Best way to consume YouTube without the algorithmic results?
I'd love to get a passable alternative interface to YouTube that just shows me what I'm subscribed to, a search bar, and nothing else. Does this exist as a userscript or alternate site?
My current solution is to have my YouTube bookmark go directly to my subscriptions listing. I also have my ad blocker cut out the recommendations feed on the side. It works okay but maybe there's a better solution out there.
This is the ad block rule:
www.youtube.com##.ytd-watch-next-secondary-results-renderer www.youtube.com##.ytd-guide-entry-renderer[title=Explore] www.youtube.com##.ytd-guide-entry-renderer[title=Home]
For android there is NewPipe. For desktop, I don't know any sites.
There's a Chrome plugin called ImprovedTube that allows me to do exactly what you are asking for. You can change your landing page, disable certain elements, enforce player sizes, hide or disable page sections like comments, the list goes on. It's pretty neat!
For whole website frontends, I've seen a few on GitHub. Famously, there was a really clean website frontend called Toogles. The website is still up, but it's functionality was killed off last year when Google started cracking down on API usage.
Invidious takes a different approach to scraping Youtube. It's something you host yourself, but somebody is kindly providing an instance here if you's like to try it.
ViewTube is a competing project. You can try out the frontend here.
Piped has a clean UI and a focus on privacy. Demo site
Similar to these is Yotter but it differs by adding Twitter integration, so maybe overkill for what you want.
I use Freetube
I personally subscribe to YouTube channels through RSS (Miniflux and Nextcloud News are two readers I know of that automatically convert channel URLs to RSS URLs) and watch them through mpv. Recommendations don't appear unless I want them to and it doesn't take much of my system resources that could be gone to other stuff.
I also have a script to read and convert YouTube/Invidious links in my clipboard and prompt me to open them in MPV, saving me the hassle of opening a command line and whatnot.
If your reader doesn't support converting channel URLs to RSS feeds, here's how:
Get the channel id:
UCl2mFZoRqjw_ELax4Yisf6wpart is the channel ID)
channel:UCl2mFZoRqjw_ELax4Yisf6w, which might be helpful if the channel is using a custom YouTube URL or something
Paste it in this special URL
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UCl2mFZoRqjw_ELax4Yisf6w(replace my given channel ID)
The search bar part can be done through various Invidious instances. In Firefox you can right click the search bar on your favorite instance and "Add keyword for this search" to make it easier for you to get at it. (Type your keyword on your URL bar and Firefox will automatically start searching there)
Your best bet would probably be something like Minitube if you are on Desktop. Newpipe might work for you on mobile, and an Invidious instance would probably work best for searching on the web.
While I can't help you find a solution, I figured I should post some nuances I've noticed in youtube that you might not have ran into before.
There is a soft-cap of 1k subscriptions on the native youtube UI, and even the 'export your subscriptions' list only lists a seemingly random thousand. Some channels that I'm subscribed to, like 'applied science' will display correctly on their channel yet wont show up on any page other than https://www.youtube.com/feed/channels. I think it's because that's the only place where the subs are paginated? either way after you hold 'end' and get to the bottom you can export that list (someone on tildes wrote a script i can find later).
The second tidbit is that the "relevant" search filter option is really counter intuitive sometimes. If you are struggling to find what you you are looking for, try switching to upload date or view count. If you suddenly start getting 0 views then you know you are MILES off the mark. Searching for "electric skateboard 175mm" gets you a vaguely related search result page since it's actually just dropping the last search term without telling you. Then when you click another filter option it goes to 1 result because it was actually a bad search term, but interestingly enough when you click back to the 'relevant' filter it shows a different ( and better??) page of generic results than if you didn't switch in the first place..
The "relevant" filter will not only inject a bunch of 'algo' results, but i've noticed for some search terms like "electric skateboard" the list will be broken up into dozens of little segments of varying relevance. It goes normal results>learn while you're at home>people also watched> people also searched > then back to normal results for the rest of the infinite scroll. So I've been going out of my way to use the other filter options whenever looking for new content since you're more likely to get what you asked for.
This became a lowkey ramble so I apologise if this is just noise with regards to the thread, it was somewhat cathartic to write for whatever reason though haha
I've almost entirely stopped going to YouTube. If I want to watch a video, I find the link then use youtube-dl to download it and watch it without every opening the YouTube website. I'm not sure if that would work for your purposes, but wanted to put it out there in case it was helpful.
I used an RSS feed client (quiterss) for a while to follow youtube channels I like. It worked well.
I subscribe to the RSS feeds for channels through Invidious and then watch them ad free through that. It's a little patchy though as instances go up and down so sometimes I have to go through and move all my subscriptions around but I find the user experience is still better than Youtube's
I block YouTube from accessing cookies with uMatrix. This means my homepage is the junk you see when signed out, but it's the same, very small amount of junk.