Have you ever been browsing YouTube and seen something that you absolutely had to have? Not that we’re condoning the theft of intellectual property, but if this has ever happened to you, then we have your solution. What does it take? All you have to do is remove a few letters from the URL and add two others in their place.

Need the example? Here you go. Let’s say that you’re watching an Eminem video from Vevo’s section on YouTube. Note the URL:

Screen shot 2011 01 23 at 4.06.21 PM Simply the fastest, easiest way to download video from YouTube

Now, pay attention to the www. (or http://www. if you’re not using Chrome). Highlight that section of the url and replace that with “nt”. What you should be left with is an address bar that looks like this:

Screen shot 2011 01 23 at 4.11.09 PM Simply the fastest, easiest way to download video from YouTube

Now, press enter. You should start seeing a direct download of the MP4 file for that video. Play it back with any compatible player and you’re viewing the exact same thing that you’d see on YouTube. Granted, it appears to download the file that is related to the specific URL, so if you’re viewing a 320 version and would like the 1080, you’ll need to find the URL for the 1080 video.

Taking a look at the domain for ntyoutube.com, there is a rather nondescript bit of text that doesn’t tell us much more than we already know. It’s registered to a gentleman named Scott Jackson (who links himself in the text) and it seems that he might have just stumbled onto the process:

I have no idea what this does. I just typed random characters into TextMate for a little while. Apparently, if you add “nt” to the start of a YouTube video URL, you’ll get an mp4 version of the video. I don’t know.

We’ve no doubt that this will disappear soon, but if you have an explanation in the mean time, we’d love to hear it in the comments. Thanks to Viticci for the heads up.