Often streaming sites are filled with adverts and trackers, and the videos can be problematic or just inconvenient to play in a web browser.
It is possible to stream many media sources with a separate desktop player in most Operating Systems and avoid the trackers and advertising.
First up is the easiest options.
Media Player Classic – Black Edition comes with Youtube support built in, and can use youtube-dl.exe for more sites.
WACUP comes with support for Youtube, Vimeo, Soundcloud and Mixcloud
Video LAN Client – VLC supports Youtube and lots more with addons.
Not as easy but very worth the effort, you can add Youtube decoding to Windows as Direct Show filters, so most players that can use URLs and system CoDecs can play them. inc. Windows Media Player and VLC.
It requires manual installation so I recommend copying the files to a memorable location such as;
C:\Program Files\Common Files\youtube_source
Then run the batch file in the folder to register the decoder in Windows.
3DYD Youtube Source
Used with youtube-dl.exe it supports many other sites.
You can also use an open source Send-to-player extension to send the media in your browser to your desktop player.
Media Player Classic – Home Cinema – https://mpc-hc.org
VLC – https://www.videolan.org/vlc/
MPlayer – https://mplayerhq.hu/
MPV – https://mpv.io
NOTE: It requires a helper tool (nodeJS) for the browser to control your media player. This will be downloaded from github if not installed.
You can update the file node.exe from the latest official builds.
For Android, NewPipe is an open source Youtube player with many useful features inc. the ability to save video or audio files and work as an audio only player.
It can also use alternative decoding engines such as VLC.
Using Cytu.be you can watch synchronised media from many sites but with other people in your own private or public virtual cinema. Includes chat and customisation, and can be self-hosted.
https://cytu.be (open source)
3DYD Youtube Source can also use FFMPEG if it is installed.
This is generally used for splitting, joining or re-coding media content.
If you have youtube-dl and FFMPEG you may as well have a handy interface to use the download capability. There are a few tools called youtube-dl gui but I chose this one because of its small size and ease of use.
For convenience I keep all 3 of these together in the FFMPEG folder I made in my Programs Folder.
The manual install instructions for FFMPEG include adding the location to your System Environment Variables. If you do not know what this is or how to find it you may prefer a convenient tool for editing this info.
Windows Environment Variables Editor
Even if you do know how to edit the ENV variables you may appreciate the functionality of this tool.
…stay tuned for more tips, such as using game streaming sites coming up.