Download YouTube Video Using VLC Media Player

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VLC Media Player is a free, open-sourced, video media player and video toolkit available for Windows, Linux, and macOS. It will play local video files as well as YouTube video streams.

VLC’s built-in plugins are utilized to stream YouTube videos. Simply drag and drop the video URL from your browser into the VLC Media Player window to start playing the video.

This article will show you how to play YouTube videos within the VLC Media Player on Windows and also how to download those videos as MP4 files. Note, you are only legally allowed to download your own videos and can do so right from the YouTube Studio interface without the need for VLC.


How to Play YouTube Videos in VLC Media Player on Windows

You can play videos from YouTube using VLC Media Player using its built-in support. Simply click Media > Open Network Stream (or just press CTRL + N) and enter the video URL to play it. VLC also supports many other video sharing websites.

Note: The quickest way to open a YouTube video is to drag and drop a YouTube URL from your browser (or anywhere else) into VLC’s window.

To choose the quality of the video that is fetched:

  • Go to Tools > Preferences.
  • At the bottom, toggle Show settings to All at bottom.
  • Click Input/Codecs.
  • Choose an option next to Preferred video resolution.
  • Press Save.
  • You can find the video resolution and other media information by hitting CTRL + J or from Tools > Media information.


How do I fix YouTube Videos Not Playing in VLC?

The simplest option is usually also the one most likely to be ignored. This would be to simply update or reinstall the VLC Media Player on your computer from the VLC official website.

If that doesn’t work here are some other settings you can try.

Disable cookies forwarding

  • Click Tools > Preferences.
  • Select Preferences
  • At the bottom, toggle Show settings to All at bottom.
  • Click Input/Codecs then select Access modules.
  • On Access Modules select HTTPS input.
  • Uncheck the box next to Cookies forwarding on the right side.
  • Click Save.

Replace youtube.luac file

VLC media player needs a youtube.luac file to play videos from YouTube. You can try downloading a slightly modified version of the youtube.luac file from the official VLC GitHub repository.

  • Download or copy and paste the youtube.luac file from GitHub.
  • Use Windows + E to launch File Explorer.
  • Navigate to the following directory: C:/Program Files/Video LAN/VLC/lua/playlist/
  • Replace the youtube.luac
  • Restart or open the VLC Media Player.
  • Access the Open Media window by pressing Ctrl+N, select the Network tab.
  • Enter the YouTube video URL and press Play.

Disable Hardware-accelerated Decoding

The Hardware Acceleration feature in VLC Media Player improves the encoding and decoding of specific video formats. However, some users encounter compatibility issues with it. Try turning off hardware-accelerated decoding to see if your video playback issues resolve using the instructions below.

  • Click Preferences from the Tools menu or just press Ctrl + P to open the Preferences window directly.
  • From the top menu, select the Input/Codecs tab.
  • Change Hardware-Accelerated Decoding option from Automatic to Disable and click Save.



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