Download YouTube Videos with VLC (Because, Why Not?)

VLC is one of the most popular video players for Linux and other platforms.

It’s not just a video player. It provides a number of multimedia and network-related features among other things. You’ll be surprised to learn what VLC is capable of.

I’ll demonstrate a simple VLC feature and that is to download YouTube videos with it.

Yes. You can play YouTube videos in VLC and download them too. Let me show you how.

Download YouTube videos with VLC Media Player

Now, there are ways to download YouTube videos. Use a browser extension or use dedicated websites or tools for it.

But if you don’t want to use anything additional, the already installed VLC player can be used for this purpose.

Important: Before copying the link from YouTube, make sure to choose desired video quality from the YouTube player because we will get the same quality in which the video was streaming while copying the link.

Step 1: Get the Video link of your desired video

You can use any of your favorite browsers and copy the video link from the address bar.

copy youtube link

Step 2: Paste copied Link to Network Stream

The option of Network stream lies under Media which is the first option of our top menu bar. Just click on Media and you will get the option of “Open Network Stream”. You can also use the shortcut to open Network Stream CTRL + N.

click on media and select network stream
Click on Media and select Open Network Stream

Now, you just have to paste copied YouTube video link and click on the play button. I know it just plays video in our VLC but there is a little extra step that will allow us to download currently streaming video.

paste video link
Paste video link here

Step 3: Get Location Link from Codec Information

Under the codec information prompt, we will get a location link for the currently playing video. To open the Codec Information prompt, you can use the shortcut CTRL + J or you’ll find the option for Codec Information under “Tools”.

click on tools and then codec information
Click on Tools and then Codec Information

It will bring detailed info about currently streaming video. But what we need is ‘Location’. You just have to copy the location link and 90% of our task is complete.

copy location link
Copy Location link

Step 4: Paste Location Link to New Tab

Open any of your favorite browsers and paste copied location link to the new tab and it will start playing the exact video in the browser.

Now, right-click on playing video and you will get an option for “Save Video As”.

click on save
Right click and select Save Video As

It will open the file manager and ask you whether you want to save this video locally or not. You can also rename that file as by default it will be named “videoplayback.mp4”

showing file in folder
Save the video

Conclusion

If you have internet connection issues or if you want to save some video for future viewing, downloading the YouTube video makes sense.

Of course, we don’t encourage piracy. This method is just for fair use please make sure that the creator of the video has allowed the video for fair usage and also make sure to give credits to the original owner of the video before using it somewhere else.

sagar sharma

Sagar Sharma

I’m a software engineer trying my best to bring open-source software to a general audience. Being a Linux author solves my purpose.

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  • Doesn’t work for me. VLC simply repeatedly puts out an error message that it is unable to open the URL. What version of VLC did you (all) use?

  • Another option is to use yt-dlp. It is a much superior tool to download youtube videos. It has many options.
    Do check it out: https://github.com/yt-dlp/yt-dlp
    Even for not so tech savy people, it is easy to use.
    Just type:
    yt-dlp -F URL
    yt-dlp -f videoFormat+audioFormat URL

    For audio only:
    yt-dlp -f bestaudio URL