How to Download YouTube Videos with VLC (4 Ways)

Though it costs you to download YouTube videos with its official button over time, you can turn to VLC for free video downloads. More than just a media player, VLC is 100% free and easy to use when it comes to downloading videos. No matter whether your computer is Mac or Windows, VLC is highly compatible with various operating systems including Android, iOS, and Windows, etc.

Considering that the steps can be tricky, the blog today will share with you step-by-step guides on how to download a YouTube video using VLC in 4 different ways. At the end of the post, the best VLC alternative and workable fixes are all provided. Do check them out if you run into VLC not working issues (such as compressed output quality and unstable performance).

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CONTENT Can You Download YouTube Videos Using VLC Method 1. Directly Download YouTube VLC in Location Information Method 2. Save YouTube Videos with VLC by Streaming Method 3. Record Part of YouTube Video with VLC Method 4. Download YouTube Video via VLC with Subtitles Professional Alternative to Download YouTube Videos Fix: VLC YouTube Download Not Working

Can You Download YouTube Videos Using VLC

VLC is known as an open-source and free desktop program for streaming videos. It is packed with many hidden features which you can use for video downloads. For example, you can use VLC's Location Information and Steaming to download a full YouTube video for free. For long videos like movies and talk shows, you can also download them with subtitles via VLC. Or you can use its recording feature to save a short YouTube video.

Using VLC to download videos can be tricky. In the following parts, we'll walk you through these 4 methods. Keep reading!

Method 1. Directly Download YouTube VLC in Location Information

Method 1 will show you how to download a YouTube video using VLC's "Location Information" feature with a video link. Mac users can keep reading for detailed steps. PC users click here to jump to the part.

1. Download Videos from YouTube with VLC Media Player on Mac

Step 1. Select the correct version of VLC Media Player to install on your Mac computer first.

Install VLC Mac Version on Desktop

Step 2. Go to YouTube and search for the video that you would like to download. Please open the web page of the video and copy its link from the search bar.

Step 3. Return to VLC Media Player. For Mac users, follow File >> Open Network. On the pop-up window, paste the link of the YouTube video to the URL bar and click on Open at the bottom-right corner.

Paste YouTube Video Link to Open in VLC

Step 4. After VLC successfully analyzes the link of YouTube video and starts playing, select Window >> Media Information and copy the link from Location bar at the bottom of the pop-up window.

Copy YouTube Video URL in VLC

Step 5. Now, with the link, open a new tab on your browser and paste it into the searching bar. Click on Enter and you will be directed to the video page. Right-click on the video and choose Download Video As. Choose a location and click on Save to save the YouTube video on your PC.

NOTE: If VLC fails to load the YouTube video for you, take a look at other professional Mac video downloaders to download YouTube videos immediately.

Download YouTube Video VLC on Mac

Drawback of VLC Media Player
During our test, VLC can only save videos in 360P even when your YouTube video is 4K. Meanwhile, VLC takes at least 5 minutes to download a YouTube video that lasts only one minute and a half, let alone videos longer than 2 hours.

For video quality and download speed, VLC can't compare with professional YouTube video downloaders. It's understandable as VLC is just an open-source media player, not designed for YouTube video downloads.

Instead of struggling with VLC, why not switch to the professional option: VideoHunter YouTube Downloader. It stands out for its fast conversion and highest video quality, which supports 1080P, 4K and even 8K. Download it now and take advantage of its 3 free downloads per day!

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2. Download Videos from YouTube with VLC Media Player on Windows

Step 1. Copy the link of the YouTube Video you want to download, and paste it to VLC. Click on Media >> Open Network Stream, paste the link you've just copied to the network URL bar here, and then click on Play.

Paste YouTube Video URL to VLC Windows

Step 2. After a certain period of time (it may take several seconds to minutes which depends on your network connection and the length of the YouTube video), VLC Media Player will successfully grab the YouTube video and start steaming the video. Then right click the screen and select Tools >> Codec Information.

In the Location bar, you can see a long row of URLs. Press Ctrl + A to make sure you copy the complete URL.

Click Tools and Codec Information

Step 3. After copying the Location URL, paste it in a new browser window. It may take a while to load the video, and then click on the Hamburger icon and select Save Video as to start downloading the YouTube video.

However, you might also encounter a full black screen. Since VLC Media Player is not a professional YouTube downloader, it often fails to download. To download YouTube videos successfully in original resolutions, you'd better turn to the best YouTube downloaders with various features for help.

