How To Stream or Download YouTube Videos Using VLC Media Player

VLC Media Player is undoubtedly the best software to play videos, yet. Although it can also play audio files, but that’s not the thing we will talk about. Almost everyone use it because of various reasons. Some reasons are unique to one person, while some are in everyone’s list. What is in everyone’s list? Or in other words, why VLC is the most preferred Media Player?

  1. The loading time is faster than other popular software like Windows Media Player, QuickTime etc.
  2. It can play almost every video format. I don’t remember any day when VLC had said”Sorry, this video format isn’t supported”. Except when the file was not actually a video file, or was corrupted.
  3. Subtitles support, keyboard shortcuts and many options to control playback.
  4. Well, it’s free.

youtube videos on vlc

These are the things almost everyone knows about, but VLC provides much more than that. It allows you to “stream” videos too. No, there is no catch. VLC provides the feature, in-built. No extra software or ‘trick’ is involved. Though, for downloading videos, there is no “one-click” way. Before we proceed to the procedure, let’s take a look at the benefits. Why should you stream YouTube videos using VLC Media Player?

  1. No Ads, Hurray! No annoying ads, save time and data usage.
  2. If you suddenly encounter an addictive song, and couldn’t stop listening to it. Just put it on loop, and it’ll keep playing until you get bored with it.
  3. You can make the player stay “always on top”, and continue doing your work while the video plays in the foreground, simultaneously. Kind of multi-tasking + less wastage of time.
  4. All other features of VLC, which are not there in YouTube (or technically, flash player). Like, snapshot, playback speed, etc.

How to use VLC Player to Play YouTube Videos

  1. Open VLC Media Player, and go to Media -> Open Network Stream.
    open network stream
  2. Alternatively, you can use the shortcut keys Ctrl+N.
    network url-1
  3. It will open a window asking you to enter the network URL.
    network url-2
  4. Copy the YouTube video’s URL and paste it in the text-box provided, then press “play”. What? Were you expecting more steps? Sorry to disappoint you!
    play video vlc

You might get an error that VLC is unable to open the URL. In that case, check the URL you entered in the text-box. If it was a HTTPS link change it to HTTP only. For example, to – and the video should work fine now.

What About Streaming a Full Playlist?

What if it was possible to play a complete YouTube playlist in VLC player? Sounds cool, right? It just needs a little workaround. Follow the steps.

  1. You need a VLC addon to import a full YouTube playlist, and play it. Download YouTube video and playlist importer plugin.
  2. Save the .lua file you get from there anywhere on your PC.
  3. Open VLC media player’s installation directory, and go to “/lua/playlist/“. Generally, the path is “C:Program FilesVideoLANVLCluaplaylist” for windows users. Linux users navigate to “/usr/share/vlc/lua/playlist/” and Mac OS users “/Applications/“.
  4. Create the directories if they don’t exist. Paste the “.lua” file you downloaded in that folder.
  5. It was a one-time setup, you’re done. Now just copy-paste any YouTube playlist URL like we did for a single video above, in Media -> Open Network Stream. Enjoy the videos with unique VLC features.

Not only YouTube, you can play DailyMotion videos with VLC too. And probably support for Vimeo will be added soon in newer versions of VLC Media Player.

Download YouTube Videos using VLC Player

Sometimes (in fact, most of the time), you feel like downloading a YouTube video but the problem is… The procedure seems complex and time-consuming. There are some software in the market, which lets you download any YouTube video. But why waste resources when you can do just that without any special efforts? A simple trick is all you need to use VLC player to download YouTube videos on your PC, in the original quality!

  1. Play the YouTube video you want to download in VLC media player (steps given above).
  2. When the video starts playing, select “Media Information” from Tools menu (or use shortcut Ctrl+I).
    media informatioon
  3. At the bottom of the window, you’ll see a label “Location:“. Copy the text in the text-field.
    copy location
  4. Paste it in your browser’s address bar, and press enter. You should be able to see the video in the browser now.
  5. To save it on your hard-drive, right-click on the video and select “Save video as…”. Save the video to an appropriate location, and you’re done, without downloading any other software.

Also Read: How to Download Torrents on Mobile (All Platforms: Android, iOS, Blackberry, Symbian, Java and Windows Phone)

Don’t forget to share it, and post your suggestions in comments section below. If you know a better way to achieve the results we want, do tell us about it; it helps other readers too.