My quest to watch YouTube without using YouTube got a little closer recently with the addition of feeds in Broadtail. This uses the YouTube RSS feed endpoint to list videos recently added to a channel or playlist.

Feed listing, in all it's 90's web style glory.

There are a bunch of channels that I watch regularly but I’m very hesitant to subscribe to them within YouTube itself (sorry YouTubers, but I choose not to smash that bell icon). I’m generally quite hesitant to give any signal to YouTube about my watching habits, feeding their machine learning models even more information about myself. But I do want to know when new videos are available, so that I can get them into Plex once they’re released. There is where feeds come in handy.

Recent videos of a feed.

Also improved is the display of video metadata when selecting a feed item or entering a video ID in the quick look bar. Previously this would immediately start a download of the video, but I prefer knowing more about the video first. These downloads aren’t free, and they usually take many hours to get. Better to know more about them before committing to it.

Video details page.

Incidentally, I think this mode of watching has a slight benefit. There are days when I spend the whole evening binging YouTube, not so much following the algorithm but looking at the various channels I’m interested in for videos that I haven’t seen yet. Waiting several hours for a video download feels a little more measured, and less likely to send me down the YouTube rabbit hole. I’m sure there will still be evenings when I do nothing else other than watch TV, but hopefully that’s more of a choice rather than an accident.

I think this is enough on Broadtail for the time being. It’s more or less functional for what I want to do with it. Time to move onto something else.