Ever wanted to claw back some functionality that YouTube, in its wisdom, decided to stop providing? Or perhaps there's something that's always niggled you about a certain feature but you never had the time or inclination to look for a solution. We take a look at some of the best YouTube hacks from around the web so you don't have to. It isn't an exhaustive list by any means but we've been testing them out at ReelSEO Towers and a lot of them have come in reel handy.
Browser Tips and Tricks For YouTube
Silence All Your Open YouTube Tabs At The Touch Of One Button
Ever skipped through YouTube, opening up a score of different videos only to lose track of the one that's currently playing that annoying One Direction song really loudly? Luckily, there are a couple of extensions you can download that will silence every open YouTube tab at the press of a button. Bliss. This one's for Firefox users and this one is for Chrome fanatics.
Pre-load Entire YouTube Videos By Disabling Dash Playback
DASH or Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP, is the streaming protocol that YouTube use which preloads just a few seconds of video before playback. You'll need to enable developer mode in Chrome to install the extension but it's worth it if you want access to this useful bit of functionality. You can read more here.
Strip YouTube Down To The Bare Bones
YouTube Options is a Chrome Extension that allows you to strip the player right back by disabling pre-roll and in video ads as well as annotations and other distractions. It will also disable DASH as well as change your options for resolution size, looping and replay and keyboard or mouse controls.
Watch YouTube videos in the Firefox Sidebar
This handy little Firefox extension allows to to play your YouTube video in the sidebar. Granted, they'll be super small but it means you can carry on with browsing or doing actual work at the same time. The extension also disables pre-roll ads so you can jump right into the video itself.
Add an Automatic Pause Feature for YouTube Videos in Firefox
Another great little hack for Firefox users is 'YouTube Smart Pause' which automatically pauses the video you are watching if you switch to another open tab on your browser. If you always seem to have a bajillion YouTube tabs open like me then this is really useful.
Pull Through Lyrics For YouTube Videos on Chrome, Firefox and Opera
Yay, I love this one! I'm a sucker for lyrics and I've been happily bobbing along for years with the lyrics to a song open on one tab while YouTube is open on another. Yes, I know a lot of fan videos overlay the lyrics these days but 'YouTube Lyrics' brings it all together in one tab without, you know, the clip art.
YouTube Ratings - So You Don't Have To Waste Your Time
Looking for some info on YouTube and are presented with 50 videos about the same topic? Sort out the wheat from the chaff with this Chrome Extension which tells you how many likes and dislikes a video has received.
Add YouTube Videos To Wikipedia Articles
Chrome Extension WikiTube allows you to add related videos to the top of every Wikipedia page. Granted, these are for your benefit, you can't embed the videos within the page (unfortunately) but its handy little trick nevertheless, esp if you are a great deal of research and are trying to stay focused.
URL Tips And Tricks For YouTube
Altering the YouTube URL for a given video offers some great features that you might not be aware of. We list some of the best below.
Video Blocked In Your Country?
Change the URL from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqEP1evarV4 to http://www.youtube.com/v/IEIWdEDFlQY - This also opens the video in full screen mode.
Autoplay Your Embedded Video (If You Must)
Want the video you've just embedded to play automatically when someone lands on the page? Just add the following suffix to the Embed code: &autoplay=1.
YouTube Hacks: Misc
Create Playlists of Your Favourite Artists
This hack, from YouTube itself, allows you to discover new music and create playlists. YouTube Disco is excellent for background music if you can't be bothered to fire up Spotify or Pandora. I tested it by using Duran Duran and it returned 100 tracks in a playlist, which I'm currently listening to, fact fans.
Snakes Easter Egg
Want to play a classic game of 'Snakes' while browsing YouTube? Of course you do. Just pause and then resume the video you are watching, hold the left arrow key for at least 2 seconds while holding the UP arrow key at the same time. Note: this will only work via the site, not on embedded videos on other sites.
Supersize Your YouTube Screen
YouTube Leanback allows you to watch the videos of your choice in HD full screen quality - fantastic for those times you want to hook the laptop up to your TV screen and watch Epic Meal Time in all its glory.
Print Out A YouTube Video. No, seriously.
So, the team over at Labnol swear you can print out a YouTube video - the storyboard part of it anyway. They've created a little bookmarklet for readers that stitches all of the storyboard frames together.
Embed Video on a Web Page with Google Drive
You can embed almost any video from YouTube but if you haven't uploaded it to that site yet then you can still embed it on your webpage using Google Drive. Just upload, open and head to File > Embed this Video.
Force YouTube to Use The HTML5 Player
The player is not enabled for all videos but if you've had a taste of it and want to make it the default version than you can use a simple Greasemonkey script that forces YouTube to play videos back in that mode.
Please let us know your favourite tips and workarounds in the comments below!