What is Youku.com, and how to access blocked contents from outside China

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 17, 2013
Music and Video, tv

I do not blame you if you have never heard about Youku before. It is a Chinese video hosting website comparable to YouTube.

Thanks to its Chinese-only interface, it has likely flown under the radar for most users who do not speak Chinese.

What's rather interesting is that it is one of the top 100 sites of the Web according to Alexa, and while the stats are not exact in terms of traffic, it highlights that the site is very, very popular.

If you do take the time to explore what it has to offer, you may notice that it does offer quite the large selection of non-Chinese contents, especially in its TV and Movies sections.

Fans of US TV shows such as The Blacklist, Revenge, Almost Human and dozens of others will for instance notice that they are all available on the site, in English with Chinese subtitles.

And if you prefer shows from the UK, you are also covered here as shows such as Sherlock, Hit&Miss, Dowtown Abbey or The White Queen are available as well.

Besides TV contents, you will also find that Youku hosts an impressive number of movies that you can watch on the site. It is rather interesting to note that you find many top blockbusters on the site, including all Top 50 films on IMDB.

How that is possible? Likely because of how copyright is handled -- or ignored -- in China.

What you may also notice is that the shows are not available if you connect to the site from outside of mainland China.

While regular videos are available and can be viewed from any location in the world, some contents are limited and you will receive an error message when you try to access them. This is similar to how YouTube restricts contents on its website.

Tip: I suggest you use either Google Chrome to browse the website if you do not speak Chinese, as you can translate it to a language you speak then, or a browser and a translation add-on for it, for instance Google Translator for Firefox.

Unblock Youku


If you are from China and want to unblock Youku while you are traveling, then you can make use of the Google Chrome extension Unblock Youku to do so.

All you need to do then is click on the icon when a video on Youku does not play, and reload the page to have it play just fine for you.

The extension is easy to use and there is configuration whatsoever involved.

The stream quality and performance is fine, and if your Internet connection is fast enough, you should not notice any slow downs or buffering pauses while you stream contents to your system.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Anonymous said on August 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Why not make use of the mplayer.conf?

  2. Mike J said on August 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Huh, I have never even seen this “font cache” pane; videos play at once for me, using VLC & XP SP3.

    1. Martin said on August 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Mike, in theory this should have only been displayed once to you, at the very first video that you played with VLC. The time this window is displayed depends largely on the number of fonts in your font directory.

      1. Mike J said on August 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm

        huh, I lucked out for a change?? Amazing!!
        Apparently VLC keeps this info through version updates, but I didn’t see this message after a fresh OS install about 8 weeks ago, & a new VLC.

  3. myo said on August 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    yes, yes, i have the same problem. sometimes, VLC crashes when it is playing .mov file.

  4. Kishore said on August 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Buidling font Cache pop-up


    Open VLC player.

    On Menu Bar:


    (at bottom – left side)
    Show settings — ALL

    Open: Video
    Click: Subtitles/OSD (This is now highlited, not opened)
    Text rendering module – change this to “Dummy font renderer function”


    Re-open – done.
    Progam will no longer look outside self for fonts

    Source – WorthyTricks.co.cc

    1. Martin said on August 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      Great tip, thanks a lot Kishore.

  5. javier said on August 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    @Kishore, I’ll try your tips, but does this mean it will no longer show subtitles either?
    I do use subtitles, but the fontcache dialog box pops up (almost) everytime I play a file.

    Could this be related to the fonts I have installed? Or if I add/remove fonts to my system?

    I’ll try to do a fresh install also, if your tips does no work. I’ll post back here later…


  6. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,

  7. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,Dont worry, VLC is currently sorting out this issue and the next version will be out soon.

    No probs @ Martin !! Its my pleasure

  8. Ted said on October 22, 2010 at 3:57 am

    Try running LC with administrator privileges. That seemed to fix it for me

  9. Evan said on December 8, 2013 at 1:48 am

    I am using SMplayer 0.8.6 (64-bit) (Portable Edition) on Windows 7 x64. Even with the -nofontconfig parameter in place SMplayer still scans the fonts. Also, I have enabled normal subtitles and it is still scanning fonts before playing a video. Also, it does this every time the player opens a video after a system restart (only the fist video played).

  10. Mike Williams said on September 6, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Does that mean that only instrumental versions of songs will be available for non-paying users?

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.