YouTube is the biggest repository of videos on the Internet, and sometimes it can get a little overwhelming. Sure, having over one-billion videos to choose from is a luxury people in the 90s would’ve dreamt of, but the excesses of “Recommended” videos, clickbait, and other junk that you don’t care to see can make it tiring. Thankfully, there are alternatives.
The dominance of the YouTube-Google machine has meant that a lot of alternatives have now gone out of business, but a few sites continue to thrive. Here are our picks.
1. Metacafe – For Quick Clips
At a glance, Metacafe looks a lot like YouTube but themed in blue instead of red. Look closer, however, and you notice a key difference: every video on Metacafe is under ninety seconds long. Yes, Metacafe is pretty much Twitter to YouTube’s Facebook (which is probably the most millennial sentence you’ll ever hear). Admittedly, it’s less popular, but if you’re procrastinating and want to check out some bite-sized clips of weirdness such as tap water freezing instantly as it pours into a sink, then check it out. It’s strangely compelling.
2. Twitch.TV – For Gamers
“But Twitch is just full of annoying kids live-streaming and screaming down microphones!” I hear you cry. Well yes, partly it is, but it also has plenty of good unadulterated footage of just about every game you can imagine uploaded to its vast library. It’s so popular that non-gaming folks are also getting involved, as you can see in the image showing the Red Bull Soapbox Race Marathon.
It’s not just livestreams of some of the most hardcore gamers on the planet (which can also be a treat to watch) but a great place to watch no-commentary footage of your favorite titles. Alternatively, it’s the perfect place to go if a game’s just come out, and you want to see it in action before committing.
3. DailyMotion – Closest YouTube Equivalent
DailyMotion doesn’t do much that YouTube doesn’t, but it’s damn good at the things it does do. Yes, YouTube has more videos, but the 100-million plus of DailyMotion aren’t to be scoffed at, and the latter is also renowned for having much better quality of actual videos (no potato-phone footage or 240p quality here).
Also, are the strict copyright protections on YouTube getting you down? The DailyMotion site owners tend to be more relaxed on that front, so you’re less likely to get the static copyright-infringement screen of death.
4. Vimeo – The Thinking Person’s YouTube
The thinking person’s video site, Vimeo is smaller than YouTube and more sensible. You won’t find silly animal videos and kids taking selfies of themselves slapping themselves repeatedly around the face or something. You’ll find more classy content like short films from festivals, documentaries, and well-shot, well-constructed videos from people who clearly know what they’re doing.
The comments reflect the content, and you’re more likely to find actual discussions surrounding videos rather than the cesspit of trolling and abuse that you find on YouTube, which is nice.
5. Zippcast – Old-School Video Archive
Keeping things simple, Zippcast looks like kind of what YouTube looked like ten years ago (probably – I don’t actually remember). It’s laid out more like a library database than a super-slick modern site, but that’s part of its charm, and it’s nice and easy to navigate as a result. Zippcast is particularly good for old stuff – old black-and-white movies, montages of old Nintendo commercials, and 1950s Burlesque videos, among other things.
That’s not to say that Zippcast doesn’t have its share of poppy listicle videos with titles like “Most Awkward Sex Scenes in Movies,” so there’s that side to it too. The community, also, is generally less vocal and antagonistic than the YouTube lot.
6. uStream – Sophisticated Streaming
YouTube has its share of live-streaming stuff, but it can be hard to discover amid all the standard uploaded videos. Enter uStream, a site dedicated entirely to high-quality streaming and videos from respectable partners like NASA, Sony, and various zoos and museums.
Again, you won’t find any tacky videos here, just solid and often mesmerising footage of things like a livestream from the International Space Station or the inside of a giant shark tank at an aquarium. Now that we mention it, it’s a perfect site to set up a livestream in the background while you crack on with something else.
See, there’s more to life than YouTube, but if you’re dead-set on making the most out of Google’s video behemoth, then take control over it with our guides on how to listen to music on YouTube in the background on Android and how to avoid dodgy videos on YouTube. Happy viewing!