When was the last time you opened the YouTube homepage and thought, “Why yes, that is a video I would like to watch right now, thank you, YouTube!” Finding quality videos on YouTube has become a recurring joke these days, and let’s not even get started on the irrelevant recommendations that YouTube serves you.
But that’s why we need video curators. These are the people (or algorithms) that crawl the deep recesses of YouTube’s library to find videos worth watching so that you can spend more time watching and less time searching.
1. Cinetimes (Web): Netflix-Like UI to Browse Free Full-Length Movies on YouTube
When you see a full movie posted on YouTube, your first reaction is naturally to think this is piracy. While YouTube has its share of such problems, there is still a vast collection of free movies you can stream there legally. Unfortunately, these can be difficult to find. CineTimes collects such free streaming movies from YouTube, Vimeo, and Archive.org in a Netflix-like interface.
If you’ve used Netflix, Prime Video, or Hulu, you’ll feel at home here. You’ll see row upon row of movie posters and names, sorted by categories like Best Rated on IMDb, Most Popular, Latest Movies Added, Historical Films, Crime, Science Fiction, and Fantasy, etc. And these aren’t just odd indie films; it includes several famous movies, cult classics, and even blockbusters.
CineTimes largely collects three categories: movies, cartoons, and documentaries. You won’t find full-version TV series on this yet. Registered users can add favorite movies to their list to watch later. The movies play within the CineTimes site and contain basic information about each title.
While CineTimes is best for the Netflix-like interface that makes it easy to browse these movies, it’s not the only way to find full-length films on YouTube. There are some excellent YouTube channels to watch free shows and movies legally, spanning various genres.
2. Topic Play (Web): Discover the Best Educational Videos and Channels on YouTube
Glancing at the YouTube front page might make you think it’s a cesspool of mindless entertainment, but we all know by now that there are some intelligent and educational YouTube channels that do a great job of teaching while entertaining. Topic Play wants to cut out the mindless stuff on YouTube and give you just the best educational content.
Registered users can follow channels or creators to get updates on their new uploads and even save individual videos in your Play Later playlist. You’ll also get a personalized videos feed based on your subscriptions and interests.
3. Indocus (Web): Curated Indie Documentaries on YouTube
YouTube has become the go-to destination for independent documentary filmmakers to upload their creations so that a wide audience can view it. Indocus curates the best indie documentaries across various genres and even includes original YouTube creators rather than just filmmakers.
You can filter the list by categories such as money, self-help and psychology, crime, math and science, design and art, creating, personal stories, and history, and choose the video length between short, medium, and long. Each documentary card shows its name, uploader, thumbnail, and a brief description from the original video.
Through its Creator page, Indocus also helps you discover new YouTube Creators. You can filter them by the same aforementioned categories to find someone new to follow. It’s undoubtedly one of the best websites to discover free documentaries online.
4. The Awesomer Videos (Web): Handpicked Daily YouTube Videos Worth Watching
Till a few years ago, there were quite a few websites, blogs, and curators who handpicked the best YouTube videos to watch. Over time, most have faded away. But The Awesomer has persisted for over a decade, hunting down the must-watch YouTube videos that you don’t want to miss.
It’s a really pleasing interface to browse. Each card has the name and thumbnail of the video, along with a custom description written by the team at The Awesomer that fits within the card. No “Read More” tags here to figure out whether you need to watch it or not. The Awesomer adds several new videos daily, so you might want to check back regularly or subscribe to their newsletter.
However, as much as we love the site, its picks, and the interface, there is one drawback. You can’t browse The Awesomer’s videos by sub-categories or tags. Clicking the available tags takes you to sections other than videos, so that’s not really what you’re looking for. Still, with over 10 years worth of videos to discover, The Awesomer’s collection promises to give you plenty of YouTube videos worth watching.
5. Tuned.Rocks (Web): Endless Playlists of Best YouTube Videos
Sometimes you want to switch on YouTube on your browser and let it keep autoplaying the next video. But often, this leads to some horrendous videos in the middle of a few interesting ones. So the next time you’re in the mood for endless YouTube videos, head to Tuned.Rocks instead.
The web app offers curated playlists across various topics, which you can switch on and keep playing endlessly. Broadly, it has six categories: music, TV, sports, kids, news and documentaries, and vlogs. Within each, you’ll find multiple sub-categories; for example, documentaries lead to historical documentaries, historical concepts, politics, war documentaries, and more.
No, it doesn’t end here. Within each sub-category is a playlist that collects different videos about the topic, which will keep autoplaying. When the playlist finishes, it’ll move to the next playlist within that sub-category. With the vast collection of topics on Tuned.Rocks already, this is one of the best leanback YouTube experiences you’ll get.
6. Subtle TV (Web): Find Trending and Popular YouTube Videos on Reddit
There are thousands of YouTube videos shared on Reddit every day, and Subtle TV wants to help you find those that are trending or going viral. This website is a leanback experience for the most popular YouTube videos at the moment on online communities.
By default, the player launches in Trending videos, showing you the playlist in the left sidebar and playing the videos in the right, and it’s set to autoplay the next video. You can also choose categories (click “Trending” in the sidebar) such as Cute, Documentaries, Funny, Gaming, Music, News, Sports, and Beauty.
If you like the current video, you can check the sidebar to switch from the playlist to related videos (as you would see on YouTube), or read the comments on the original Reddit thread where the link was posted. The video’s original description can be read by expanding the video title in the sidebar. And if you’ve had enough of what the sidebar can do, you can collapse it for a full-screen, leanback YouTube experience.
7. Short of the Week (Web): Best Free Short Films on YouTube
Although we’ve featured it many times before, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Short of the Week. When it comes to collecting the best short films and short documentaries shared on YouTube (or other services like Vimeo), no website on the internet comes even close.
Short of the Week has hand-picked over 1,000 must-watch short films since 2007 across five main “channels” or categories: documentary, animation, sci-fi, comedy, and drama. You can further filter the choices by genre, topic, style, collections, or country.
Really, there’s nothing we can say that hasn’t already been said about one of the hundred best websites on the internet. Do yourself a favor and check it out if you haven’t already.
Look Beyond YouTube?
You want to watch a few free videos quickly on the internet, so you turn to YouTube and the curators above. That’s fair. But perhaps it’s time to look beyond YouTube for these brief video distractions.
Arguably, there is as much engaging content on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Moreover, there are plenty of free streaming services for movies or other professional video content. YouTube is a habit, and you might just find better things to watch if you change it up.
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