How To Play YouTube Videos on Alexa Devices: A Complete 2000+ Word Guide

Have you ever wanted to play your favorite YouTube videos on your Alexa devices? Thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, you can easily listen to YouTube audio on Amazon Echo and Echo Dot speakers. And if you have an Echo Show, you can even watch the videos directly on the device itself!

In this comprehensive 2000+ word guide, I‘ll provide expert-level instructions to help you seamlessly play YouTube on any Alexa device. Here’s what I’ll cover:

  • Pairing Bluetooth on an Echo or Echo Dot to play YouTube video audio
  • Watching YouTube videos directly on an Echo Show
  • Comparing YouTube vs Amazon Music streaming capabilities
  • Troubleshooting advice for optimal YouTube functionality
  • Answers to frequently asked questions about playing YouTube on Alexa

Let’s get started!

Overview: Playing YouTube Videos on Alexa Speakers

While Amazon and Google are competitors in the smart home space, playing YouTube videos on Alexa devices is absolutely possible with just a little setup. Here‘s a quick summary of what you can do:

On Amazon Echo or Echo Dot:

  • Pair your smartphone via Bluetooth
  • Play YouTube videos from your phone and listen to the audio through the Echo speaker

On Amazon Echo Show:

  • Update to the latest software
  • Open the YouTube website to search and play videos
  • Stream the video and audio directly on the Echo Show‘s screen

Next I’ll provide specific step-by-step instructions to help you get YouTube streaming on your Alexa gadgets right away.

Pairing Your Phone to an Amazon Echo via Bluetooth

The key to playing YouTube videos on a screen-less Amazon Echo or Echo Dot is to connect it to your smartphone via Bluetooth. This allows you to play the video from your phone while streaming just the audio out through your Alexa speaker.

Complete the 3 steps below to get your devices paired:

1. Initiate Pairing Mode on The Echo

First, you’ll put your Echo device into discoverable mode to allow your phone to find it for pairing.

You can do this either by:

  • Using Your Voice: Say "Alexa, pair Bluetooth"
  • Through Alexa App: Go into Echo‘s Settings > Add Bluetooth Device

I recommend using the voice command since it’s quick and easy hands-free access.

Once initiated on the Echo, Bluetooth pairing mode will remain active for two minutes. So you need to complete the next steps on your phone before time runs out.

Pro Tip: If the 2-minute timer runs out before pairing is complete, just re-activate pairing mode on your Echo and try again!

2. Open Bluetooth Settings on Your Smartphone

Now on your smartphone, open your Bluetooth settings.

The steps to access this connections menu vary slightly between iPhones and Android devices:

On an iPhoneOn an Android Phone
1. Open the Settings app
2. Tap "Bluetooth"
1. Open your Settings

2. Tap "Connected Devices" > "Connection Preferences" > "Bluetooth"

Once you access this Bluetooth menu, your phone will automatically scan for and display nearby available devices under “Other Devices” or “Available Devices”.

3. Select Your Echo Device Name to Pair

You should now see your Echo device pop up in this list of available devices. Tap on the name (likely “Echo” or "Echo Dot") to connect it.

iPhone Alexa pairing

On both iPhones and Androids during this linking process, you may get a prompt asking to access contacts or view call history. You can select Deny since this access is completely unnecessary for playing YouTube audio.

And that’s it! With just those three quick steps to pair via Bluetooth, your smartphone and Echo speaker are now wirelessly connected.

Troubleshooting Tips For Bluetooth Pairing

If you run into any hiccups getting your phone paired successfully, here is some helpful troubleshooting advice:

  • Ensure Bluetooth is enabled on both your phone and the Echo device first
  • Reboot both gadgets completely if they struggle seeing each other‘s Bluetooth signal
  • You may need to re-initiate pairing mode on the Echo if the 2-minute timer runs out
  • If Echo isn‘t visible on phone, check for OS or Alexa app updates on your smartphone

Okay, with Bluetooth pairing complete – let’s look at actually using this wireless connection to play YouTube videos on your Alexa devices!

How to Play YouTube Videos on An Amazon Echo

With your phone now paired to your Echo or Echo Dot via Bluetooth, playing audio from YouTube videos through the Alexa speaker is simple.

Just follow these three steps:

  1. Verify Bluetooth is activated on both phone and Echo, showing as Connected in settings
  2. Open the YouTube app (or website) on your phone
  3. Play any video and the audio streams through your Echo!

If the audio volume seems low at first, try turning up the volume levels on both your smartphone and on the Echo speaker itself.

The Echo essentially acts as an external Bluetooth speaker, wirelessly receiving the audio stream from YouTube videos playing on your phone.

Pro Tip: Connect multiple household phones to your Echo for easy personalization and switching between YouTube playlists!

Audio Quality Considerations

Since Bluetooth relies on wireless connectivity, streaming YouTube audio to your Echo introduces potential for some audio lag or quality degradation.

The actual audio resolution will depend on your phone’s Bluetooth transmitter, but is unlikely to exceed 320kbps bitrate. This is lower than direct WiFi streaming which can transmit lossless audio upwards of 1400kbps.

So while convenient for casual listening, pairing over Bluetooth limits the maximum YouTube audio quality compared streaming natively on your phone or through a wired connection.

Keeping YouTube Playback Active

One quirk you may notice is YouTube pausing when your phone screen turns off during Echo playback. This is due to default YouTube behavior suspending videos during black screen.

