Handy Youtube-dl command to archive a whole Youtube channel

A youtube-dl command to archive a Youtube channel in high resolution as an mp4, write the downloaded id to a file, save the thumbnail plus embed metadata to the video.

This is the command:

youtube-dl -f "bestvideo[height>=720]+bestaudio/best" -ciw -o "%(id)s.mp4" --add-metadata --embed-thumbnail --download-archive downloaded.txt --merge-output-format mp4 -v [CHANNEL URL]

All the options are from the documentation.

Breaking it down


This gets the best video (stream) where the resolution height is equal to or greater than 720p. Therefore if the video is available in 4k (2160p) that will be downloaded.


Force resume of partially downloaded files, ignore erros and don’t overwrite files.

-o "%(id)s.mp4"

Save the file as id.mp4 where id is the video id.

--add-metadata --embed-thumbnail

Add metadata about the video into the file and save the thumbnail (id.jpg).

--download-archive downloaded.txt

Creates a text file (downloaded.txt) and writes in each video id that gets downloaded. This helps track and download newly uploaded videos.

-merge-output-format mp4

Merge the video into an MP4. This option is to avoid webm files. If you want webm video files remove this option and change .mp4 to .webm in the -o option.


The channel URL.