Download YouTube Video VLC on Windows

Method 2. Save YouTube Videos with VLC by Streaming

While Method 1 disappoints you, VLC Media Player offers another feature to help you download YouTube videos on Mac/Windows, which is streaming and downloading the YouTube video to a new file. Here's the step-by-step guide that shows how to download a YouTube video using VLC on Mac (the steps are similar and Windows users can follow).

Step 1. Copy the link of the YouTube video. Similarly, open VLC Media Player and select Media >> Open Network Stream for pasting the YouTube video link to the pop-up window. Click Play and choose Stream.

Open YouTube Video URL to Load in VLC

Step 2. Now the Stream Output window appears. Confirm the information on this page and click Next >> Stream. On the Destination Setup window, click Add.

Step 3. Click Browse to set the location you want to save the downloaded YouTube videos.

NOTE: 2 Steps left! Some of you may find how tricky it is to download YouTube videos with VLC on a Mac. Here's the faster option. VideoHunter YouTube Downloader has you covered. It only takes 3 simple steps to download videos from YouTube. Jump to this part to have a look.

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Step 5. On the Stream Output window, click on the drop-down icon and select your preferred format to download YouTube videos. Here you can choose to download YouTube videos in MP4 using VLC.
( If VLC fails, there are also plenty of YouTube to MP4 Converters that you can use for free. )

Step 6. Finally, please click the Stream button to start downloading a YouTube video via VLC on Mac in no time. Then you can wait for VLC to download the YouTube video and save it to the folder you specified before.

Method 3. Record Part of YouTube Video with VLC

If you are trying to keep parts of long YouTube videos, VLC Media Player prides itself as an easy-using recorder as it can record any part of a long YouTube video you like, though the video quality is not good. Try HD YouTube Clip Downloaders if you want to download parts of YouTube videos in high quality.

Follow the guide below and learn how to download part of a YouTube video with VLC Media Player utilizing its recording function.

Step 1. Run VLC. Turn to Media >> Open Capture Device >> Capture mode to select Desktop.

Step 2. Open a YouTube video in a window. Subsequently, use VLC to select it as the object you are about to record.

Step 3. Please select Options to preset the format and frame rate before initiating the YouTube video capturing process.

Record to Download YouTube Video VLC

Step 4. Tap the Play button and VLC will function to record the YouTube video for you.

Step 5. When the YouTube video ends playing, please stop the recording and VLC will save it as a local file on your computer in no time.

The YouTube video downloaded with this Method 3 might deliver low video quality. If you wish to download YouTube 4K or even 8K videos, the best alternative, VideoHunter YouTube Downloader, has you covered.

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Method 4. Download YouTube Video via VLC with Subtitles

For users who want to download long YouTube videos like movies and talk shows with multi-language subtitles, VLC also delivers a way to download YouTube subtitles with the videos with clicks, though it could take a bit of work.

Bonus: For more free ways to download long YouTube videos, check this post: How to Download Long YouTube Videos Free [Full Guide].

Now, continue reading and follow the steps to find out how to download a YouTube video with subtitles via VLC on a computer:

Step 1. First, open the YouTube web and find the YouTube video with subtitles. By clicking the three-dots icon beneath the video playback window, select Show transcript option and copy the whole transcript to your Notepad. Save it as a TXT document.

Copy YouTube Video Transcript and Save As TexT

Step 2. Once you get the TXT document, convert it to an SRT file instead.

Step 3. Now, open the YouTube video in VLC following the steps in Method 1 or Method 2 accordingly. Next, go to Subtitle >> Add Subtitle File… to select the saved SRT transcript document for loading to VLC Media Player.

Add Subtitle File to YouTube Video in VLC

Quick Tip: Using VLC to download videos with subtitles is rather complicated? Check this post for more methods: Best Ways to Download YouTube Subtitles.

Step 4. When the subtitle SRT file is added now, you are able to download YouTube videos with subtitles in VLC. Firstly, enable the added subtitles to the YouTube video by selecting Subtitle >> Subtitle Track >> [Your added subtitle file].

Select Added SRT Subtitle File in VLC

Step 5. After that, go to Media >> Convert/Save to select the output profile. Meanwhile, simply choose Add Subtitle File and select the added SRT document under the Subtitle section, then click Start to download a YouTube video with subtitles right away.

Professional Alternative to Download YouTube Videos

Although VLC Media Player offers a free way to download YouTube videos, VLC brings low video quality or slow download speed, not to mention frequent download failures. For such reasons, here we pick the best alternative to VLC - VideoHunter YouTube Downloader - an app that performs better in downloading YouTube videos.

