Watching a video
The reason that most people visit YouTube is to watch videos. That should prob- ably be one of the first things you do when you arrive. After familiarizing yourself
with the home page, try clicking on a video. You’re taken to a Watch page, which should look a lot like the one shown in Figure 2-5.
The Watch page.
The Watch page is, first and foremost, for viewing videos, but it has a number of other functions as well. You’ll want to become familiar with a number of elements on this page:
» Video Player: Front and center is the video player, which you use to watch the video.
» Video Info: Tucked beneath the video player you’ll see the video info, including its title, view count, and description fi
» Comments: Everybody has an opinion, right? What’s true about the world outside is equally true in the world of YouTube. Here’s where viewers can
comment on and discuss the video, and where the uploader occasionally joins
in the discussion.
» Suggestions: Along the right side of the screen are the suggested videos,
which are YouTube’s best guesses about what you might want to watch next,
based on the video you’re watching and your overall watch history.
That’s the bird’s-eye view. The next few sections take a closer look at some of
these features in a bit more detail.
The YouTube algorithm, the mysterious piece of code responsible for guessing what you want to watch next, is uncannily effective a lot of the time. The sug- gested videos can suck you into what is known as the YouTube spiral, in which you can potentially lose hours of your life clicking on video after video and eventually end up watching infomercials from the mid-1980s with no clear idea how you got there.
The most noticeable item on the Watch page is the video player. As with most video players, the YouTube version has a number of controls ranging along the bottom. Here’s an overview of what each control does:
» The scrubber: This bar, which runs the length of the video player, allows the
viewer to jump around in the video. Hover the mouse cursor over the bar, and
then click on the red circle and drag it to the right to “scrub” forward in the video.
» The Play/Pause button: This button stops and starts the video stream.
» The Next button: This button allows the viewer to skip to the next video.
Next can mean a recommended video from YouTube or the subsequent video
if watching a playlist.
» The mute/volume control: When you roll over the Speaker symbol, the volume bar appears. Click the speaker to mute the audio. Use the volume
slider to adjust the volume.
» The counter: This is the timer for the video. It shows you how much viewing time has elapsed as well as the total length of the video.
» Closed Captions: This button, marked CC, toggles the captions (on-screen
text of the dialogue and sounds) on and off Not every video has good
captions. (For more on captions — good, bad, and indiff — check out Chapter 9.)
» Settings: You have to click the little Gear icon to access the Settings menu, but
that’s not too hard to do. For most videos, the available settings include
toggling autoplay, turning annotations on and off (graphics superimposed on the video), changing the video speed, switching subtitles and captioning, and setting the resolution of the video. We’re big fans of watching the videos at normal speed and at the highest available resolution.
» Display Controls: You can change the size of the default player to become
smaller so that you can continue to browse the site (miniplayer), show across
the width of the browser (theater mode), cast to a compatible television or device (play on TV), or take over the entire display (full screen).
When it comes to resolution, most videos don’t default to 1080p or 720p
- The default playback is often 480p or lower, which doesn’t look that great. If you want to watch videos in high defi you have to become familiar with the Settings menu. Keep in mind that your Internet connection needs to be fast enough to stream HD video to avoid interruption.