For those that crave more than mainstream can offer
Lots of people are “into technology” these days, but most people don’t really care about the technical details of the tech they espouse so much love for. There’s nothing wrong with that, you can love fast cars without knowing exactly how they work under the hood, but there will always be curious tech fans who do want that extra layer of knowledge.
In the past, you’d be hard pressed to find this sort of information. Buying niche books written in inaccessible jargon might have been your only option. Perhaps trawling early internet bulletin boards or forums could dredge up the tech knowledge you craved.
Either way, delving beyond the surface specs and marketing bumf was a quest worthy of Middle Earth! Today things couldn’t be more different. Media platforms like YouTube are perfect for putting niche audiences in touch with the content they want.
So if you crave a little more meat than mainstream tech channels can offer, why not make a reservation at one of these fine online establishments and dig into a nice order of dirty details, with a side of geek satisfaction.
If you’ve ever stared blankly at a list of graphical option menus and had no idea what any of it meant, then Digital Foundry is the channel for you. It’s affiliated with the venerable Eurogamer website and provides videos that dive deeply in technologies such as computer graphics, physics simulation, audio and all the hardware that makes it happen.
The site is mainly focused on video game graphics and hardware, but anyone who is interested in CG or computer technology in general will find a wealth of down-to-earth explanations of the most complex cutting-edge tech.
There’s also a good portion of videos with a retro focus, so if you ever wanted to know what was really going on under the hood of the old computers and consoles you grew up with, Digital Foundry has got you covered.
With over 800K subscribers at the time of writing, it feels wrong to refer to Techmoan as a “hidden gem” on YouTube. Still, Techmoan provides a unique mix of tech reviews that feature both new, retro, retro-new and just plain weird hardware. Techmoan looks at everything, which includes some incredibly obscure, yet utterly fascinating technologies.
Have you ever heard of VHD Videodisc? What about a pen with a calculator built in? How about a digital watch from the 70s? There are technological oddities here for every proclivity, all captured in videos with clear, affable explanations and great production values.
If you’re a fan of the golden age of home computing, the 8-Bit guy is an absolutely essential destination. The host is someone who really knows the minutiae of computer technology spanning from the 80s to the 2000s. 8-Bit Guy is basically retro tech porn, but you’ll learn so much while drooling over old beige boxes that it almost feels like a free course in computer history.
The channel has a knack for showcasing some of the most interesting and influential devices from those three (or so) decades, but the host also excels at coming up with some truly interesting and offbeat projects.
Such as a series of videos trying to use “obsolete” products, to see if they are still usable today. There are also a lot of educational restoration projects that also serve as a great way to see and understand the internals of computers.
Louis Rossman is a singular YouTube personality. Operating from his computer repair shop in New York, this straight-talking tech guru has never had an opinion he isn’t willing to share. Some people may find his personality somewhat brash, but there’s no arguing with the pure technical know-how nestled in that often foul-mouthed brain.
The production values on his videos are basically non-existent, with most of them either a long-form recording of Louis fixing fiendish electronic issues while talking us mere peasants through it, or the man himself sitting in a chair and talking at the camera.
It might not sound compelling on paper, but don’t be too quick to judge. No one else is going to give the general public the sort of inside, chip-level look at what lurks behind the shiny facade of the latest MacBook. Many of the Macs that come his way are apparent write-offs, but Louis will repair them even when Apple doesn’t want him to!
In some ways, Technology Connections is a little like Techmoan, but the focus here is more on the theory of how specific technologies work. Could you explain exactly how the inside of a VCR works?
Watch this video and you’ll feel like a newly-minted electronics engineer. The channel really breaks down how the technologies that surround us work and does a great job of explaining the amazing inner worlds of devices that are long since obsolete.
The production quality and editing is also a cut above most YouTube channels and wouldn’t have been out of place on broadcast TV in the 90s, which lends it a unique charm. If you ever looked at your TV or air-conditioner and thought “but how does it actually work?”, Technology Connections is the place for you.
Discovering Tech Diamonds on YouTube
While these five channels represent some of the best that the YouTube tech community has to offer, it’s just the tip of the iceberg! There doesn’t seem to be a topic so esoteric that someone hasn’t found an audience for it.
Professional YouTubers have reached the point where they can give network TV programs a run for their money, even when the channel is run by a single person! If you’ve got a favorite tech YouTuber that everyone needs to know about, sound off on social media and share the love. You can never watch too many good tech videos!