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Type any word, then sit back and watch a series of videos from YouTube. Then, if you want, download the videos you particularly like. It’s called MiniTube, and it’s a brand new YouTube experience. This lightweight Mac and Linux program is the perfect way to relax after a long day, because it feeds the best of YouTube to you without expecting much input from you.
Web video is great, but there’s still a certain appeal to television. That appeal is the lack of thought one needs to put into watching it. MiniTube replicates this, to a certain extent, by requiring from the user only one input: the general search term. Do that, then sit back and watch. Best of all, this player doesn’t make use of Flash. Mac and Linux users know that Flash isn’t nearly as stable on their platforms as it is on Windows, so this is certainly a blessing.
MiniTube is currently available for Mac and Linux, though a Windows version is also underway.
A New Way To Watch
There’s not much to MiniTube at first glance:
But really, what else does there have to be? To start watching, just type what you want to watch and let MiniTube take care of the rest. It will automatically queue up YouTube’s most relevant videos for you and play non-stop, until you tell the program to do otherwise:
This is a particularly nice way to watch public domain cartoons; I used it to watch Bugs Bunny, for example. But if you wanted to see music videos or concerts, all you’d need to do is type the name of the artist. If you want to see people being hurt, all you’d have to do is type “fail.” You get the idea: type something, watch related videos.
Right-click any video, or look at the program’s menu bar, and you’ll find some interesting options:
Copying the YouTube link is obviously useful if you want to share a given video with a friend. Switching to full-screen mode is also awesome for couch-bound viewers. But what I really like here is the “Download” option.
Sure, there are a lot of great ways out there to download YouTube videos. I like 3ouTube and ClipGrab quite a bit myself. But if you’re using MiniTube to watch YouTube videos, it’s nice to be able to use that same tool to download videos.
Saving videos on your computer is a great way to ensure you’ll be able to view them years from now, so give it a try.
Installing MiniTube is relatively painless; just head over to MiniTube’s homepage and find the download for your platform. Mac users: this program actually works on PowerPC Macs, a rarity in this age, so check it out. Mac users are offered a “Demo” download, but I can’t tell what makes it different than the full version.
Linux users: you’ll want to check out the Linux installation instructions. Here you’ll find a PPA for Ubuntu users and various other packages, as well as instructions that should work for most distributions. If you’d rather not mess around with that, know that there’s a portable package for every Linux distro over at PortableLinuxApps, the best place to find portable Linux applications that work on any distro.
How do you like this program, everyone? I love it myself, but I know opinions vary. Let us know what you think in the comments below, or recommend alternative programs. I’d particularly love to hear about anything that might work on Windows like this does!