How to watch YouTube videos on your desktop (without browser)
You have plenty of options when it comes to watching videos hosted on YouTube: you can use a web browser, an application on mobile devices, or watch the videos on your Television.
Most of these options are comfortable and easy to use. One drawback to watching YouTube in the official application or in a web browser is that you get a lot of noise on the site. If you connect using a browser, you get user comments, advertisement, suggestions, and other elements that you may not be interested in.
While you can block those using browser extensions for the most part, there is also privacy that you need to take into consideration. Cookies are written and read when you watch YouTube videos in your browser regardless of whether you are signed in to an account or not.
Watch YouTube on the desktop
One of the programs that you may use to watch YouTube videos on your desktop is SMPlayer. The media player is available for Windows and Linux, and includes a YouTube component that you may use to watch videos hosted on YouTube using it.
To get started, just press F11 to open the YouTube browser or select View > YouTube Browser to get started.
The browser opens in a new window. It displays video recommendations by default based on language and region preferences which you may change with a click on the preferences button.
You may want to select View > Settings on first start to adjust the settings. You may want to change the default video playback quality from 320p to another quality level. SMPlayer supports up to 1080p videos at the time of writing.
Video results are displayed with a thumbnail, the playtime, and the title. You also find other information such as the publication date, publisher, and number of views there.
A click on the "more info" button opens additional information such as the video description, number of likes and dislikes, and even comments.
A click on categories in the video browser displays videos of that kind only. Select music, pets & animals, or gaming to limit the video listing to videos of the selected category.
The search interface lists filters at the top that you may use to change the order of videos. Change the order from relevance to rating, title, views or date, and set quality, duration or video type filters next to that.
A click on any video plays it in the main SMPlayer window automatically. You can use all controls provided there, for instance to jump to a different position, enable fullscreen, change the volume or pause the video.
SMPlayer's way of watching YouTube videos is beneficial to your privacy. While Google still knows about your connections to the site, it cannot drop cookies in the web browser anymore which it may read whenever you visit sites with YouTube content.
Another positive aspect of using the desktop program to watch YouTube videos is that you may watch the video without all the noise on the YouTube site.
There are some downsides to using SMPlayer for playback on YouTube that may or may not affect you. The first thing you need to be aware of is that you juggle between two interfaces: the YouTube browser to search and select videos you want to watch, and the main SMPlayer interface for playback.
You cannot sign in to a YouTube account using the program which means that you don't get personalized recommendations and cannot leave comments or interact with site content in other ways that require a user account; your list of subscriptions is not available among other things.
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