How To: Control YouTube video buffering with YouTube Center Add-on

Control YouTube video buffering with YouTube Center Add-on

Google is constantly improvising YouTube’s video streaming experience by switching to optimized video formats and enhanced streaming technology. This enhancement in the YouTube experience may help some users but in the meanwhile also annoys quite a few users on slow Internet connections.

One of the things which annoys me and probably many out there about YouTube, is restricting from being able to buffer the video when it is paused. Yes, I hate this. I have a slower Internet connection and I always prefer quality content (at least 480p) but YouTube’s adoption of Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) does not allow me to buffer the video when it is paused. Due to this problem I end up watching low quality videos.

What is Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP or DASH?

By using the Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP, the media stream is broken down into many small segments. Every segment’s quality is regulated based on the user’s network speed so that there is a continuous stream of media received by the user without any interruptions. If you are watching a video in 480p and your Internet speed drops, a lower quality video segment is sent. This means that the video is adapting to the user’s network connection. As a result, when the video is paused, the next segment is not buffered unless the video is playing.

This YouTube video buffering problem can be solved by using the YouTube Center Add-on available for Chrome, Firefox, IE, Opera, and Safari. It not only allows you to solve the buffering problem on pause but also gives you handy tools to take control over YouTube videos.

First, lets install the YouTube Center add-on. I will walk you through the installation of YouTube Center in Chrome since the extension is not available in the Chrome Web Store. As for Firefox and Safari, it is pretty straightforward and similar to installing any other extension. For installing the extension for IE, follow the tips from the creators.

Installing YouTube Center in Chrome:

  • Download YouTube Center from GitHub. It will be a .crx file. You need to ignore any compatibility messages popped by the browser and download it anyway.
  • Open the Extensions Tab in Chrome (Settings > Extensions).
  • Check the Developer Mode option in the top right corner of the Extensions tab.
  • Drag and Drop the .crx file you just downloaded from GitHub into the Extension tab and your are done. After the extension is installed, you can uncheck the Developer Mode option.

To change the settings of YouTube Center, go to YouTube.com and click the gear icon which appears next to the Sign in button.

Below are the list of questions you might have encountered and YouTube Center has answers to all of them.

How to buffer YouTube videos when paused?

– Go to the Player menu in the YouTube Center settings and uncheck the DASH playback option. It is that simple. Once you are done, you can buffer the whole video even when it is paused.

YouTube-Center-Settings-DASH-Playback-Buffering

How to disable auto playing of YouTube videos?

– You can prevent YouTube videos from auto playing when the page is loaded by checking the “Prevent auto-play” option under Auto Play tab in the Player menu. You can also disable the auto buffering of videos on page load by checking the “Prevent auto-buffering” option present under the same tab.

How to download videos from YouTube?

– Yes, we all want to download the videos we watch on YouTube at some point in time. YouTube Center allows you to download videos in different resolutions. Apart from downloading videos it also has an option to download only the audio from the video. The download button will appear below the uploader info, by default. If it is not showing up, you can enable it by checking the Enable download option under the Placement tab in the UI menu of YouTube Center settings.

These are the main things any YouTube user would want to have control over. There are also other things to control like re-sizing the player, turning on/off lights, thumbnail preview of the video, ratings of a video displayed on the thumbnail and many other useful YouTube settings.

Now, enjoy high quality video even on slower connections. YouTube video buffering hassle free. Of course you have to pause it and finish your small chores before you get back to the video. This is far better than being forced to watch low quality video so that you have a continuous playback.

Update: We tested a few YouTube videos, some videos buffer when they are paused, like expected, but some just do not. Well, it is better than none of the videos buffering when paused.

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