Watch YouTube Videos Without Flash in HTML5

YouTubeRunning on Mac or Linux and tired of Adobe Flash eating up all your CPU cycles while you’re watching YouTube? Buggy plugins that crash your browser and freeze your PC? Proprietary formats that get in the way? Want to embrace HTML5 and the future? Well, now you can… one YouTube video at a time.

We’ve written an HTML 5 Video Viewer for YouTube, and you can use it to browse YouTube in true 21st Century HTML5 quality. And it’s super-simple to use.

Flash has been the bane of online websurfers ever since the 90s, especially on platforms where Adobe doesn’t bother to go the extra mile to ensure that their proprietary, binary implementations are stable and efficient. On Linux and Mac OS X, the flash implementation takes up over half the available CPU and at high-resolutions stuttering occurs. HTML5 poses the answer providing a way for browsers to use the native implementations to render videos directly in the browser without resorting to ActiveX and 3rd-party browser plugins… it just has yet to be embraced.

But now you can uninstall Flash and enjoy your online videos in peace. Just go to and enter the URL of a video to watch it in the embedded HTML5 viewer. Yes, you can skip, skim, pause, resume away to your heart’s content.

Even better, we’ve written a GreaseMonkey/UserScript to add a link to all YouTube video pages that points to the HTML5 version, leaving you with no excuse to still use the Flash interface!

All modern browsers that support basic HTML5 are supported. You’ll need to have an MP4 decoder installed on your PC. Happy viewing!


It’s been brought to our attention that Firefox does not support streaming MP4 content due to licensing restrictions, and as we mention above, an MP4 decoder is a minimum requirement.

137 thoughts on “Watch YouTube Videos Without Flash in HTML5

  1. Proprietary formats that get in the way?

    HTML 5 used on youtube is encoded in h.264 which is a proprietary format. The reason youtube isn’t working with Firefox, while Firefox supports HTML 5, it does not support h.264.

  2. I really hate that YouTube is so slow in loading. Unfortunatly this does not work with my Firefox 3.6 – do you know why?

  3. ttg, it only works in browsers that support the H264 encoding. IE8 and Firefox are not amongst those. Try it in Safari or Chrome, it’ll work.

  4. What makes Youtube think that the regular Youtube user will be able to get the HTML 5 player running when most of the people here who posted can’t even make it run?

    HTML5 is a great language with very powerful features. The problem lies with browser makers who are implementing their own different set of rules for rendering. It will still be a headache for web developers!

    css3 is worse still:

    Firefox is using -moz

    Safari is using -webkit

    Opera is using -o

    I believe Internet Explorer will come up with its own.

  5. @jorge I agree, that fracturization of the HTML is what created a need for Flash in the first place. The problem however is both with the browser makers and with the web site creators. Browsers, even if the have their own unique tags (which I do not like), should recognize and implement the W3C spec. Web site creators also should write to the spec (and optionally use custom browser tags as additions, but hopefully not at all!). For example with the CSS for rounded rectangles, I don’t see anything wrong with the official spec: border-top-right-radius, border-bottom-right-radius, border-bottom-left-radius, border-top-left-radius, border-radius

    The problem is for some reason like you stated the browsers are instead accepting “-moz..” or “-webkit…” versions of them, and web site authors using the custom tags images of the tags in the spec.

    One other point however. There exists a severe lack of high end authoring tools or integrated development environments that exist for other languages and take care of all the little stuff for authors automatically in intelligent specic ways.

  6. Didn’t work for me on safari how do you get to the url on the new youtube

  7. I primarily use firefox now since IE caused me much trouble latley.
    Often use youtube for research and getting videos published to afterwards
    use their platform to link the uploded movies with my websites to be shown their.
    Do convert them before to MP4 so that worked fine. Flash I use rarely now for video contents.
    Christine (Germany)

  8. Mh, tried it in Firefox 3.6 and Opera. Didn’t work for me either.
    Would be so cool though to finaly use html5 for youtube ;)

  9. Flash ain’t your friend! This was one of the first web design lessons I’ve learned, and nothing much has occurred over the years to convince me otherwise. It was and remains a resource hog, and people can really not be bothered to wait for flash movies to download, they simply head off somewhere else to get the information they’re looking for, and you’ve lost the traffic you’ve worked so hard to get.

  10. I’m using the latest version of Firefox 3.6.8 with AdBlock Plus. I found that Disabling AdBlock Plus OR DISABLE AdBlock Plus on YouTube will let videos play in Firefox. Videos are playing fine for me again now in Firefox.

    Firefox says Youtube is using HTML5 and it doesn’t support Firefox.

  11. i was wondering cn it work for other websites too?
    like those which provide online television etc..
    anyway thnks a lot.

  12. i have seen they have been testing html5 with non ad embedded videos(even offering a ie8 plugin)

  13. Really nice. I run Google Chrome beta so I will definitely check it out. Is this tool YouTube specific or will it work even for other video sharing sites………….

  14. It works most of the time in Firefox, but sometimes starts getting clunky – I suspect it’s interacting with some of the plug-ins though – when I run safe mode, it’s better.

  15. Could you explain a little more please how to use your service in Firefox?
    I have installed MP4 decoder, but i can’t play video.
    I can see only black square with “play” button. But i can’t click on here.

  16. I prefer Firefox, but haven’t had much luck with it – It would be nice if they worked out some sort of MP3 “Universal” format (I realize that MP3s aren’t truly universal, but something along those lines that is close enough). The variation between the different variations of the same file types of video is always a bother too.

  17. Just share the code need with the ehole internet community. You have said it is a problem and we know it is. But heck we are not going to visit your site to enter url to watch videos are we !!

    Sharing te code means all sites will very soon be updated and so everyone can enjoy the same as you have discovered.

  18. What a really nice idea, but it doesn’t work with Iron Browser (spyware free version of Chrome). It says you need an HTML5 compliant browser, but Iron is!

  19. HTML5 can’t come soon enough. We’ve had all thess typical English-Sheep-Shaggers in London singing the praises of Flash, when everyone knows it’s a bug ridden resource hog.

  20. i find its still diffacult to use their html5 youtube option as most vids. i have seen arent in html5. adobe has been working on a 64bit plugin but the public beta hasnt been updated since nov. 2010 so i found another alternative makes a quick switch to the 32bit version of the browser

  21. Great project for its time, really appreciate the effort. Adobe has been compromised as a security flaw to allow hackers access to our computers.They are years behind in updates to current flaws in code and it is an out of date applet that needs to go away.

    Thanks to Steven for the heads up on Spartan running videos’ will try it once I get a hard drive allocated to install Win 10.

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