Watch YouTube Without Using YouTube

July 17, 2020 - Published by

YouTube is a fantastic tool for finding anything from instructional video content to entertainment, and anything and everything in between.

There’s no denying that YouTube is an incredibly useful resource, but there is one large problem: Google. Google disrespects user’s privacy all the time, and YouTube is not only owned by Google, but your ‘YouTube Account’ is also your Google Account.

Invidious is an alternative YouTube front-end…

If you’re consuming content on YouTube but are looking for a privacy respecting and functional alternative, then I can highly recommend Invidious – it’s an alternative front-end to YouTube, and if you combine it with a JavaScript blocker such as NoScript, and you can watch any video from YouTube without connecting to YouTube/Google’s servers, or running their proprietary JavaScript. You can also subscribe to channels through Invidious, and if you don’t trust an instance, you can always host your own (although this is not necessary).

You can also use a tool called Invidition to automatically redirect any YouTube links you click to Invidious in your browser too!

YouTube Channels have RSS…

If you want to use an RSS reader to ‘subscribe’ to YouTube channels, YouTube offers RSS feeds for channels.

First, you’ll need the channel ID, which you can find by going to Invidious and searching for the channel you want, and on the channel page you can find the channel ID here:

Simply use this URL format (and replace the red text with the channel ID):

  • https://www.invidio.us/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=ChannelID

Note: The channel ID starts with ‘U’, do not include the ‘channel:’ bit.

RSS Readers

There are many great RSS readers, I personally use newsboat which runs in the terminal, and I have configured a macro to directly stream YouTube videos to mpv (media player).

I don’t personally have experience with other RSS readers so I can’t recommend any, but there are many resources out there! Try to find/use a FOSS (Free Open Source Software) client.

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Please contact me if you have any comments or questions about this post.

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This post was written by Karl Swanepoel