Why Choose VideoHunter YouTube Downloader Over VLC
VideoHunter YouTube Downloader works excellent to download all types of short and long YouTube videos, including public, unlisted, and private videos, live streams, movies, etc. to mainstream formats such as MP4 and MP3 to play on all devices offline. Unlike VLC, it can keep the best video quality up to 8K, and save the video from YouTube in original quality.

VideoHunter YouTube Downloader speeds up the speed and can batch download playlists at a 6X faster speed. Also, it downloads a whole YouTube playlist or channel for you without hassle! Using VideoHunter YouTube Downloader, video downloads can be ensured at the best quality, and efficiency is also greatly guaranteed!

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Bonus: VideoHunter YouTube Downloader offers 3 free downloads per day to every registered user. Take the free chance and install the app to enjoy fast and high-quality video downloads right now!

How to Download YouTube Videos [Fast & Easy]

Now, let's show you how easy it could be when using VideoHunter YouTube Downloader to download YouTube to MP4, which only takes 3 simple steps.

Step 1. Install and Register VideoHunter YouTube Downloader
Please install VideoHunter YouTube Downloader on your desktop first. Once running the program, you need to create a new account before getting its free YouTube video downloads.

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Sign in VideoHunter YouTube Downloader

Step 2. Copy and Paste YouTube Video URL
Open YouTube and search for the video that you want to download. Then copy its link from the searching bar of the video page. Next, return to VideoHunter YouTube Downloader and paste the link of the YouTube video to the downloading bar. Click on the Analyze button.

Copy and Paste YouTube Video URL

Step 3. Select Format and Quality to Download
You will be asked to select the output format and quality for your video. Here we go for MP4 and 1080P. Click on Download. Subsequently, VideoHunter YouTube Downloader will start downloading the video and save the YouTube video in MP4 on your computer.

VideoHunter YouTube Downloader can also convert music from YouTube videos to MP3. Check this post of best ways to convert YouTube video to MP3 on PC/Mobile if you're interested.

Download YouTube Videos with Best Quality

Overall, VideoHunter YouTube Downloader delivers an easier process than VLC to download YouTube videos for you. Compared with VLC, it offers more professional features, like up to 8K resolution, batch download of playlist and channel, and fast speed.

VideoHunter YouTube Downloader offers 3 free downloads for users to download YouTube videos for free every day. Now, install the software and get started without paying a penny!

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Fix: VLC YouTube Download Not Working

As a media player, VLC is packed with plenty of features that you can use for video recording and downloads. Considering VLC is not a dedicated YouTube video downloader, the VLC YouTube download not working problems often occur and bring download failures. Here we find several fixes to help you. Check them out.

Solution 1: Update VLC to the Lastest Version.

VLC will release software updates to fix bugs. If your VLC is not the latest version, it might be to blame for failing to download YouTube videos. Follow the steps below to check and update your VLC.

Step 1. To check the current version, open VLC. Click on Help > Check for Updates.

Check Latest Version on VLC

Step 2. If there is an update, it'll display a message like "A new version is available." Click Yes. Once the update is complete. Click Install to install the latest version of VLC on your computer.

VLC Update Message

Solution 2: Make sure YouTube videos are public and accessible.

After following the above 4 methods, you find VLC can't download a YouTube video when the screen shows a message like "You don't have authorization to view this page." Or you may find Your input can't be opened. This means the video might be age- or region-restricted content or private videos. Such YouTube videos can't be downloaded by VLC Media Player with basic features.

In this case, you have to turn to professional YouTube downloaders like VideoHunter YouTube Downloader to download these restricted videos from YouTube.

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VLC Fail to Download YouTube Videos

Solution 3: Name the YouTube video.

If you get a file named "file" instead of gaining a playable video, add a suffix of ".mp4" or ".avi" after your file while you are asked to name the file. Furthermore, video converters can solve the problem by converting the file into MP4 format.


Although you can download YouTube videos using VLC Media Player for free, this open-source tool seems more suitable for media streaming - some sudden errors often occur and fail to download YouTube video via VLC for you. Also, the video quality and download speed are not satisfying.

To download YouTube videos with higher resolutions, great efficiency, and hassle-free operations, VideoHunter YouTube Downloader, the dedicated downloader, is packed with more features to help you. Install it and try it with 3 free downloads now!

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