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Niconico (http://www.nicovideo.jp/), formerly known as Nico Nico Douga is a Japanese video sharing site similar to Youtube managed by Niwango, a subsidiary of Dwango. As of December 2014, Niconico is the ninth most visited site in Japan. It has a unique comment system where the comments are overlaid directly over the video, synced to a specific video playback time. The site is known for its anime related content and memes. Due to the limited server capacity, Niconico restricts access to the website to free users at peak times (7 p.m. to 2 a.m.) by forcing them to stream lower quality versions of videos or blocking access entirely to newly registered users. An English-language version was added on October 17, 2012, replacing the Niconico.com website, featuring a new player and translation tools allowing users to translate video descriptions into English or Chinese. An HTML5 player was trialled beginning in 2016 and made default across the site in 2017, replacing the old Flash player. From February 28, 2018 an account is no longer required to watch videos.
- Nico Nico Seiga is a site for posting illustrations and images.
- RPG Atsumaru hosts user-uploaded RPG Maker games.
- nicovideo-dl is a small command-line program (similar to youtube-dl) to download videos from www.nicovideo.jp. It is implemented in Python. It is platform-independent and should work on Unix/Windows/Mac.
- Nicofox NicoFox is a Mozilla Firefox extension for video website Nico Nico Douga. It contains a Download Manager, which can download videos from the website with their comments. (Nicofox will burn in comments into the video file with no way to watch the saved video with comments disabled, if that feature is enabled. Not recommended for serious archival.)
There are several other generic scripts and browser extension that can download videos from video sharing sites that will work with Niconico, but they can't download videos with the comments overlaid over the video. youtube-dl supports Niconico but will cut out during the video due to not properly supporting the required heartbeat requests to maintain the connection (introduced in 2018); pull requests have been made to fix this but as of April 2020 are still pending.
Recommended way to archive niconico videos using nicovideo-dl
This method will require you to have an account registered on niconico. To get the highest quality video possible, you will need either need to buy a premium subscription (540 yen a month) or only download videos outside of the peak times (7pm - 2am JST). One way to tell if you're getting the higher quality download is that they usually have a .mp4 extension, whereas lower-quality downloads result in a .flv file.
nicovideo-dl --username "YOUR-USERNAME" --password "YOUR-PASSWORD" --get-comment --raw-comment --title http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm20338084
This will grab the video and the comment XML file. The XML file can be converted into an ASS subtitle file compatible with most video players using the danmaku2ass script by m13253.
"As of October 31, 2011, Niconico has over 23,690,000 registered users, 6,870,000 mobile users and 1,390,000 premium users." Since then the number of premium users peaked at around 2,560,000 in mid-2016, before declining. As of December 2019 the number of active premium users is about 1,660,000.
Seems stable, though premium user counts are still declining. There was a scare in April 2020 when a clause relating to "service ending" was added to their Terms of Service, leading to rumours of the site potentially shutting down, but it turned out to be due to a change in legal requirements.
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