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Do you love YouTube playlists, but wish you could watch them outside your browser? You can use VLC for the job, thanks to a simple extension.
If you want to watch YouTube outside the browser, you’ve got options. There’s Minitube, for example: it’s a native YouTube player for Mac, Windows and Linux that lets you search for something and watch a continuous stream of search results. Apps like this are cool, but there are other options.
It’s not commonly known, but VLC can play YouTube videos. All you need to do is click “File”, then “Open Network”. You’ll see a window like this (my screenshots are from a Mac, but I also tested the process in Windows – it works the same):
Paste the YouTube URL, as seen here, then hit “Enter” or click “Open”. When you do, the video still start playing.
So far so good, but what happens if you paste a playlist URL? By default you’ll only get the first video. That’s where the trick comes in.
Download and Install the Extension
First things first: ensure that VLC is up-to-date. Once you’ve done that, download the YouTube Playlist parser from addons.videolan.org. When you click the “download” button, you’ll be taken to a text file. Don’t panic: click “Save As” in your menu. Ensure the file extension (the letters after the final dot in the file’s name) is .lua, then drag the file to the proper folder. Where depends on your system, here’s the list from the site:
- Windows (all users):
- Windows (current user only):
- Linux (all users):
- Linux (current user only):
- Mac OS X (all users):
Windows and Linux users, this shouldn’t be hard. Mac users who aren’t aware: you can add files to the inside of Mac Apps, which is required for finding the directory above. Simply right/Control-click VLC in Applications, then click “Show Package Contents”.
Once you’re in, finding the above folder is simple.
Play a YouTube Playlist in VLC
Ready to watch something? Find a YouTube playlist URL. You can usually find these on the page of your favorite channel under “Playlists”. A proper URL will include “&list”, as seen here:
Paste this URL into the Open Network window, just like we did before. You’ll soon see all the vidoes in the playlist:
The first video will start playing in a couple of seconds. Lean back and enjoy. This is particularly great if you have VLC installed on a device connected to your TV, or a second monitor on which you like to watch things as you work.
If you want to download the videos in a playlist so you can play them later when you’re offline, all you need to do is use a YouTube playlist downloader.
More VLC More Tricks
This is far from the only trick you can teach VLC. Tim outlined several cool VLC tips and tricks, outlining everything from managing podcasts to using video effects. The ASCII art is a highlight:
Saikat went even deeper, showing you some top secret VLC features. Turns out you can use VLC to record from your webcam, and automatically shutdown your computer when a video is over. Neat.
Know any other great tricks, or a better way to watch YouTube videos outside the browser? Share below.