How I watch youtube with
I find that the youtube web ui is designed to keep users on the site by feeding them an unending stream of information. Bright colors, distracting thumbnails, peanut galleries, etc. I prefer to consume my videos in the same way I consume everything else: via RSS.
RSS is my favorite way of aggregating things that other people have made because it allows me, the user, to interact with their things
The only dependencies not on a standard UNIX system are
newsboat and a video player. I also use
yt-dlp to download videos for later viewing. I like
mpv but you can substitute your own.
$ sudo $pkgmrg install newsboat mpv yt-dlp
Getting RSS feeds from youtube
Youtube (currently) provides RSS feeds for channels.
Finding Youtube channel ID
Sometimes channels have vanity URLs that can make it difficult to find the channel ID. Other times, the URL contains the channel ID. All youtube channel IDs start with the string
UC so we can easily grep for them.
$ curl https://www.youtube.com/c/RMCRetro | grep --color "href=\"https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC\""
[ lots of nonsense ]
[ lots of nonsense ]
In order to turn this channel ID into something useful, we create the following URL:
The export format is a CSV that contains the channel IDs for all of our subscriptions.
Channel Id,Channel Url,Channel Title
UCLEoyoOKZK0idGqSc6Pi23w,http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLEoyoOKZK0idGqSc6Pi23w,RMC - The Cave
Newsboat url list
Newsboat reads it’s list of URLs from
~/.config/newsboat/urls. Every url we add to this list will be automaticlly fetched. You can make separate URL lists for your list of videos and list of standard text based RSS feeds
If you have an exported CSV, you can easily modify it so that newsboat will accept it as a list of URLs by deleting row 1, column 1+comma, and replacing the comma between the URL and channel name with a tab character. Doing a
sed 's/channel\//feeds\/videos.xml?channel_id=/g' on the file is an easy way to replace the website URL with the feed url. Newsboat only reads the first field of every row so the channel name can be kept for easier subscription management.
http://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UCLEoyoOKZK0idGqSc6Pi23w RMC - The Cave
In order to play videos, we need to add some macros to the newsboat config file at
Mine looks like this.
# load URLS on launch
# vim binds
bind-key j down
bind-key k up
bind-key j next articlelist
bind-key k prev articlelist
bind-key J next-feed articlelist
bind-key K prev-feed articlelist
bind-key G end
bind-key g home
bind-key d pagedown
bind-key u pageup
bind-key l open
bind-key h quit
bind-key a toggle-article-read
bind-key n next-unread
bind-key N prev-unread
bind-key D pb-download
bind-key U bashow-urls
bind-key x pb-delete
# macro setup
macro , open-in-browser
# launch video player
macro v set browser "setsid -f mpv" ; open-in-browser ; set browser linkhandler
# download video
macro d set browser "yt-dlp"; open-in-browser ; set browser linkhandler
# download audio only
macro a set browser "yt-dlp --embed-metadata -xic -f bestaudio/best" ; open-in-browser ; set browser linkhandler
This is a demo of using newsboat with videos. In order to execute the macros, you type
v or whatever other letter you set the macro to.
video in webm format your web browser or operating system does not support free video codecs :(
A url list to get you started
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UC3ts8coMP645hZw9JSD3pqQ Andreas Kling
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UC15BJjhPr4d5gTClhmC4HRw Elliot Coll
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UCxQKHvKbmSzGMvUrVtJYnUA Learn Linux TV
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UCl2mFZoRqjw_ELax4Yisf6w Louis Rossmann
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UC2eYFnH61tmytImy1mTYvhA Luke Smith
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UC7YOGHUfC1Tb6E4pudI9STA Mental Outlaw
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UCjFaPUcJU1vwk193mnW_w1w Modern Vintage Gamer
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UCLEoyoOKZK0idGqSc6Pi23w RMC - The Cave
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UC4rqhyiTs7XyuODcECvuiiQ Scott The Woz
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UCy0tKL1T7wFoYcxCe0xjN6Q Technology Connections
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UC8uT9cgJorJPWu7ITLGo9Ww The 8-Bit Guy
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UC5UAwBUum7CPN5buc-_N1Fw The Linux Experiment
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UCFMx-JitepTttWc-ABHhu8A This Week in Retro
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UCsnGwSIHyoYN0kiINAGUKxg Wolfgang's Channel