YouTube Rolls Out New Video Player

Updated: YouTube (s GOOG) has started to roll out a new Flash video player across its site that features not only a completely new design, but also offers some nifty bits of information about the performance of the current video.

Some users first started to report the player popping up on a select number of videos about two weeks ago, but the site apparently started a more substantial rollout yesterday afternoon. Late last night, a significant number of videos featured the new look, but many of the most popular videos on the site were still being shown with the old player.  Here are the new features in a nutshell:

  • The progress bar, indicating the current playback position as well as the video’s buffer, is now semi-transparent and minimizes to a small red strip after a few seconds of playback without any mouse-overs.
  • The playback button, volume slider, information about the length of the video and a selector for different video resolutions are now situated below the status bar.
  • The volume control now slides out sideways, instead of vertically, and doesn’t interfere with the video anymore.
  • There’s no button for captions or annotations if these features are not available.
  • A right-click on the video reveals an option called “show video info” that opens up an overlay with information about size, bit rate, fps, transfer bandwidth and other details about the video and its playback performance.
  • Another option makes it possible to copy debug info to your computer’s clipboard.
  • Users can at any time stop the playback of a video completely, which also prevents any further buffering. Clicking on the play button resumes the video at the correct position.

YouTube hasn’t made any official announcement about the new player yet. We’ve reached out to the site and will update this post as soon as we hear back from them.

Update: YouTube just informed us that the new player doesn’t work for embeds and videos with ads yet. Both will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

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