Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The black YouTube screen problem and the HTML 5 workaround

My 11yo got a "black rectangle" for all YouTube videos today. This is popularly known as the YouTube "black screen" problem, and Google's own engineers say ...

why do Youtube videos no longer load on Firefox? - YouTube Help

... Our engineering team has been working on this for a while. We haven't been able to identify the source of the problem yet, but the details you've provided have really helped...

It's a Flash problem, but it's not Firefox specific. It can strike any Flash-based browser. What a surprise that Flash should have a bug that even Google can't fix ... :-).

There are many Google hits on this problem, but of course there's no fix. The problem comes and goes.

I found that if I took the "embed" URL and opened it in Safari that the video would play. So it's related to YouTube's default video presentation. Upgrading to Flash 10.2 didn't help.

What helped was forcing Safari to load the HTML 5 version of the video. There are several ways to do this

I ended up doing the last one, and I set the options to default to 720p. It works.

My next step would have been to install Chrome, which has both WebM and a Google-authored Flash player.

PS. Ben says it "looks cooler" now.

Update 2/20: See comments for other ways to work around this. Windows 7 is also affected. I'm seeing Flash 10.2 problems on many sites, I suspect there are hardware acceleration problems with older hardware configurations.


Anonymous said...

You should be able to use the "popout window" function to view the video. its the little rectangular box icon between the screen resoultion number and the bent double pointing arrow[expand button]. thats at the right bottom corner of the video screen.

Also you should be able to go to the subscribers channel and view the video from there.
This seems to be affecting only the main youtube screen.

I disagree with the quickfix of deselecting the hardware acceleration, that alot of people are suggesting, it only defeats the purpose of the Adobe player update which is supposed to give improved video playback with less demand on the system cpu. Also the software rendering produces a lower quality playback. That is why they made the improvement to Adobe player so the cpu wouldnt get so jammed up with the video demand.

Since there are the above two temporary alternatives , i will be patient and let Youtube resolve their issue without sacrificing my system performance.

hope they fix it soon but until then,the above ideas should work. It works on my computer. i have windows 7

JGF said...

Thanks, excellent summary of tips. i'll add a note to my post.