YouTube has replaced TV for me (and, how to use the Watch Later playlist)

I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube lately. More specifically, I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube on my TV lately. Here is how I do it but first, a bit of background on my personal YouTube habits.

For the first few years of YouTube the only videos that I would see were the viral or massively popular ones. Unless someone sent me a link directly to a YouTube video I probably wouldn’t have seen it. Then, a few years into YouTube’s massive growth, it seemed as though the utility of its video library exploded. I could search just about anything and find what I needed to know. Things like how to cook hard boiled eggs or how to properly brew my coffee using a Chemex or how to fix some random household item. Even incredibly obscure things that you’d never think you’d get a result for ended up popping up. Entire days worth of video were uploaded every minute and I’m sure that continues today. A few years later, out of the ooze of that same library, came personalities and talking heads and people putting seriously well-made films on YouTube. That’s when I started to dabble in subscribing to some channels.

But it didn’t stick.

Every person with a modern computer had a camera facing them all day and so some of them used that camera to record themselves talking about various topics. Every single day. But, for me, talking heads are boring. And while some of these YouTube personalities tried different editing techniques to make their discussions somewhat entertaining, I grew tired of them and so YouTube didn’t stick with my daily watching habits. The videos were yet good enough to replace my TV habits and the rest of what was on TV was taken off of YouTube since the major networks still didn’t have accounts.

Then vlogging came along. And vloggers, like the talking heads on YouTube, made videos about their day each and every day. Except, these people went outside and explored and did interesting things. They just happened to record themselves while they were doing it. As someone who was a pioneer in MeToday photos on Flickr and videos on Viddler (where I used to be employed) I really liked this type of content. And, as time has progressed so have the tools. Now, instead of people being limited to recording videos in front of their laptops, they can fly cameras above cities and mountains have stabilized handheld cameras that shoot video in 4K. So now these videos are amazing.

Watch a few of Ben Brown or Casey Neistat’s (who is about to burst past 5M subscribers this week) videos and you’ll see a quality of video that wasn’t even available to commercial videographers just a decade ago. Now anyone can make these types of videos if they learn the software.

Having a YouTube account allows you to upload videos. But it also lets you subscribe to as many channels as you’d like. Effectively building an interest graph for the types of videos you’d like to watch. Far better than TV even with a DVR. Brand-new content is available daily and you can watch any of it whenever you want on any device. My TV, Blu-ray player, Apple TV, mobile phone, tablet, and computer all have excellent YouTube apps on them. I can literally watch YouTube from anywhere and cable TV has yet to figure that out.

A neat feature that you may have overlooked is YouTube’s “watch later” playlist. You can build your own playlists for anything if you’d like, just like a music playlist. But YouTube gives you one that is private by default and you can’t delete it called “Watch Later” and this playlist is available on all of these same devices. So if you see a video you’d like to watch on your TV but you’re on your phone… you can just hit “watch later”. It works fantastically and I use it every single day. In fact, I’m subscribed to enough channels that I cannot watch every video that is published so I pick-and-choose and add videos to my watch later playlist using my phone and then watch them all on my TV.

Best of all, at least so far, is that my TV doesn’t show any YouTube ads. Not one. So I’ve been watching hundreds and hundreds of hours of video that I’m interested in without ever seeing an ad.

If you know of any channels I should be subscribed to please email me.

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