Some web site owners get into the obnoxious practice of having video and/or audio content play the moment you visit a page on their site. This is especially annoying if I have a number of pages like this open in tabs. Even more so if I close the browser and reopen with the tabs restored. Suddenly multiple audio streams are blasting at me and I have to figure out which tabs are the culprits.

Here are some tips for how to prevent this. First off, let’s differentiate between requested content and unrequested content. A YouTube video you have accessed on YouTube is, by default, requested content. Unrequested content might be any Flash based content on a web page you happen to visit. For instance, some sites have little videos, audio, or even YouTube videos embedded in their page. You didn’t necessarily request for that content. You may just be reading something on the page. Some of the extensions listed below provided various ways to control the playing of Flash content and YouTube videos.

To Prevent YouTube auto-play and/or block Flash

Even though you have in effect requested the video/audio content from YouTube, that doesn’t mean you want it to play immediately. This is especially true when opening multiple tabs with a YouTube page/video on each. Or when you want the video to fully buffer before you begin watching it.

Each browser has a different solution:

Safari

ClickToPlugin and ClickToFlash – The second is a subset of the first. To block all plugin content, ClickToPlugin is one to use. Any plugin content is blocked and replaced with a place-holder. Clicking the place-holder will load the content. ClickToFlash only does this with Flash content, but will allow other content (embedded QuickTime videos, Silverlight, Java, etc.) to load as per normal.

The placeholders will look like this:

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It also has the option to play Flash content using HTML5. The HTML5 media player provided by the plugin adds additional features such as:

  • download a media resource;
  • open a media resource in the QuickTime Player application (this requires the QuickTime plug-in for Safari, which is installed by default on OS X);
  • ask a specified AirPlay device to play a media resource (this requires a compatible AirPlay device, see below);
  • open in a new tab the web page associated to the current track by the killer, if any.

Chrome

YouTube Options – this is perhaps the most comprehensive solution, although it does a lot more than just preventing auto-play. If you find these other features (such as blocking YouTube Ads, and much more) then try this extension.

Stop Autoplay for YouTube – This one does one thing, as the name indicates.

Firefox

FlashBlock – will block all Flash content, and replace with a place-holder. Clicking the place-holder will allow the Flash content to stream and play.

SmartVideo – this one has a lot of options, and is very handy. I’ll list the features here:

    SmartVideo Features:

  1. Works with all embedded/HTML5 YouTube videos. Be it a Facebook news feed video or a video directly from YouTube site.
  2. With global preferences, all YouTube videos can be set to start on your wish.
    • – As soon as the page loads.
    • – When the video is buffered completely, or whatever buffer percentage you choose.
    • – Let SmartVideo decide when it’s good to start playing. SmartVideo’s ‘smart buffer’ decides the buffer percentage based on your current download speed.
    • – Or just make the YouTube videos to start buffering when the page loads. You can play the video whenever you wish.
  3. Along with above buffer strategies, you can opt to defer video initialization video until you click on it.
  4. The buffer strategy can be set for individual YouTube player or as the Global preferences. Just hover your mouse over any YouTube video.
  5. Calculates time left before the video starts playing. (Hover the mouse over the YouTube video)
  6. Once a video is buffered as desired, sound notification can be raised instead of playing the video.
  7. SmartVideo can default the video quality or size based on the user preference.
  8. ‘Loop’ option on all YouTube videos.
  9. Separate preferences for embedded, ‘on youtube.com‘ videos and playlists.
  10. Enable/disable ‘switching to HD on fullscreen’ option.
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