Have you ever wondered why there’s no native OSX application published by YouTube, since there are versions not only for iOS, but for other mobile operating systems as well? Even though it sounds like a good idea, the truth is that you won’t see this in the future since YouTube is a full-featured online community which uses a lot of very specific scripts, so it would be a very hard and complicated to make a native full-featured desktop app. This is not preventing 3rd party developers from trying to offer their own versions of YouTube desktop players, where some of those can be much more useful that you can assume. We’ve reviewed several of these applications in the past, and while it seemed that YouTube-powered OSX apps weren’t that popular as before, we just received the newest addition to this app category.
The application we’re going to talk about in this article is called Tuba. It’s priced at $2, and could be purchased using the Mac App Store. It basically allows you to use YouTube and its many features by directly accessing the API of this video service. This also means that videos won’t use Flash and they won’t display those annoying ads, so I assume that many people will be interested in this application. Still, it is very difficult task to attract YouTube users from its official website, so we were very interested to see how successful this application is in that particular aspect.
Once you open Tuba for the first time you’ll be greeted with a clean and familiar interface. On the left you’ll find several video sources like Popular, Subscriptions, Topics, and Playlist. These are the options that you would normally get when you visit YouTube.com. You can sign-in and continue watching your own playlists and other videos that you’ve saved for later.
Even though it does bring somewhat cleaner and more intuitive interface than other similar applications, Tuba lacks customization and sometimes even makes it harder to get around since it won’t save menu preferences for example. This means that if you make any new arrangements with Tuba’s sidebar, these changes won’t be permanently saved.
When it comes to watching videos, this app will always try to show you the best possible quality, which is usually 1080p or 720p. For some strange reason it doesn’t support 480p, but it supports lower resolution of 360p. This kind of confusion is also present in many other parts of Tuba. For example, you’ll be able to see and add a new comment, but you won’t be able to reply, like/dislike, or flag a specific comment. And those like/dislike buttons are not even present when it comes to an actual video you’re interested in watching. And probably one of the biggest downsides is that Tuba can’t show VEVO content because it automatically blocks ads, which means that you won’t be able to access such videos (which can be a large portion of the currently most popular videos).
Tuba does have some benefits and it can be useful if you simply like watching videos without any social interaction. But when it comes to anything more advanced like sharing, fine-tuning preferences, and discussing with others, this app simply can’t support that.