I would like to play youtube videos on VLC. I am newbie (one of mac os re, but can fallow instructions :) when i enter address on network stream nothing happens it is on the playlist but nothing happens it is not playing. I have a firewall if it helps :)

Problem solved thanks to your help!!

2 Answers 2


I assume you entered the URL correctly (no https but http, and only the v=... part, like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wxawmjnRWY)?

Open the Extras menu and click on Messages. Now click play again and see what message's there.

My guess is it's

lua error: Couldn't extract youtube video URL, please check for updates to this script

VLC parses YouTube's HTML source code to look for the video, but sometimes, YouTube changes its way it outputs the HTML, so VLC is unable to find the video URL.

Possible workarounds

  • Go to https://www.youtube.com/html5 and enable html5 there to play the video in your browser without flash
  • Install minitube and try to play the video there
  • Wait for an update of VLC (or update the lua script yourself - not so easy, see Updating the VLC YouTube parser)
  • Install the package youtube-dl and download the video to your harddisk. It's a command line utility though

Updating the VLC YouTube parser

Update just the Lua script for YouTube parsing to the latest version from VLC:

Open the Terminal application and enter these commands:

Make sure curl is installed, we need this to download the new file

sudo apt-get install curl

Get rid of the old, non-working scripts

sudo rm /usr/lib/vlc/lua/playlist/youtube.*

Download the current ones (use the whole command line, yes, it's quite long):

sudo curl "http://git.videolan.org/?p=vlc.git;a=blob_plain;f=share/lua/playlist/youtube.lua;hb=HEAD" -o /usr/lib/vlc/lua/playlist/youtube.lua

See if it works.

  • 1
    Here's the bug report: trac.videolan.org/vlc/ticket/7471 Oct 8, 2012 at 12:01
  • 2
    According to the bug reporter, here's a github for the patched lua script: gist.github.com/3729932 Oct 8, 2012 at 12:02
  • 3
    I've updated my post, see "Updating the VLC YouTube parser". I was able to play videos with VLC after this.
    – phoibos
    Oct 10, 2012 at 17:25
  • 2
    For a second I thought I was boned, but that last suggestion actually worked! So +1 for you, and I'm totally bookmarking this for the next time this happens. Jun 9, 2014 at 4:22
  • 2
    1. In my case with 18.04 the output was to /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/vlc/lua/playlist/youtube.lua (just a youtube.luac before there). 2. Didn't work with error ts demux error: libdvbpsi error (PSI decoder): TS duplicate (received 0, expected 1) for PID 0 (with somes adaptive demux: Encountered discontinuity before). They are moving all to GitLab here. Mar 10, 2019 at 3:04

You can run the latest Lua script for extracting YouTube streams by downloading the appropriate file into your home directory. There's no need to delete or modify system-level files. This works just fine:

mkdir -p ~/.local/share/vlc/lua/playlist/
curl 'https://code.videolan.org/videolan/vlc/-/raw/master/share/lua/playlist/youtube.lua' -o ~/.local/share/vlc/lua/playlist/youtube.lua

or with wget:

mkdir -p ~/.local/share/vlc/lua/playlist/
wget -q -O - 'https://code.videolan.org/videolan/vlc/-/raw/master/share/lua/playlist/youtube.lua' > ~/.local/share/vlc/lua/playlist/youtube.lua

VLC will use local scripts instead of the system level Lua file here:


By using a local file in your home directory, you don't have to worry about the file being overwritten when the VLC package is upgraded with apt upgrade or similar.

Relevant links:

  • Thank you so much! 2021 working like wonders! <3
    – Jaume
    Apr 20, 2021 at 0:27

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