Tech helper: Have YouTube your way (Feature)
By Jay Dougherty Dec 14, 2010, 3:06 GMT
Washington - The 'you' in YouTube doesn't necessarily mean that you can have the world's most popular online video site just the way you want it. Or does it? As YouTube has grown up, logging on and just watching the videos has become increasingly fraught with annoyances. There are ads to sit through, offensive comments, and more. Can you get the old YouTube back - or some semblance of it? With some know-how, you can come close. Read on for some answers.
Q: I often watch YouTube videos with my children. Unfortunately, sometimes the comments that appear under the videos are offensive, and I do not want my kids to see them. Is there a way to turn them off?
A: There should be, but YouTube seems to have removed the generally available feature that allowed viewers to see videos without displaying the comments underneath of the videos.
But there's good news - if you use Google's Chrome browser. The No YouTube Comments browser extension (http://bit.ly/b6lMYj) will automatically hide all YouTube comments for you, so that you're left with just the video to enjoy.
An extension, by the way, is an easily installable add-on that gives a browser new features or tools. To install the No YouTube Comments extension, download and install Chrome if you don't have it already, start it up, and then navigate to the No YouTube Comments hyperlink above. When you do, you'll see a blue Install button prominently displayed on the extension's website. Just click it, and a message will notify you that installation was successful. Now navigate to YouTube, and you'll see no comments.
Firefox users can try the YouTube Comment Snob extension (http://bit.ly/j40NE). While this add-on does not remove comments, it will allow you to filter them for profanity and other characteristics.
Q: Is there any way to get rid of the ads that appear within and before YouTube videos?
A: Often, if you press F5 to reload the page on which the video appears, you can bypass the videos that appear before YouTube videos. The video will restart without the advertisement. This usually works, but not always. It's worth nothing that many such YouTube videos are actually hosted on other sites - such as Vevo - so YouTube does not embed the ads itself.
There are also extensions available that will eliminate advertisements within YouTube videos. These ads, like the ubiquitous Adsense ads you see on many websites today, appear along the bottom edge of videos.
TubeStop for Firefox (http://bit.ly/YnVaq) is a popular choice for stopping these in-video ads. This extension is also available for Chrome (http://bit.ly/7NAQuN). Originally designed to disable the autoplay feature in YouTube - which automatically plays a video that you click - TubeStop has the pleasant side-effect of also playing the video without embedded ads.
Q: Is there a way I can download YouTube videos to play them later when I'm not connected to the internet?
A: Several websites exist primarily to make it easy for you to download YouTube videos that you're watching. With any of these websites, the process for downloading YouTube videos is essential the same.
First, go to YouTube and navigate to the video you wish to download. Make sure your browser's Address bar is displayed. The Address bar is the box at the top of the browser that contains a website's address (http://www.youtube.com/etc.).
Once you have the video displayed, place your cursor in the address bar, and before the 'youtube' word in the web address, type either 'kiss,' without the quotation marks, or 'kick,' again without any quotation marks. Press Enter, and depending upon which word you typed, you'll be whisked off to either KissYouTube (http://www.kissyoutube.com) or KickYouTube (http://www.kickyoutube.com), with the address of the video you were watching already populating the box next to the Download button. Click Download, and select your desired download format. You have two to choose from: FLV and MP4. For maximum compatibility, you'll probably want to choose MP4, which can be played by Window Media Player and many other desktop media applications.
Once you've chosen your download format, you can sit back and allow the video to be downloaded. Be sure you know the folder into which your browser will save the video. When finished, you should have a playable video in the folder that you specified.
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