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Download videos


See VLC tips.

  1. Play the video in VLC
  2. On VLC, check Tools -> Codec information and find a URL there
  3. Open the URL on a browser. Right click the video and choose to save the video.

The method works for youtube and vimeo videos.

Firefox/Chrome add-on

3 Easy Ways to Download YouTube Videos in Ubuntu and Other Linux Distributions

Video DownloadHelper add-on works fine when I test it on Firefox and Chrome. I need to install an app Video DownloadHelper companion app (the source code is on Github) in order to use the extension. It saves the videos to ~/dwhelper folder.

Online websites

Host your own downloader



unzip $
cd youtube-dl-$VERSION
sudo pip install .

mpsyt: mps-youtube (mp3 + stream + youtube)

By default, mps-youtube is basically a YouTube audio player (and downloader), but you can enable external video playback (via mpv or MPlayer) from its options. Check out

  • An article on webupd8.
  • More keyboard controls can be found on the webpage of mps.

Installation on Linux (works on Odroid with low CPU usage for audio stream from youtube but Odroid gives dirty noise when I played the music).

sudo apt-get install python3-pip
sudo pip3 install mps-youtube
sudo pip3 install youtube_dl

# On Ubuntu/Mint. Do not use mplayer. Use mpv instead.
# sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mc3man/mpv-tests
# sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install mpv

mpsyt   # launch
set player mpv
pl   # a playlist
h       # help
Space   # pause
p       # play
q       # quit mpsyt

h search
url   # retrieve specific youtube video by url or id

Installation on Windows

Some highlight

  • Search
  • Local playlist
  • support YouTube Playlists
  • Download
  • Music Album Matching

If something is wrong with using 'set' command, just run rm -rf ~/.config/mps-youtube/ and restart everything.

By default, it only streams audio. To watch the video, use set show_video true.

Below is what I got from the set command (as you can see the default player is mpv)

  Key                 Value                                                  
  order             : relevance
  user_order        : 
  max_res           : 2160p
  player            : mpv
  playerargs        : 
  encoder           : 0 [None]
  notifier          : 
  checkupdate       : True
  show_mplayer_keys : True
  fullscreen        : False
  show_status       : True
  columns           : 
  ddir              : /home/odroid/Downloads/mps
  overwrite         : True
  show_video        : False
  search_music      : True
  window_pos        : 
  window_size       : 
  download_command  : 
  audio_format      : auto
  api_key           : AIzaSyCIM4EzNqi1in22f4Z3Ru3iYvLaY8tc3bo

The screenshot shows mpsyt contains basic playing keyboard shortcuts.


[Update 4-7-2017]: to fix an error Signature extraction failed: Traceback (most recent call last):

sudo apt-get remove -y youtube-dl  # Removing youtube-dl (2014.02.17-1) ...
sudo pip3 install -U youtube-dl

$ youtube-dl --version

mp3 download


  • Play youtube audio only
    mpv link_to_youtube_vid --no-video
  • Open YouTube (And More) Videos From Your Web Browser With mpv [Firefox, Chrome]. Using this is especially useful if your web browser doesn't support hardware-accelerated video playback.
    sudo apt install mpv
    mpv --ytdl-format="bestvideo[height<=?1080]+bestaudio/best" <URL_of_Video>
    mpv --start=56:00 Some_YT_URL    # include time
    mpv  # embed time in the URL
  • Record live youtube video. For some reason, mp4 or mkv format does not work.
    mpv --stream-record=video.ts
  • Keyboard shortcuts:
    • Shift+o: toggle show progress
    • volume control: 9/0
    • m: mute
    • Upper/down arrow: seek 60 seconds
    • Left/right arrow: seed 5 seconds
    • [: decrease speed
    • ]: increase speed
    • s: take a screenshot
    • q: quit, save current position

yt-dlp: download youtube video