~/blog/"Watching YouTube offline, with no ads and/or shilling"


If you live in the current year, you probably consume a lot of content from YouTube.

During all this consumption, have you ever stopped and think how much of your time is wasted on ads and/or listening to <insert today's sponsor>? Fear not, I’m about to save you hours/days of your life (depending on how much time you’re glued to the screen every day).

The essential addons to surf the web these days

I’m assuming that you’re already familiar with uBlock Origin. It’s probably one of the most popular addons, and an absolute necessity to browse the internet these days (not just YouTube), as it blocks pretty much all the ads. One exception being, the sponsored sections that youtubers put in their videos.

If you cut off all the sponsor / self-promotion / “like and subscribe” sections, you’d save quite a bit of time. Luckily, there’s an addon for that as well: SponsorBlock.

This addon allows regular users to tag sections of the video which belong to categories like the ones mentioned above, and share those tags with the other SponsorBlock users. You can then set the addon’s options to skip the types of sections you’re not interested in.

There’s no need to submit tags yourself, but after using it for a while, I found myself tagging videos that I’m watching (if the video has no tags yet).

Taking it one step further: offline

Offline?! Who the hell watches videos offline these days?

Lots of people.

Not everyone has a fast and reliable internet connection that allows them to watch videos in 1080p. Also, even if you do have fast/reliable internet and home, think of the times you find yourself without an internet connection (e.g. on a train or a plane). In those situations, it might be a good to catch up with the YouTube videos you were planing to watch; being that lectures or clickbaity gamer videos.

You might already be familiar with youtube-dl. It allows one to download videos from youtube, it ran into a few legal issues, but it’s back now!

However, during youtube-dl’s absence, a fork was created: yt-dlp. This introduced some cool new features, including using SponsorBlock’s API to tag/filter categories in the video.

So, putting it all together, you can use yt-dlp to download youtube videos stripped down from all the nonsense, and watch them whenever you feel like it.