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Monday, March 8, 2010

Variable Speed for YouTube Videos
By Roger Browne

If you’ve opted in to YouTube’s HTML5 experiment, the videos will play in your own browser’s player, instead of in an Adobe Flash player. This was discussed in the Forum a few weeks ago.

YouTube can serve HTML5 videos if you have an HTML5-capable browser with the h.264 video codec (i.e. Chrome but not Chromium, Safari v4+, or IE with Google Chrome Frame). Videos containing ads continue to use the Flash player.

YouTube has implemented a variable speed control for their HTML5 videos. Next to the play/pause button is a small arrow. When clicked, it opens up a panel containing a slider and two icons: a hare and a tortoise.

As you can probably guess, moving the slider towards the hare makes videos play faster, and moving the slider towards the tortoise makes them play slower.

The pitch of the sound is compensated, so that the audio doesn’t become squeaky at high-speed and deep at low-speed. However, the audio adjustment is not quite smooth enough for listening comfortably to accelerated speech, even at the minimum speed-up.

The “slow speed” feature works well for action replays. The “fast speed” feature is great for quickly finding the part of a move that you want to watch. But the audio processing needs to be just a little better before it will be practical to save time by watching long talks at an accelerated pace.

I used Safari 4.0.4 on OS/X Leopard to view the HTML5 videos and to take the screenshot, because Firefox on my Linux computer doesn’t have the h.264 codec.

[Thanks Qrczak!]


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