1. Watch in HD all the time
YouTube is normally quite adept at prescribing which resolution you can view your videos. And yet connection discrepancies might mean you’re not offered all possible formats, like HD. Unlock these by adding a couple of secret codes to the end of a video URL. Add “&fmt=18” to get stereo sounds and 480 x 270 resolution, or “&fmt=22” to get 1280 x 720 resolution.
2. Watch in UHD
Still trying to justify to your spouse why you bought a 4K TV last Christmas? Help is at hand: YouTube and other websites are now offering a huge amount of Ultra High Definition videos at 4K resolution – that’s four times more resolution than 1080p, the previous gold standard for consumer displays. The YouTube library is constantly growing, while an updating list of the best on Vimeo etc can be found here (including some great videos shot aboard the ISS). But in June, YouTube also debuted the world’s first 8K video, watch via link below.
Entitled Ghost Towns, it was shot on an RED Epic Dragon camera, and can be viewed at resolutions up to 4320p. But be warned: unless you have an 4k or 8K monitor/TV, a powerful computer and fat internet connection, the whole thing is going to creak and shudder with the effort. Maybe start saving for a new TV for this Christmas?
3. Watch 360º TV
For the complete viewing experience, YouTube launched 360º video support back March – videos where you can rotate the viewpoint yourself. To watch it on a computer you’ll need the Chrome internet browser, allowing you to steer the point-of-view with your mouse. But far more immersive is watching it on your phone via the YouTube Android or iOS app. Where, by tilting and swiveling the screen, you can get whole new perspectives on everything from the universe to the bottom of the sea to Icelandic pop pixie Björk.
Predictably, in July YouTube allowed 360º adverts too, with Nike’s Neymar video probably the least offensive so far. And if you can get your hands on a pair of Google’s cheap Cardboard VR goggles, all the better.
4. Download YouTube videos for keeps
Desperate to record Dramatic Chipmunk for posterity in case the internet goes down? Most simply of all, you can just add “ss” between “www.” and “youtube” to download the video you’re watching – no download manager required. Alternatively, the website Keepvid allows you to download videos from over 300 sites – anything from TED talks to FunnyOrDie sketches. While 4K Video Downloader does exactly what it says on the tin: enabling downloads of hi-res (and therefore harddrive-filling) video files.
5. VJ your party
Oft overlooked in the age of Spotify, YouTube’s music content has receded of late – especially since it retired its Disco music-exploring tool in 2014. But there are other options for the budding home Pete Tong. With an easy drag-and-drop system, DragonTape allows you to remix YouTube videos and share your seamless mixtape with friends. While the adventurous can try YouTube Doubler – a “mashup helper” that allows you to have fun mashing together two patently unsuitable videos. And if you’re hosting a singalong? Try “YouTube Lyrics” for Chrome, Opera or Firefox – an extension that automatically overlays the lyrics to anything you’re playing. For better or worse.
6. Get rid of the clutter
For fans of subhuman idiocy and ferocious bigotry, the YouTube comment boards are the web’s promised land. Everyone else, however, might want to try Quietube, a browser bookmarklet that offers a plain white or plain black background to view vids on – free of distractions like the comment boards or the column of suggested videos on the right. Simply install and then hit the “quietube” button after you press play on any YouTube video for peace and troll-free quiet.
And if your YouTube viewing is taking up too much screen real-estate, try Side Watch – a handy Firefox extension that disables ads then plays a smaller version of your video in the browser’s sidebar. Firefox users can also use YouTube Smart Pause to automatically pause the video you’re watching when you switch tabs on your browser – invaluable for those impromptu inspections by your boss/spouse. While Chrome users get Floating YouTube – an extension which plays your video in a separate moveable window, allowing you to theoretically work at the same ti… ok, as if.
7. Edit, then print out, a YouTube Video
A well-kept secret – but YouTube has a pretty respectable online video editor that lets you trim, splice, enhance, and add effects and audio tracks to your videos. And if you’re really interested in film-making (or merely don’t like trees), then the team over at Labnol have the tool for you – a little bookmarklet that stitches any video into a series of storyboard frames, and then allows you to print it out.
8. Lean back and watch
If you’ve lost your computer mouse – or merely want a more relaxed, fullscreen viewing experience – then head to youtube.com/leanback, where you can sigh, recline and use your keyboard to navigate. Now, you can jump back and forth five seconds with the Left and Right arrow; use Home / End to jump to the beginning / last seconds; pause or play with the Spacebar; and hit the letter T to get someone to bring you a nice cup of tea. NB the latter may not always work.
9. Chat about your videos with friends
Having a heated debate about what, definitely, is the best cat Vine collection? SynchTube enables up to 50 people to watch synchronized YouTube videos with a chat window alongside for all your instant banter needs. Just enter the video(s) you want to watch and then share the URL with your group – or your cat Vine-loving partner when they’re away on business.
10. Watch full movies – for free
If you – or your credit card – refuse to take out an account on Netflix or Amazon Instant, you can access full-length movies in HD via Youtube as well. Their little-known video-on-demand service, for example, offers new(ish) releases for around £10 – you can access it here. But there are hundreds of movies available for free as well, some uploaded perfectly legally. We’ve picked the best of them here.
11. Hunt the Easter Eggs
Buried deep in the YouTube source code is many a hidden treat or surprise effect – all unlocked via a secret code. For example:
* Search for “Use the force Luke” – and you can move the videos around the screen with the force of your mind. Or, well, the mouse pointer.
* Search for “Beam me up Scotty”, and your search results will appear before you, shimmering as if transported there by portly fake Scot James Doohan himself.
* Search for “doge meme”, and any text appears in multicolored Comic Sans broken English, like the infamous Japanese 2013 internet craze. Excite! Etc.
* Search for “do the Harlem Shake” and your results will start jumping around all over the page, to the strains of the 2013 viral video hit.
* If your video is taking a while to load and you find yourself staring at YouTube’s buffering wheel, relieve the boredom by pressing the left arrow on your keyboard. A primitive arcade-style Snake Game will pop up for you to play.
Source – The Telegraph