERY video – why?). The full-screen video mode on Yahoo is slightly better than MSN – but not great. They also link to downloadable music versions of the videos (audio only, you cannot download the video clips). They have pretty much all the latest songs from the latest music stars, but all the ads make it tough to watch sometimes.
MTV Music Video Downloads
MTV.com has a special MTV Broadband video channel. What’s it got? They have their MTV news clips there, ads of course, and special artist-oriented programs and videos. Unfortunately, they require special digital rights management files on your computer to access some of this stuff, so it can be a pain. Alternatively, a lot of artists now make videos available on their own homepages – for example, Greenday.com. You can see all their most recent videos here.
Downloading free music videos
There is also a lot of freely downloadable video content on the various file-sharing networks. Known mostly for MP3 files, you can also find music video files here to download. Keep in mind that copyright laws pertain to all things found on file-sharing networks, so you can work as legally or as illegally as you choose to. You can’t always tell if what you are downloading is legal or illegal – the best advice is to avoid these file-sharing networks which often contain files bundled with spyware or other unwanted applications. You can also get the latest version of Real Player which allows you to download videos from almost every source – CNN, sports sites, YouTube, MTV, etc. You can then store these files on your computer and view them whenever you want.