Putting Internet Download Manager through it’s paces

When you start looking for video download tools for YouTube or download accelerators it’s almost inevitable you will end up with links to Internet Download Manager. With all these links going around I figured I would download it and give it try in my Video Download Gauntlet of Death.

Ok, there really is no gauntlet of death, but I did have several video and download tests that IDM didn’t handle so well. IDM is free to try for 30 days with a price of $24.95 to keep using it. Seems a bit expensive considering all the free tools out there.

First off, IDM is supposed to speed up, resume and schedule downloads. After trying it with several different network connections I didn’t really see any difference. On a big connection it downloaded at high speed, but then again, so did everything else. On a slow connection, it was still slow, just like everything else. It does organize files into categories such as Video, Compressed, Documents, Music and Programs which isn’t a bad thing, but certainly not that big of a deal. So as a download manager and speed optimizer I didn’t really see the value for money.

Next, it was time to hit the video circuit to try and grab as many video files as I could. IDM puts a toolbar above any video it finds which allows you to download it. Not bad so far. It works just fine with YouTube, even allowing the download of 1080p videos if they’re available. However, things came tumbling apart as it doesn’t understand how to download YouTube Playlists and gives you a massive list of HTM files. And even though it has a right-click option for Download with IDM for video links, it doesn’t know how to actually resolve the link to a file. Right-clicking just gives you another HTM file. You still have to click the video and get it playing.

And it wasn’t just on YouTube. I tried multiple video download sites and IDM couldn’t download the video unless it was actually playing. I even tried the Download All with IDM which caused Firefox to lock up. When presented with a list you can’t right-click and copy the URL to set up a queue. You just get a useless list of HTM files that it can’t resolve. The ultimate download manager doesn’t know how to download files from a link? That doesn’t seem very helpful.

I was able to download a Doctor Who episode from DailyMotion, but again, the video had to be played and the download was just as slow as it would have been with anything else – it started at 1MB/s and kept dropping down to 400-500KB/s. It wasn’t able to speed up the process even by download chunks of the file.

So what exactly does IDM do for the heft $25 price tag? To be honest, I can’t see that it does anything of note that can’t be accomplished with any one of the myriad of free Firefox plugins. My connection didn’t magically become faster nor are videos any easier to download. Based on these simple tests, there is nothing to justify a price of $25. Even as a free tool it doesn’t offer much. You would be as well off using FlashGot, DownloadThemAll or Freemake Video Downloader. I saw no reason to keep IDM installed and it’s since been removed. I’m still scratching my head about all the hype related to this program.

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