Watching videos is one of the best pastimes you can find online, and what source for videos is better than YouTube? YouTube is the largest video website online, and when looking for a video, you’re very likely to find it there. But is YouTube perfect? Far from it.
With a somewhat cluttered interface, annoying annotations, spammy comments and an ever present autoplay feature, YouTube is sometimes merely a default, and by no means the best one. Many videos, however, can only be found on YouTube, so we deal daily with these little annoyances without complaining too much. But why suffer? Below you will find a list of solid Firefox add-ons that will get rid of many of these annoyances, and make your overall YouTube experience better.
Turning Off The Lights
Watching videos is 10 times better in the dark, but, alas, YouTube’s background is shining white. There are several Firefox YouTube addons that can take care of this for you, one of which is the simple YouTube Light Switch.
All this add-on does is switch YouTube’s background color from white to black. It’s very simple, but surprisingly, it makes a world of difference.
If the black background is not enough for you, you can upgrade to the slightly more sophisticated YouTube Just the Video, which makes everything but the video vanish at a push of a button. Simply load the video page you want to watch and click the add-on button to make everything disappear.
Which brings us to the cream of the crop in this genre of add-ons: YouTube Anywhere Player. This add-on not only dims the background to enhance the viewing experience, but brings the YouTube player to any webpage, not only YouTube. So when you find a YouTube link anywhere on the web, clicking it will automatically open the video in a dark-background player without leaving the page. Now that’s brilliant.
Quality, Buffering, Playing & Replaying
As technology advances, the number of quality options on YouTube grows. Many videos now allow you to choose between three different general sizes, and sometimes two different HD sizes. Given that most of us use the same connection most of the time, it would be great to load every video in HD automatically (if applicable), or load every video in low quality for slow connections. A small Firefox YouTube addon by the name of YouTube quality manager lets you do just that.
After installing the add-on, find the small red Q on the bottom right corner. Right click it to choose a quality, and all YouTube videos will automatically load in that size.
For something a bit more sophisticated, download SmartVideo for YouTube. This smart add-on works on both videos on YouTube and embedded videos, and you can fine-tune each to suit your specific needs.
For example, you can auto-replay all videos, choose to start playing right away or only after a certain amount of the video has been buffered, choose to always play videos at a certain quality, etc. The add-on is lightweight and works very well.
Two more very simple add-ons that deal with autoplaying and replaying are Stop YouTube Autoplay and YouTube Auto Replay. As expected, the first will simply stop YouTube from autoplaying, in case you find that habit annoying, and the second adds replaying options which you can access by clicking on the “Replay” button under every video.
You can use YouTube Auto Replay to loop only a certain part of a video, which can be pretty useful.
Comments and Annotations
Comments are a sore subject on YouTube, and while Google is encouraging people to comment from their Google+ accounts, it’s still not mandatory for people to identify themselves on YouTube, and the comments are abundant with spam as a result. There are several ways to deal with this problem, the simplest of which is to hide all comments. This is useful if you just don’t care, and want to watch your videos in peace.
With this, you can choose to hide comments with too many spelling mistakes, only capital letters, excessive punctuation, and more. Amazing!
One more thing which can become quite annoying if overused is the annotations feature. While useful at times, some people tend to blast their videos with too many of these, which takes away from the overall experience. In these cases, make use of YouTube Hide Annotations to hide these popups without a trace.
If you want to see annotations in a certain video, just click on the “Show annotations” button.
All In One
If you need to perform several of the above tweaks, you can give TweakTube a try. Using this add-on you can do everything from dimming the background and disabling autoplay, to replacing YouTube with Windows Media Player, automatic video scaling, downloading videos, and more.
Do you know of any other great Firefix YouTube add-ons? Would you like to see a similar post for Chrome or other browsers? Add your comments below!
Image Credit: fireworks image via Shutterstock
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