How to use VLC for YouTube streaming on low-end computers

Sometimes you want to watch a video on low-end hardware, like a Raspberry Pi or an old laptop. Browsing the web is already hard as it is on low-end hardware, but then it is made worse considering that Chromium/Firefox/Google Chrome does not have hardware acceleration on Linux! So for a lot of users, a good idea is to stream the videos using VLC which has access to this. For example, the CPU usage of the Raspberry Pi goes from 95% to 20% using this method. Unfornatuately, if we want to search for videos, we would still have to go back to the browser to search for them, which is a pain as loading the pages can still take a long time, and the browser still uses lots of resources to access it. My solution is to use a very bare bones web browser that is good enoungh to copy and paste a video link into VLC’s “network stream” option.

Lynx is a terminal based webbrowser, so it doesn’t load CSS, graphics or JavaScript or any of that garbage. This means that you can browse the web on really low resources (15MB of RAM!), but this is only practical for text heavy and simple websites. With this, we can browse YouTube videos really quickly to copy the link and paste into VLC. The downside here is that we would have to know what we want to watch since there is a lack of pictures, so this method is good to search for specefic videos we know about.

First install lynx using the package manager, on Ubuntu based distrobutions this is done with sudo apt install lynx. It may already be preinstalled. Go to and then search for the video. Then go to the title and use Shift + G, right click and copy the whole link. Then go to VLC and Media > Open Network Stream. Paste the link and enjoy the video!

Also keep in mind, you can also download the video using youtube-dl and open the file if it’s something you’re going to watch frequently.