10 Best Free and Open Source Terminal-Based YouTube Tools

YouTube is a video-sharing website, created in February 2005, and purchased by Google in November 2006. The web service lets billions of people find, watch, and share originally-created videos. This service lets you watch a wide variety of user-generated and corporate media video. It also offers a forum for people to communicate with others around the world, and acts as a distribution platform. Mainstream media corporations such as CBS, Vevo, Hulu and the BBC publish some of their catalog via YouTube, as part of the YouTube partnership program.

Although some parents might disagree, YouTube is one of the shining lights of the internet. According to a survey of 1,500 American teenagers commissioned by Variety, the top five most influential celebrities are YouTube stars, with mainstream celebs eclipsed. Moreover, there are many thousands of “YouTube celebs” who have spun a full-time career of creating videos. This new wave of young ‘YouTubers’ threaten mainstream entertainment with their direct video blogs and interaction with their millions of mostly teenage devotees.

A common complaint about YouTube is that to watch the material you need to use a web browser. Fortunately, some funky developers have created applications that allow you to bypass the web-only barrier of YouTube.

Each application featured is released under an open source license, and offers multi-platform support. The software allows users to access YouTube in a different way, creating a TV-like experience.

Here’s our verdict captured in a ratings chart.

Ratings chart

Click the links in the table below to learn more about each tool.

Console-Based YouTube Tools
yt-dlpFork of youtube-dl offering new features
You-GetDownloader that scrapes the web
YouTube TUILightweight and user friendly TUI for browsing YouTube
TizoniaCloud music player for the Linux terminal
pipe-viewerLightweight YouTube client with CLI and GUI
LuxDownload library and CLI tool
pytubefixLibrary and CLI for downloading YouTube videos
youtube-dlDownload videos from YouTube and many other sites. Extremely versatile
YTerMusicAims to be as fast and simple as possible
MPS-YouTubeTerminal based YouTube player and downloader

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1 year ago

To play youtube videos, mpv is sufficient.

1 year ago
Reply to  Tutav

Lots of general purpose media players handle YouTube playback