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. Hi,

    Nice, work! Unfortunately, Opera 10.x and latest Firefox 3.5.x doesn’t support mp4 streaming via HTML5 viewer.

  2. running OSX/ppc 10.4

    works with latest safari (but as *SLOW* as the flash version)
    does NOT work with firefox 3.5 and Opera 10

    what can i say?


  3. Flash isn’t supported on my FreeBSD/amd64 (or /i386 FWIW) system, so every alternative (including youtube-dl, and this flash-remover is highly welcome.

  4. Why use flash or HTML5 video tags at all. Flash is a real CPU hog and what is the reason against HTML streaming of media. In mobile safari on my iPhone I can stream huge videos adjust volume and randomly skip the playhead around with virtually no buffeting lag. HTTP streaming seems like it should be the real goal instead of HTML5 tags. Am I missing something?

  5. well, nicely done Mahmoud, but i wasn’t able to get it to work under ff3.5, opera 10.01 nor safari 4. Maybe, we should suggest to youtube that they should implement a html5-version themselves?!

  6. Omar, if you’ll look at the source code of the page, you’ll see it’s really not an HTML5 issue. Most browsers currently don’t do HTML5 video right.

    What’s confirmed working:
    OS X: Safari, WebKit, Chrome, Chromium
    Linux: Chromium
    iPhone: Safari
    Windows: Chrome, Chromium

    Firefox purposely disables MP4 support due to licensing restrictions, and there’s no way to manually enable them. Opera currently doesn’t have MP4 support either.

  7. “Running 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?”

    If so, then upgrade th Silverlight! πŸ˜‰

  8. This article inspired me to write a blog post about Flash issues:-

    Ironically, when I tried to open this page on to write this comment, the browser froze! And it seems to be YouTube code on this page that breaks the site.

    I tried opening a new browser instance, and the same thing happened, so I couldn’t access this page and was about to give-up. I tried one more, this time in IE8, and fortunately after about a minute the following message popped up. When I clicked “Yes” to abort the ActionScript, the page loaded, and indeed here I am, but there is no style — the CSS has either has been broken or did not load.

    Macromedia Flash Player 6
    A script in this movie is causing Macromedia Flash Player 6 to run slowly. If it continues to run, your computer may become unresponsive. Do you want to abort the script?
    Yes No

  9. Hello,

    I was so excited to see this!! I went straight to the viewer, installed the extension, pasted in a youtube url and nothing?? I have mp4 everything-decoders, splitters, etc. and the necessary codecs now native in Win7 along with ffdshow-tryouts and coreavc. Still no luck.

    Are you certain it works in “chrome” under the Windows OS? What about Safari in Windows? I tried that browser long ago and didn’t like it. But if I could get decent youtube playback with it and html5, I’d give it a shot.

    One other question, I use Firefox quite a bit along with IE8 for a few things so I do still have the flash plug-in installed. Could that be the cause of the problem?

    I load the URL, the player pulls up but just a black screen. Unable to toggle through the timeline, play/pause buttons respond but not video.


    Thanks in advance. I hope this isn’t a dead thread since no comments since late NOV??

  10. 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.

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. @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.

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

  16. 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)

  17. 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 πŸ˜‰

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