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Play YouTube videos in VLC

Learn how to watch YouTube videos in VLC so you can skip ads, adjust playback speed, and multitask.


VLC is an extremely useful application for watching, recording, and streaming audio and video. And if you didn't know, you can also use it to watch your favorite YouTube videos.

As the Digital Inspiration blog points out, there are lots of benefits to watching YouTube videos in VLC.  For starters, you can skip any ads that might play before videos without needing to use a browser extension. Second, you can change the playback speed of videos, which can help if you're trying to learn something new, like a dance. Third, you can watch the video in a smaller window while still doing other things on your computer. And finally, you can capture snapshots from the video easily through VLC's interface.

Before you try watching a YouTube video in VLC, make sure that you have the latest version. This can be accomplished by clicking on the Help menu and then selecting "Check for updates." Evidently some of the small changes on YouTube's end can break this feature of VLC, so don't be surprised if you need an update in the future for this to work.

Step 1: Locate your favorite YouTube video URL. Just include the domain and video ID, like this:

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 2: Click the Media menu in VLC, then choose Open Network Stream.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 3: Paste the URL into the text box and click Play at the bottom!

That's it! Now you can enjoy your favorite videos without an extra Web browser tab.