How To Instantly Send Any YouTube Video To Your TV, Using XBMC

xbmc youtubeSend any YouTube video to your television, instantly. It’s perfect for YouTube parties or anytime you want to comfortably watch a video from your couch. All you need to make living room dreams come true is a media center powered by XBMC and a simple browser extension.

Here’s the scenario. You’re sitting on your couch, browsing the web. You stumble upon a hilarious video and – being a social creature – you want to share it with the people around you. The usual solution is to tell everyone in the room to crowd around your laptop. Sure, it’s a great way to get close to people, but it can get old fast. Which is why I propose to you another solution – hitting a single button below the video to make it play on your TV. It’s easy with the magic of XBMC.

In case you didn’t know, the latest version of XBMC, Eden, is faster and prettier than ever. If you have a computer hooked up to your TV there’s no reason not to install it. It catalogs your media for easy browsing and watching, supports amazing add-ons including Hulu, offers a wide collection of cool skins and generally makes life without cable fantastic for any TV fan. Even better, you can instantly send any YouTube video you find on your laptop to it.

How It Works

You’re browsing the Internet, minding your own business, when it happens. You discover Ze Frank, the original video blogger, is back. The second coming is upon us!

This is clearly a moment you want to share with everyone in the room, right now. Luckily, you’ve got a television with a XBMC center, and this fancy button:

xbmc youtube

Yep, the one with the XBMC logo. Clicking this button causes happiness, as Ze Frank’s face makes its way to your TV screen.

xbmc youtube plugin

Now you and everyone in your immediate vicinity can witness amazing. Ready to set this up yourself? You’re obviously going to need XBMC running on a computer hooked up to your TV. It runs on Windows, Mac (even PPC!), Linux and Apple TV, so pretty much any setup should be covered. Once you’ve got that working, follow the next three simple steps.

Step 1: Set Up YouTube On XBMC

First things first: you’re going to need to install the YouTube plugin for XBMC. On your TV, head to the “Settings” screen and you’ll find the “Add-Ons” menu. YouTube is easily found under “Video“; no special repository is needed.

This plugin is awesome: you can sign in and browse your subscriptions from your couch. Feel free to play with this, but for now I’m moving on.

Step 2: Find Your Network Settings

Now that you’ve got YouTube installed on your computer, you should pull up the “Network Settings” page of XBMC. Open it, turn on control by HTTP and allow programs on other computers to control XBMC.

xbmc youtube plugin

Also set a username and password, if you like. Keep this screen open – we’re going to need it for the next step.

Step 3: Set Up Your Browser Plugins

Ready for the browser plugin? Grab your laptop and head to the YouTube page on the XBMC wiki. Here you’ll find links to extensions for Firefox and Chrome. Install whichever extension you like (or both if you’re a browser polygamist).

Once you do so, you’ll see this settings screen:

xbmc youtube

Fill this in using the information from the settings screen still open on your TV. Follow the pattern they offer – username:password@host:port – and all should be well. The default plugin will work fantastically, so don’t mess with the second field.

Now head to YouTube and find whatever video you like. The button for playing media will be found beneath your video, as depicted above. Awesome!


I love the Internet way more than I love TV. Having access to the Internet on my TV is pretty much amazing.

Do you know of any other cool television-related YouTube hacks? Share them in the comments below.

Comments (13)
  • Texy

    Either things have changed or I’m doing something wrong.
    For starters, you can only (now?) install chrome extensions via chromes webshop, not via the link on the xbmx wiki page.
    Secondly, how do you get to the settings page for the youtube chrome extension?
    It doesn’t ‘just’ appear as implied above. If I look on chrome extension setting page, youtube is not listed, even though I have it installed.
    Any help gratefully received.

    • Justin Pot

      Yeah, Chrome’s changed their policy for installing plugins. You have to download the file, open the extensions page and drag the downloaded file into it if something is not in the Chrome Web Store.

      Once you’ve installed the plugin you should see the settings on the extensions page; I’m not sure why you wouldn’t.

  • Mark

    I can certainly see that this was a SPAM. I would love the feet of the monkeys that insure the home of the big world hoping for more passionate spammers to be afraid of their belief. Following your heart will lead you to a puddle of blood. In most cases.

    • Justin Pot

      Don’t respond to Spam; just use the flag button to alert administrators. It helps us keep things tidy.

  • fritzboyle

    even simpler: XBMC on apple tv supports airplay. if you are on an iphone, ipad or a mac with airfoil installed, you can send it instantly via your wireless network. no pre-setup required.

    • Justin Pot

      It’s what I’d do if I had an iDevice. For everyone else, there’s the above guide. Thanks for the tip, though!

  • wolfcrane1

    I’ll be trying XBMC once I get my Raspberry PI also.
    I’m using the Roku, and have used the unofficial Youtube app/channel, but would love to have a better way to navigate YouTube.

    • Justin Pot

      Well let us know how XBMC works out for you. I’m loving it myself, and am thinking about writing a manual for it.

    • Garey Boone

      A manual would be awesome

  • doorknob60

    Cool, will definitely do this once I get my Raspberry Pi :) Does XBMC also allow showing/browsing my Youtube subscriptions? I assume it does, but I haven’t used it in a while.

    • Justin Pot

      I seriously need to look into this Raspberry Pi thing. $25!

      You can browse your subscriptions from inside the YouTube app. I use it to catch up every night!

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