Bored of Buffering? Tips for Watching YouTube Videos on a Slow Internet Connection
You have a slow Internet connection, yet you love watching videos. Maybe you’re away from home, or you just don’t have access to free wi-fi. The good news is that proper planning in advance can allow you to watch hours of cool videos without having to pay for the extra bandwidth.
Change The Video Quality
You can always change the video quality of the video you’re watching. This isn’t too hard and is probably the first thing you should try. To do this, locate the video quality button in the lower right-hand corner of the video. The quality button is actually a “settings” button and looks like a little gear.
Click this gear and you should see an option to change the video quality. You can lower it to something like 240p or 360p and it should play on slower connections.
Use Old-School Buffering
Old-school buffering has been thrown out by Google, in an attempt to improve the user experience. You’ll notice that if you pause your video, the video stops loading. It does this because YouTube (or, rather, Google), switched to a new Dynamic Adaptive Streaming of HTTP buffering technology (DASH).
This new buffering scheme segments media streams into content “blocks.” It’s supposed to improve buffering and playback for faster connections, but it’s a nightmare for slower connections and sometimes even wi-fi connections that are sub-optimal.
Obviously, if you have a slow Internet connection, this DASH thing isn’t helping you out at all. What you need is a little buffer in the video playback so that you can watch videos without any hiccups. And, fortunately, there are a couple of plugins that will let you kick it old-school on YouTube.
You’ll need to use either Firefox or Chrome browser for this trick to work. For Firefox, download the add-on “YouTube Center.” It allows you to alter the way that YouTube videos are played and how they load. With the Chrome browser, install Tampermonkey. Once installed, you can disable DASH playback from the settings in the add-on.
Taking The Buffering Trick To The Next Level
OK, so the buffering trick was neat, but what if you want these videos stored locally on your hard drive. That a bit trickier, but not impossible. Go through the process to change the buffering and shut off DASH playback.
Now, you should be able to right-click on the YouTube video in question and select “pop out.” Once the video is in its own screen, you can right-click again and “save as.” Do you see where this is going? In a few minutes, you’ll have the video down on your drive and ready to play. It’s going to be in the .flv format, so you’ll need something like VLC player to play it.
Download The Video
Another simple way to solve the video playback problem is to download the video from YouTube. Make sure you’re not downloading any copyright-protected material though. Programs, like YouTube downloader, simplify the process, and allow you to download full HD videos from YouTube. Remember to respect IP when using downloaded content.
That means you don’t have to sacrifice video quality for playback. It also means you can download the video and watch it later, without any Internet connection. The software is simple to use too. Just copy and paste the video’s URL into the software input box and click “download.” The video is converted to a local file format that you can play with native video players.
Wait For YouTube To Catch Up
Of course, you can always wait for YouTube to catch up with the times. The site is reportedly trying to implement a feature that allows some users to control whether or not their video is downloadable from the site. This is supposed to happen later this year, though some reports say that some YouTube videos already have the feature.