Luckily there are couple useful workarounds:

  • Keep your phone screen set to never sleep
  • Use a third party app to keep screen on
  • Pay for YouTube Premium to enable background playback

And remember you can always resume quickly if needed by turning on your phone screen and hitting play!

Overall the ability to broadcast YouTube audio seamlessly from your phone to Echo gadgets via Bluetooth pairing opens up tons of content possibilities – with just a little set up!

Next let’s explore watching full YouTube videos with video directly on your Echo Show smart display.

Watching YouTube Videos on The Amazon Echo Show

The Echo Show includes an interactive touchscreen that enables watching full YouTube videos – both audio AND video – right on the device itself.

This works via the built-in Silk browser accessing YouTube‘s mobile website, with just a few quick steps to get streaming:

Update Your Echo Show

For the best YouTube experience, you’ll want to first confirm your Echo Show is updated with the latest software:

  1. In Device Options > Software Updates
  2. Install any available updates

Recent versions of the Echo Show system software include key optimizations for playing YouTube videos smoothly.

Open YouTube and Play Videos

With your device up-to-date, opening YouTube is super simple. Just say:

“Alexa, open YouTube”

And the YouTube site will load directly on your Echo Show screen!

You can immediately search for videos, browse recommendations, and tap to play anything you want. Videos open full-screen automatically for the best viewing experience.

YouTube functionality works similar to YouTube mobile web on a tablet, just entirely hands-free with Alexa managing the interface.

Use Alexa Voice Commands

In addition to touch controls, your Echo Show supports extensive voice commands for seamless hands-free YouTube access:

“Alexa, play cat videos on YouTube”

Alexa will open the YouTube website if needed, search for that phrase, cue up relevant videos, and begin playing them automatically on your screen!

She’ll continuously pull up additional videos based on your search query to create a personalized playlist.

This natural language processing for YouTube queues makes Echo Show perfect for hands-free video binging while cooking, cleaning, or multi-tasking!

How Do YouTube and Amazon Music Compare on Alexa Devices?

When considering playing YouTube videos versus streaming Amazon Music, each music service has pros and cons:

Amazon MusicYouTube

💚 Full Alexa voice control: Queue songs hands-free

💚 Higher bitrate audio: Streams up to 1411kbps

💚 Works screen-off: Plays continuously

💛 More song selection: 500+ hours uploaded every minute

💛 Personal recommendations: Based on your YouTube engagement

💛 Music videos & concerts: Unique video content

Which Is Better for Alexa Devices?

Choose YouTube if you want to access a vast range of video content personalized to your preferences. This allows you to enjoy music videos, concerts, niche creators, and video playlists queued just for you.

Use Amazon Music for an Alexa-optimized, screen-free background listening experience focused on curated songs, stations, and albums rather than video footage.

Fortunately you can alternate seamlessly on the same device! Use my above guides to get both music services streaming.

Summary: How to Play YouTube on Alexa Devices

I hope this 2000+ word guide provided you a complete overview of multiple methods for playing YouTube videos on Amazon Alexa devices!

To quickly recap, you can now:

  • Listen to YouTube audio on an Amazon Echo by pairing your smartphone via Bluetooth
  • Watch full YouTube videos (and queue new ones via voice!) using the Echo Show’s on-device Silk browser access and touch display
  • Make informed choices between streaming YouTube and Amazon Music based on video needs versus hands-free playback

From Bluetooth pairing instructions to troubleshooting advice and comparisons, use this as your comprehensive resource for getting the most out of YouTube and music streaming on any of your Alexa gadgets.

Got additional questions on playing videos on your Echo? Check out the FAQ below with answers to the most common reader questions.

Frequently Asked Questions About YouTube on Alexa

Beyond what I covered so far about the basics of watching and listening to YouTube videos on Alexa devices, here are helpful answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

How can I stop videos or music from auto-playing on my Echo Show or paired Echo speaker?

When you want to completely stop any streaming media, try these voice commands:

  • “Alexa, close Silk” or “Alexa, close Firefox” to quit browser with videos playing on an Echo Show screen
  • “Alexa, disconnect Bluetooth” to sever the wireless pairing between a phone and an Echo/Dot speaker

You can also manually pause the video before closing the browsing session or disconnecting Bluetooth to avoid automatically loading the next video.

Can parents block YouTube access on Alexa completely to prevent kids from accessing videos?

If your child uses a paired iPhone or iPad to control your Echo speaker, enable Apple’s parental controls to limit allowed apps and websites:

Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions

You can block access at the device level.

However, there are no native Alexa parental control options for YouTube unless you want to disable ALL browser web functions.

Do alternatives like Chromecast or Fire Stick work better than Bluetooth pairing for playing YouTube on Alexa speakers?

Unfortunately there currently aren’t simple alternatives for wirelessly streaming YouTube directly from your phone or tablet to an Echo, Dot, or similar Alexa smart speaker without Bluetooth pairing.

Solutions like Chromecast require an external screen to cast the video to, rather than just audio to an Alexa speaker. And Fire TV Stick needs to be connected directly to a TV as well.

So for now, Bluetooth remains the best wireless option for throwing YouTube audio to your Alexa devices!

Hopefully these answers address some of the most common troubleshooting concerns and use cases around managing YouTube and video playback on Alexa gadgets.

Let me know if you have any other questions!

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