Elias Pelcastre

Play YouTube videos in the background with Stream for Android

YouTube Red lets you among other things play videos in the background for a monthly subscription. Looking for free alternatives, I ran into Stream, a cool app that replicates one of Red’s main features.

Stream, available for Android, uses YouTube as a repository to bring you millions of videos that you can listen to or watch with a neat player interface. You will find playlists divided into genres and radio, as well as a search bar to type in a particular artist or song.

The best thing about Stream is its “picture in picture,” which if you have used iOS 9 know that it enables you to watch videos in the background and move them around to one of the screen´s four corners. That means that you can let a video play in the back and keep browsing or Facebooking, to name a few examples.

Stream does have a lock screen feature that puts the screen black and brings a set of playback controls, but due to YouTube restrictions, content can´t play with the phone in sleeping mode. (I guess to make Red more appealing.)

The app comes with ads, but you can get rid of them by making an in-app purchase. Popups get in your face, and the dollar fee won´t eliminate YouTube native commercials – so I advise you keep the free version of Stream and tune them out.

Bear in mind that using Stream with the app lock screen has an impact on your phone´s battery life. So try not to leave it on. Stream won´t replace Red, but it is a YouTube background player you´ve got to try in case you´re in for a temporary substitute – that while Google´s video service gets a global launch.

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