Ten Tips and Tricks to Improve Your YouTube Experience

Look for HD videos

If you are listening to music or watching movies on YouTube, you should definitely be aware of how much better the sound is when the video is in HD, or high definition.The high-quality sound found in HD results is such that you will generally not notice a decline in quality, even when the sound is turned up high or you are listening through headphones. Audiophiles may still not be satisfied, but searching for HD results is definitely the Youtube tip you need to get the best-sounding sound out of YouTube. Either add “HD” to your search string — for instance, type in “Mogwai HD” to find HD music by the band Mogwai — or click the “HD” option under “Filters” on the search page. Which leads to the next tip:

Filter Your Search Results

Learning to use the search filters is one of the most useful (and least time-consuming) things you can do if you want to find only the video results you want: fast. Let’s say you want to find clips from the television show “Inside the Actors Studio,” but only want to view long, in-depth clips or complete episodes. You should search “inside the actors studio” and then press the “filters” tab just above the search results. By then clicking “long” in the duration section, you can find long videos or complete episodes without scrolling through pages of results. Likewise, you can use filters to only find results that have been uploaded recently, or to filter out the video results and only return playlists. This is an essential YouTube tip because it enables the user to find any video they want, as fast as possible.

Use Youtube Mix to Listen to Music Non-Stop

If you have a music video open on YouTube, the top “recommended” result — usually right under a sponsored video — will contain a playlist full of music similar to that video. For instance, if you are playing Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” the top recommended video at the right hand side of the screen is “Mix – Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe”. This is actually an hours-long collection of music which is related to that video. If you wish to hear a non-stop collection of music that you will probably like, some of which will almost certainly be new to you, then this Youtube feature is an ideal way to do that. This YouTube tip also comes in handy when you are at an internet cafe, or somehow unable to access your usual music library.

Use your History to Get the Recommendations You Want

Have you ever looked at a business or school-related set of videos — such as a set of anatomy lectures or a TED talk — then discovered that all you can see in your recommended videos are anatomy lectures? If there is a set of videos which you viewed as a one-off and do not want to see in your YouTube recommendations, then you can either log in to your YouTube account and delete that specific video or videos from your history (by clicking “history” at the left hand side of the screen), or delete your entire YouTube history. Getting rid of these unwanted recommendations and history is a little more difficult if you are not logged in to YouTube: consensus online seems to be that the most thorough way of deleting your YouTube history is deleting YouTube’s cookies from your web browser.

Use Keyboard Shortcuts

One of the coolest YouTube tips for casual users are the keyboard shortcuts for use with the video viewer. They certainly make life a little easier, as well. When you are viewing a YouTube video, K or spacebar will pause the video, J will jump the video back three frames (or back one frame when the video is paused — extremely useful if you are watching a movie and want a DVD-like level of control), L will jump the video forward, and 5 will jump to the halfway point of the video. An excellent YouTube tip for those who are sick of dragging the slider around!

Explore the Viewing Options

The viewing options at the bottom right of the video open your viewing experience up to a whole slew of viewing options. The clock icon is a quick shortcut the viewer can use to watch a video later. The rectangle allows the user to make the video larger without going to full-screen — very useful if you want to watch something on a larger scale but don’t want to take up the entire screen. The icon which is the furthest to the right allows you to view a video in full screen — or go to YouTube if the video is embedded on a website. You can also adjust the playing speed and quality. Being able to access high-quality video certainly makes the site work a little more like a television.

Use the Comments Section

The comments section is especially useful if you are viewing an entire album of songs, uploaded in YouTube video form. If the uploader of the video has not supplied the track names and starting points in the video description, there is a fair chance that a helpful commenter has provided some useful time points during the video. The comments will appear using this format: “Song 1 — 00:00. Song 2 — 2:47.” If the times are blue, like links, all you have to do is click the link and you will be taken to that song — that specific point in the video.

Keywords Make Your Searches Fast and Specific

You can also use keywords to tailor your YouTube searches. Due to the fact that Google operates YouTube searches, your search functions in the same way. If you are searching for a particular band, movie or topic and find that your search is cluttered with irrelevant results, try using quotation marks. For instance, if you a re searching for results relevant to the movie “The Amazing Spider-Man” but don’t want to see anything else related to Spiderman (such as previous movies or stuff about comics), you should simply just place the name of the movie in quotation marks. Likewise, a plus-sign added before an additional topic can make your search results more specific by only returning results that contain the first topic and the additional topic. If you are, for example, searching for results that are related to the movie “The Amazing Spider Man”, and specifically to Emma Stone, who acted in that movie, you should search for ” “The Amazing Spider Man” +Emma Stone”. An excellent YouTube tip for those who have to locate a specific video in a small space of time.

Try Feather if You Have a Slow Internet Connection

If you have ever tried to connect to YouTube on a slow or spotty internet connection, you will know that it can be extremely troublesome. YouTube has introduced a new feature called Feather. Users who opt in to Feather will see a scaled-down video page. YouTube has also used other web techniques to make the videos load quicker. Although the feature is currently in beta and thus will not work on every video, it is a really useful tip for anybody who has ever tried to load a YouTube video in a rural area or on a slow connection — a real life saver!

Use a Browser Extension to Stop Videos from Playing Automatically

Have you ever restarted your browser or opened a new tab, only to be shocked thirty seconds later by a loud advertisement in a YouTube tab? There are browser extensions and add-ons designed to stop all videos from playing automatically, including those that are embedded in other pages, such as advertisments. Just search “stop autoplay” in the Chrome Web Store or the Firefox Add-Ons store to find the add-on that works for you.

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