How to Watch YouTube Videos and Playlists in VLC Media Player

Tutorial Jan 10, 2021

The VLC media player is one of the most widely used software for media consumption. This tutorial will teach you how to watch YouTube videos (live and non-live) and public playlists in VLC media player.

At the time of writing this, VLC media player version 3.0.11 was used for testing and confirming the instructions on this guide.

INSTRUCTIONS

We will be able to play both live and non-live videos in VLC media player. For that, we need to update the default VLC plugin which handles YouTube videos. The default plugin is capable of handling live YouTube videos and nothing else. And for playing YouTube public playlists, we will use another plugin.

Right-click this link and "save link as" a file to your desktop. It is a .lua file for handling YouTube videos.
Right-click this link and "save link as" a file to your desktop. It is a .lua file for handling YouTube public playlists.

Next, depending on your operating system, copy or move both .lua files which we just downloaded to their proper location:

Windows (all users): /ProgramFiles/VideoLAN/VLC/lua/playlist
Windows (current user): %APPDATA%vlc/lua/playlist
Linux (all users): /usr/lib/vlc/lua/playlist/
Linux (current user): ~/.local/share/vlc/lua/playlist/

Note: If the directory does not exist, you can create it.

Finally, let us confirm that we can play YouTube Videos and public playlists. While having the VLC media player open and in focus, do Ctrl+N and paste in a YouTube video or public playlist link, and click on the play button.

VLC media player "Open Media" window
"Open Media" window of VLC media player

That is all, we are now able to play YouTube videos and public playlists in VLC media player

THE QUALITY

VLC will play the best resolution which it is capable of playing. If you wish to change it, it can be done in the VLC's Advanced Preferences window. Bring it up with Ctrl+P or navigate to Tools -> Preferences and click on the "All" radio-button at bottom left of the window.

Under the Input/Codecs section, change the Prefered video resolution option to your desired setting.

advanced preferences of VLC media player showing how to change preferred video resolution
VLC Advanced Preferences

Note: YouTube streams higher resolution versions of videos differently. Their video and audio are separate streams. VLC won't be able to handle such YouTube video resolutions and will try to play the next best resolution it can handle.

Tags

Lime

Simple, like quantum physics.