How to Download Youtube Videos With VLC

VLC is a great free media player that allows you to play most media files. One cool feature built in is the ability to download YouTube videos. There are a couple of different ways you can do this within the player. We will cover both below.

URL Download via Browser

1. Go to youtube.com and navigate to a specific video page. Copy the URL from your browser URL bar.

2. Open VLC and go to File->Open Network

3. Enter the URL for the video and make sure that the Streaming/Saving box is NOT checked. Click Open

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4. Go to the VLC playlist. Your video will be listed, right click/command-click and select Media Information

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5. An information box will pop up. You are looking for the input box titled location

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6. Copy and paste the location URL into your browser’s URL bar.

7. When the video loads in your browser, right-click the movie and click to Save As. If the file name doesn’t have an extension, add .flv. Click Save and you’ll have the file saved on your computer.

And one more way in case you run into troubles trying to download via your web browser. You can actually complete the full download within VLC without ever having to leave(other than finding a youtube url to use).

Steps 1 and 2 are the same as the first how-to. We will start with Step 3, which is where the directions need to be altered slightly.

Download Completely Within VLC

3. Enter the URL for the video and make sure that the Streaming/Saving box IS checked. Click Settings

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4. Select File and change the Encapsultation Method to MPEG 4 unless you have an alternate file type you’d like to save as. Check the boxes for Video and Audio. If when complete, there is a problem with either the video or audio, these settings might be the culprit, so you may have to play around with the transcoding options to get the download to work right.

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5. Click O.K. and then Open. Your file download should start immediately. After it has run to 100%. Go to File->Open and select the file you just created to test it out.

This tutorial is specifically for the Mac OSX, but the instructions should translate to Windows OS pretty easily as well.

Posted by Will on May 13, 2016

4 thoughts on “How to Download Youtube Videos With VLC”

P says:
Been through all the steps but am getting the message ‘VLC is unable to open the MRL’ worked fine the other day..
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lola says:
Is it possible to download the playlist with 100+ videos?..
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Kit Laughlin says:
I have not found that (in El Capitan) the DOWNLOAD COMPLETELY WITHIN VLC method works. As well, I saw that the relevant screenshot above does not have “Streaming/Saving” checked. The further problem is that “File” in the next screen is pre-populated with a non-YouTube URL (suggests that the file had already been downloaded that this method is supposed to avoid).

The first method (getting a browser to save the URL identified by VLC did work. Thanks for that.

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C says:
Does this work for 1080p YouTube videos?
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Scott Bailey says:
I tried VLC on my laptop, it’s not work for 1080p YouTube videos. If you want to download HD youtube videos like 4k or 1080p video, I’d recommend Acethinker Video Downloader which I have used for many years. It is a free cloud based software to download videos without install any software in your device.
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