Force YouTube to use Flash instead of HTML5

5th April 2012 by Jason C. Filed under: Software

I’m currently using a pretty old machine to browse the web, so recently whenever I’ve clicked on a YouTube video that’s only available in 360 -wide or less, it’s been automatically served up to me as an HTML5 video. Now the problem with that is that because of the age of my machine, the video performance went down the toilet. I mean, really, sometimes the picture would stick for several seconds on one frame.

I looked around the web a bit for a solution, and found am html5 disabler extension for Firefox, but I didn’t want to add another extension, and didn’t want to disable html5 for other sites.

So, after a bit of thought I dug into Firefox’s about:config screen. I looked for ‘video’ and ‘html5′, but no joy. Then, I looked up ‘webm’ and there was the setting, under media.webm.enabled. I changed this from ‘true’ to ‘false’ and well if Bob isn’t my uncle, YouTube now reverts to the Flash player, and I’m much happier with its performance.

I thought I’d post in case anyone else out there is looking for the same solution.

5 Responses

  1. Thanks !
    My problem was that firefox 10.0.1 on ubuntu 10.04.1 (and on other versions too) the html5 player did not start. And many videos are offered now in that version, without any way to switch.
    But the above mentioned trick of setting “media.webm.enabled” to false, did it.
    Now I can watch all videos again.
    Thanks !
    (btw.: maybe the NoScript plugin was the faulty, but the above helped anyway)

  2. Thanks! Worked like a charm on an older pc.

  3. Thank you!
    For some reason subscribed videos will not clear out from my sub-list if (no idea why) they start in html5 mode.
    Now they actually go away when i watch them!

    Damn you YouTube!

  4. What I want is disable Flash for youtube COMPLETELY, since Flash videos won’t play on Youtube.
    Does anyone know how could I force YouTube ***NOT*** revert to Flash Player when HTML5 is unavailable? E.g. how can I FORCE the HTML5 player to play absolutely ANY video (be it .flv, .mp4 or .webm)? Yes I know, HTML5 is “”unavailable”” for videos with ads but in that case, remove ads :)
    Believe me, EVERYTHING is supported and WILL ALWAYS be supported with HTML5, YouTube just does not KNOW or WANT to make everything available.

    So is there some hack to absolutely bypass Flash and watch EVERYTHING Flash-free?

    If not then nevermind, ONE DAY I will make a universal HTML5 player and a script that will replace ANY Flash on YouTube.


  5. Thanks!
    Just another practical application: Skype sound didn’t work with PulseAudio (Fedora 17 KDE), so had to disable it and use ALSA – this in turn made HTML video loose sound, but Flash could still play sounds.

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