It is likely that you have heard and used VLC media player for playing streaming videos. But it is more likely that you are fooled by its name — VLC media player is by no means a one-trick pony. Instead, it is a feature-packed powerful tool which is not only capable of playing streaming videos but also able to download videos from all the popular websites, like YouTube.


Today, you are going to learn about how to download video with VLC on Mac/Windows and solve a series of problems involved when using it all in one passage.

VLC's Hidden Feature — Download Video from Internet

In fact, there are two methods to download videos with VLC. Here I will introduce the easier one. Please follow the steps below with VLC downloading a YouTube video as an example.


Step 1. Fire up VLC

After installing VLC media player to your Windows or Mac, fire it up.


Step 2. Copy the Video URL from YouTube

Go for the video on YouTube and copy the link from the browser’s address bar above the page.


Step 3. Paste the Video URL into VLC and Start Playing

On Windows:

Click on "Media" > "Open Network Stream" in VLC main interface.

VLC Open Network Stream to Download YouTube

Then under the Network tab on the pop-up window, you should then enter the YouTube video URL that you have copied from YouTube. Press the "Play" button to start playing the video.

VLC Enter YouTube Video URL

On Mac:

Click on "File" > "Open Network", enter the YouTube video URL and click "Open".


Step 4. Get and Copy Codec Information of the YouTube Video

On Windows:

Hit "Tools" > "Codec Information" to copy the full URL besides the "Location" title. This is the direct URL of the YouTube video.

Copy VLC Codec Information

On Mac:

Select the YouTube video in VLC, hit "Window" > "Media Information". You are looking for the "Location" input box.


Step 5. Enter the URL into Address Bar and Download the YouTube Video

Open a web browser page and paste the copied Location URL into the address bar before hitting "Enter" on your keyboard. More clicks of "Save" button might be needed after that, which depends on the video link and the setting of your browser.


Problems Tackled in YouTube Downloading Using VLC

Now, have you learned about how to download YouTube videos using VLC yet? Don't worry if you encounter some problems when in practice. The first thing you need to do is to repeat the above steps more carefully in order to rule out the possibility of not following the right procedures. If that problem does continue to exist, you might need to read the second part of the passage. We have listed some common problems involved in saving video from websites with VLC and given out our solutions.


Problem 1:

"Sadly this didn't work for me. It downloaded the video but instead of getting a playable video I get a file called "file" in my download folder."

Solution A: Put an extension to the file name when it gives you "Enter file name", like ".mp4" or ".avi".

Solution B: Use a video converter to convert the file into ".mp4".


Problem 2:

"I could download some YouTube videos with VLC while others didn't work."

Solution: Check if the video is tagged "Age-restricted video (based on Community Guidelines)". If that is the case, the video will NOT download using the established method due to YouTube policies. There is no way of getting rid of it. So try VLC alternatives.


An Alternative to VLC for Downloading Web Video Including YouTube

The built-in download feature of VLC cannot go without drawbacks since it is not an expert in video download. Indeed, some videos are highly protected by their website program and prevented from grabbing by VLC. To solve such a problem, I suggest you to try some online tools to download videos from popular websites for offline viewing.


VideoSolo Online Video Downloader is one of the best free online downloaders on the internet for grabbing YouTube videos. Aside from YouTube, it claims to support Facebook, Instagram, Dailymotion, Vimeo, SoundCloud, etc. in almost all browsers and all operating systems including Mac/Windows/Android/iOS. With a clean and intuitive interface, VideoSolo Online Video Downloader is very easy to use within just several clicks. Yet, with it, you are empowered to produce videos of various formats, including WebM, 3GP, and MP4, as well as of full-range qualities. Doubtlessly, you can also choose audio formats and qualities.


Follow the 3 steps to grab videos from the Internet easily with VideoSolo Online Video Downloader.


Step 1. Go to the page containing your loved video and copy the video link from the address bar above.


Step 2. Head to the VideoSolo Online Video Downloader homepage and paste the video link into the search box. Press the "Download" button to the right of the box to interpret the video.

Paste Video Link

Step 3. After deciding on the output format and quality, hit the corresponding "Download" button to the right hand. Then the browser immediately pops up a download dialog; if not, click the menu button > "Download" on the pop-up window, or right-click the mouse and select "Save as".

Download YouTube Video

Hope the above information can settle your problems when downloading videos with VLC on your Mac or Windows. If you are not so satisfied with VLC’s inherent download function, your best bet is to try VideoSolo Online Video Downloader, which is quite easy and efficient to use.