Since neither firefox nor chrome seem to use hardware acceleration for youtube videos I am now trying to play them using vlc. That does work but I am experiencing two problems:

  • When I jump to a given position using the slider the playback does not seem to resume normally from that position but it is constantly buffering and then playing a few seconds. Does anybody know why this is?
  • Regardless of what the quality setting are the video always plays in 720p quality. Can I somehow force vlc to play in 1080p? I also downloaded livestreamer and interestingly this program also doesn't list 1080p as available for a video that can clearly be played in 1080p via the youtube webpage.

Thanks for your help! :)

  • I believe the lack of 1080p is that Youtube uses separate streams for video and audio at that quality (Known as DASH) - there is a way to watch 1080p videos in VLC though: reddit.com/r/youtube/comments/3ijei1/… There's also a desktop youtube application for Linux, see webupd8.org/2015/02/youtube-viewer-complete-youtube-client.html, which may be of interest. There's also various Youtube downloader apps, maybe you could download the videos first, and then watch them ? About the seeking issue in VLC: I don't know. Oct 20, 2016 at 6:09
  • Thanks for the useful tips! I had a look at the youtube-viewer and that seems to be a quite handy tool to watch youtube videos. For the moment I'll stick to that. :) The seeking issue in VLC puzzles me... i didn't see that with the other players that I've tried.
    – Chris
    Oct 20, 2016 at 19:57
  • Are you sure the graphics driver you use has hardware acceleration? Which driver?
    – jarno
    May 30, 2019 at 8:21

1 Answer 1


You should try SMPlayer. It supports what you are looking for.

To do so, follow these commands:

sudo apt-get install youtube-dl
sudo apt update
sudo apt install smplayer


  • 2
    Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! I recommend editing this answer to expand it with specific details about how to play Youtube videos in SMPlayer. (See also How do I write a good answer? for general advice about what sorts of answers are considered most valuable on AskUbuntu.) Jan 29, 2017 at 14:49

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