Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

YouTube Viewer is an application written in Perl that can be used to search, play and download YouTube videos.

The app ships with two interfaces: GTK2 and comamnd line and it offers a wide range of features, like an advanced search, browsing YouTube categories, view your subscriptions, favorites or recommended videos, view complete video information (including comments, upvotes/downvotes, video category and so on and allows posting comments from the app) and more.

YouTube Viewer

YouTube Viewer features:
  • GTK2 and command line interfaces;
  • search, play and download YouTube videos;
  • supported external players: mplayer (and mplayer2), mpv, vlc and SMPlayer (for a complete GUI for mpv/mplayer) and you can add more in the configuration file;
  • displays complete video information: video length, number of views, upvotes/downvotes, uploader, video category and upload date;
  • you can see video comments, add a comment, rate a video, add it to favorites and so on, directly from YouTube Viewer;
  • log in to your YouTube account and see your subscriptions, favorites, recommended videos and watch history;
  • advanced YouTube search: you can choose to search for videos, channels or playlists, sort search results by relevance, rating, view count or date published as well as upload date (all time, this month, this week or today), search by video duration and so on, with configurable results per page;
  • list the latest videos uploaded or favorited by a user, list playlists created by a user or subscription videos for a username;
  • browse YouTube videos by categories or tops (top rated, top favorites, most shared, most popular, etc.);
  • supports entering a YouTube video URL in the search field to play that video;
  • more.

YouTube Viewer is a great application that supports pretty much everything you can do directly on the YouTube website (well, without uploading or editing videos), but it lacks a pretty important feature: it can't play 1080p videos. That's because YouTube now uses DASH for 1080p videos, with separate audio and video streams, which is not supported by YouTube Viewer for now. Update: the application can now play 1080p videos but for some reason it can't download them so the best downloaded video quality continues to be 720p.

Also, the UI could use some improvements, especially the Preferences dialog, which currently displays the options available in the configuration file as plain text:

YouTube Viewer

Here are a few more YouTube Viewer screenshots:

YouTube Viewer

YouTube Viewer

YouTube Viewer

The command line interface comes with pretty much the same features as the GUI and is very easy to use - type "youtube-viewer" in a terminal, then type ":h" to see all the available options (you can also use "youtube-viewer --help" to achieve the same thing):

YouTube Viewer

YouTube Viewer

Note that the command line and GTK interfaces don't use the same settings. To configure the command line YouTube Viewer interface, edit the "youtube-viewer.conf" file located under ~/.config/youtube-viewer (run "youtube-viewer" once so the file is created).

Important: in my test, YouTube Viewer didn't work properly with VLC and using it with mplayer may result in some videos not working (due to the videos using an encrypted signature), so for best results, use this application with mpv. To set YouTube Viewer to use mpv as the video player, from its menu select Preferences and change the "video_player_selected" value to "mpv".

Install YouTube Viewer in Ubuntu 15.04, 14.10 and 14.04 Or Linux Mint 17.1 and 17

1. Install mpv

Like I said above, even though YouTube Viewer supports multiple video players, right now it only works properly with mpv or at least that was the case in my test. To install mpv in Ubuntu 15.04, 14.10 or 14.04 / Linux Mint 17.1 or 17, simply use the following command:
sudo apt-get install mpv
Ubuntu 14.04 and 14.10 have a pretty old mpv version so if you want to install a newer version, I recommend using Doug McMahon's mpv PPA.

2. Install YouTube Viewer

To make it easier to install, I've uploaded the latest YouTube Viewer from GIT to the main WebUpd8 PPA, for  Ubuntu 15.04, 14.10 and 14.04 / Linux Mint 17.1 and 17. Add the PPA and install YouTube Viewer using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install youtube-viewer

Arch Linux users can install YouTube Viewer (GIT) via AUR: cli | gtk

For other Linux distributions, see the YouTube Viewer Google Code and GitHub pages.

Report any issues you may find @ GitHub.

Thanks to Hund for the tip!