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Topic in Brief:
YouTube in VLC

"I'm looking for watching live YouTube video streams on VLC, because I don't want to use flash player on my browser. I know VLC is able to play both local and live videos, but how to do so?"

Many people love the VLC Media Player for watching all movies and video clips on their computer. Although it plays DVDs and other film clips with ease, it can also allow you to watch YouTube videos on your desktop. Normally, there are only a couple of options when you watch a YouTube video. But with the VLC Media player, you have a lot more capabilities to choose from. Watching in this way also gets rid of advertisements, comments, sidebar suggestions and pop-ups that block your viewing pleasure. Read on to learn different ways you can play and view YouTube in VLC Player.

I. Manual Way - Connect YouTube to VLC Manually

By configuring the inner settings of VLC, you're able to connect it to YouTube properly and enjoy the video without your browser. There're generally two methods for our users.

1. Simple Connection Method

In the recent version of VLC Player, it allows to to load any YouTube video via URL. You just activate this tool and click "File" and then "Open Network Stream" on top menu. After that, just copy and paste the URL of a video clip into given field, and then click to confirm it. This will play video directly on VLC.

open network stream

load youtube url on vlc

2. Advanced Connection Method

In this advanced way, you're able to drag the URL of a YouTube video to VLC player for watching it. There's no need to copy & paste URL for watching the video every single time, but it takes more time to configure the settings on VLC. This procedure includes 8 steps, follow them below to do the trick:

  • a. Download the VLC video player and install it on your computer.
  • b. Run the VLC program.
  • c. Select "Tools" and then "Preferences" from the user interface.
  • choose preference in tools

  • d. Select "All From Show" settings on the next screen.
  • e. This will display the Hidden Settings window.
  • f. Click on "Input/Codec" on the list.
  • advanced settings

  • g. Navigate to the "Preferred Video Resolution" bar and use the drop down menu to find the appropriate resolution based on how fast your internet runs.
  • configure code

  • h. Click "Save" to keep these settings.

After this set up procedure, all you have to do to watch a YouTube video on VLC Media Player is drag the video or URL to the open VLC program and click "Play."

II. Download Way - Use Video Download Manager Software

The Video Download Pro is a robust tool for downloading videos from YouTube to local media format directly. It provides you the privilege of watching videos offline rather than streaming them online. In order to do so, just take a free trial from the buttons below and then install this tool on your computer.

mac trial free windows free trial

Once done, you can activate the program and then go for streaming a video on YouTube or other sites. By hovering the mouse over playback window, you will quickly observe a download icon which lets you click to grab the clip being played.

download playing video

You may repeat this step to get as many videos as you prefer whilst you could check the progress in program's interface. Also, you could download video via URL by copying the address of it and then clicking "Paste URL" icon on top-left of the interface.

download in progress

Videos can be found in "Finished" menu when download completes, and then you may choose to convert an existing clip by clicking the "Convert" button attched to it. When a profile dialog prompts, just select the desired output format that's compatible with VLC player (e.g., AVI for Windows, MOV for Mac, etc). By clicking "Ok", just give it a few minutes and you will get well-converted files. Now you can easily enjoy the videos on VLC player without limits.

convert downloaded videos

configure output format

III. Other Ways - Use 3rd-Party Tools for Playing YouTube on VLC

If you do not want to mess around in the settings on VLC, you can choose to use a compact app to assist you and to ignore the complicate process in viewing YouTube on VLC.

1. SVPTube (Smooth Video Project)

SVPTube is a free program that you could get from the give link. Once the program is activated, open up a YouTube window and find a video you wish to grab. Copy the URL by clicking "CTRL" + "C" on a Windows machine. Open up the SVPTube program by clicking the appropriate icon save to your system tray. Use the drop-down menu to choose whatever resolution you want before clicking the "Copy URL" button.

svptube copy url to youtube

Finally, open up the VLC media player, press the "Media" button and then select "Open Network Stream" from the menu. Now paste the YouTube URL into the appropriate slot. The video you have chosen will start playing right away. If you want to watch a few videos in sequence, you can set up a collection or queue as well. All you need to do is navigate to the "View" and then click on "Playlist, "Add File" and then choose which videos you wish to import from YouTube or another video sharing site.

playing youtube on vlc

Although this method allows you to use the VLC Media Player controls with YouTube videos, it does not download them to your hard drive so you can play them back again at your leisure. It also requires an Internet connection while you watch. The Video Download Manager program is offered below for your convenience.

2. VLC YouTube Shortcut for Browser

VLC YouTube Shortcut is a nice add-on for to open YouTube in VLC. You could also skip the copy-pasting and window navigation, too. Once installed, you will see an extra option on the playback window of YouTube, letting you click to open the current video in VLC player. So the whole proces turns to be quite simple, you could just stream a video on YouTube and select from right-click menu to stream it on VLC. Mind that this tool works for FireFox only.

IV. Extra Tips

In this part, we will share two handy tricks for users to better utilize VLC to enrich the entertainment with YouTube.

1. How to Record YouTube with VLC

record with vlcIf you prefer the idea of recording YouTube when watching it on VLC, then this method will come in handy. First of all, activate VLC player, click "Media" from top menu and then "Open Network Stream". Now you could copy and paste the URL into given field like talked before. Once done, click "Play", and then forward to playback screen. Now also navigate to the top menu, select "View" - "Advanced Controls", and then click "Record" on the toolbar. It will start recording your video right away.

2. How to Snapshot YouTube with VLC

When you're watching video from YouTube site or local drive on VLC, you may also snapshot any frame that captivates you. In order to do so, just pause in the scene you want to create screenshot, navigate to "Video" on top menu and then select "Snapshot". That's it, screenshots created this way will be available in the directory of "...My Documents\My Pictures\" on Windows or "...Desktop\" on Mac. And if you prefer, you could also read more details about taking snapshot on VLC.

take snapshot on vlc player


To summurize, we have reviewed and itemized several practical methods for streaming YouTube videos on VLC player. In so doing, you can achieve a better viewing experience with less buffers and more settings to control over playback.