How to Play YouTube Videos in VLC Media Player

If you want to try something different and play videos from YouTube using VLC Media Player then there is a built-in support in the application itself that allows you to do so. You can use the Media > Open Network Stream feature and enter the video URL to play it. You just enter a YouTube address like and it will stream and play the video for you. It also supports many other video sharing websites.

Pro Tip: The quickest way to open a YouTube video is to drag and drop a youtube link from your browser (or anywhere else) to VLC’s interface.

Here are the steps to play YouTube Videos in VLC Media Player:

  • Click on Media > Open Network Stream… [CTRL + N]
  • Enter the direct YouTube URL to the video.
  • Hit Play.

Play YouTube Videos in VLC Media Player

The video will begin to stream and play immediately. You can even choose the quality of the media and also use all the controls and features of VLC Media Player like speeding it up or slowing it down. It is a great way to watch YouTube videos in high speed like 1.2x so that you save some time. The YouTube website and app doesn’t have this feature.

To choose the quality of the video that is fetched:

  • Go to Tools > Preferences.
  • Switch to All settings.
  • Click on Input/Codecs.
  • Choose an option next to Preferred video resolution.
  • Press Save.

Selecting YouTube Video Quality

The available options are Best available, Full HD (1080p), HD (720p),  Standard Definition (576 or 480 lines), Low Definition (360 lines) and Very Low Definition (240 lines). You can find the video resolution and other media information by hitting CTRL + J or from Tools > Media information.

Additional Options

There are a few options that you can set before streaming and you can also choose what happens after the video streams. To access the streaming options check the show more options checkbox. You will find these options:

  • Caching: Change how much of the video is cached and loaded before playing begins. The default value is 1000 ms (1 second). You can change it to a higher number if the player stops at multiple intervals but you might have to wait in the beginning.
  • Start Time: Choose a point in the video from where it begins playing. It is useful to avoid the unnecessary parts.
  • Play another media synchronously (extra audio file, …)
    Extra Media:
    Activate the checkbox and you can add another audio or video file to play along with the YouTube video. It is an interesting feature useful for mashups.

Additional Configurations

Besides the Play button, you can also see a small down-facing arrow. It reveals additional things you can do with the media.

  • Enqueue: Add it to your playlist.
  • Stream: Stream it to a file. It contains advanced streaming features which are not for everyone.
  • Convert: Convert video formats using VLC.

VLC For Android

Streaming in VLC for Android

In the app version of this wonderful software, you will find the stream option in the hamburger menu (three lines on the top-left). Tap on it and hit Stream. Paste the address to your YouTube video in the Enter network address input box and give it a few moments to load up the video instantly in your app.

5 thoughts to “How to Play YouTube Videos in VLC Media Player”

  1. Me too. Im using Win 7/ Latest VLC (I dont know which version). I can only play playlist. Is this just a glitch?

    1. Me either. I am actually trying to figure out a way to add start and end times to each individual video in a YouTube playlist, which doesn’t seem possible, but even for a single video I can’t get the start time parameter to work.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.