Since I maintain the Computer Wargames sub-reddit 1, I monitor a lot of content via RSS using Newsblur 2 as well as keep tabs on a lot of Youtube channels via subscriptions. However, since I monitor SO MANY channels, YouTube’s default interface is slow and unwieldy to do this content devouring on a regular basis. So I miss stuff.
I’ve been hankering after a way to process the channel subscriptions using a relatively fast piece of desktop software. But a quick Google search on “YouTube Desktop Software” gives rise to a lot of links to YouTube downloaders, or obscure YouTube music media players. Since I rely on RSS for my news needs for /r/computerwargames 1 I thought, there’s got to be a way to use a desktop RSS feed reader to go through my YouTube subscriptions.
So I started the quest, for an easier life.
Export YouTube Subscriptions to OPML file.
I found this nugget of info.
A way to export your YouTube subscriptions as an OPML file. 3
The Manage Subscriptions page is a little hidden, like all things Google nowadays.. layer the content to the lowest common denominator.
But you can get to it direct, if you’re logged in to YouTube with your Google account, by clicking on the following link 4
Scroll to the bottom of the Subscription Manager page, and click the Export OPML file button, and save the file locally.
RSS Feed Reader
Now we need an RSS Feed Reader to load the OPML file into. One that supports video content in the feed.
On Windows go with FeedDemon 5.
It’s been discontinued since 2013, but is now Freeware. Seems to work ok on Windows 10.
On Linux, I went with QuiteRSS 6
In both pieces of software, you can load the OPML file and it will populate the feed list with your YouTube subscriptions. Set the viewing panels as you feel comfortable, and finally you have a way of checking the feeds, and viewing the videos outside of YouTube web site.
Here’s my setup in QuiteRSS for quick viewing, click the feed, double click the entry, video loads up in the viewing panel and plays.
I find this method much easier to use to keep tabs on new videos. Obviously if I subscribe to extra channels in YouTube itself, I’ll need to get hold of the RSS feed for the subcribed channel and add it to the list.
Hope this is useful for someone out there as content hungry as I am.
NOTE: I subsequently ditched monthly subscription based Newsblur 2 as my main RSS feed reader in favour of using QuiteRSS for everything, site news content AND youtube video subscriptions.
Alternative - FREETUBE
With the release of FREETUBE 7, you can now import your OPML subscriptions, and watch YT videos in a standalone desktop client.
- Watch videos without ads
- Make API calls through the Tor network
- Subscribe to channels without an account
- Local subscriptions, history, and saved videos
- Export & import subscriptions
- Open videos from your browser directly into FreeTube (with extension)
- Mini Player
- Light / dark theme
Client seems to work ok, if a little slow, with a large OPML list of subscriptions. But if you monitor only a select few, and you are concerned with your privacy, then its probably worth exploring FREETUBE (perhaps with Tor integration).