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YouTube, I want my bandwidth back
Thursday, October 18, 2007

Flash is to YouTube what O is to H2O (apparently, that's a water molecule), but the embedded player used by YouTube, and other Flash movie sites, are wasting a large amount of internet resources: mainly, my bandwidth. Why do you or I care? Bandwidth limits, of course. My ISP says I have unlimited usage bandwidth, though we all know that this is not true: there is a limit, I just haven't reached it yet.

The problem with the YouTube player is that it doesn't have a stop button. It only has a play and pause button. See for yourselves:

From time to time, I know within 3 seconds of starting a video that I don't want to watch the whole clip. For example, you know the person with a hammer is going to smash something and it will likely be his or her thumb and rabid laughs will accompany the event. How many times can you see the same thing? It's funny every time, but I have a limit to internet hilarity.

So what I do is "stop" (pause, really) the movie and keep reading whatever content is around. However, the movie keeps downloading. Obviously, a longer movie uses more bandwidth, and I don't want to use all that bandwidth or make my internet connection slow for the 5 minutes it takes to download the whole clip into memory. I want it to stop. Note to YouTube: sometimes when I pause a movie, I want it to stop...I have moved on to other funny clips.

Someone at google must have noticed this (or YouTube, if they operate independently), And I'd think it's an easy fix: add a stop button to the Flash movie player. The player already has a useless button to restart a movie, why not make it the stop function. This button is redundant, as I can just drag the length indicator back to the beginning to restart the movie. See the redundant button:

These are minor improvements, but it's the minor details that make a User Interface superior to the competition. By the way, why are the players different? The one from the actual YouTube site and the embedable one?

There you go, this has been my contribution to the internet for today.

Two thoughts came to mind. First, regarding the two different players. It's obvious they have different functionality, but I still think they should be consistent.

And second, regarding the lack of a stop button. My thought is along the lines of video-view counts. I wonder how YouTube counts a movie view? For example, if I just watch 3 seconds of a 2 minute movie, does it count as a full view? If not, what is the threshold? 1.5 minutes out of 2 minutes? 1.99 minutes out of 2 minutes?

I would be interested to know how YouTube calculates video-views, and what statistical models it uses to account for incomplete viewings.

1:49 PM | 2 comment(s) |


i agree. you'd think they'd want to save themselves bandwidth too. there must be a reason for it.
By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:54 AM


I hate that I can't stop a video downloading once i'm done with it... what dumbass decided that a stop button wasn't necessary? I can't believe that such simple functionality isn't included in the player.

END pissandmoan
By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:49 AM

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