YouTube on the Mac: The Definitive Guide – Part 2. Watching the Videos

In part one, we learned how to download and save YouTube video. Now that we have them we need to watch them. It can be tricky because the Flash Video format isn’t readily supported by QuickTime.. I’ll show you how to fix that so you can watch a saved video as often as you like.

Watching a saved Flash Video (FLV) from YouTube or any other online video site is done in one of two ways. The first way is with a stand-alone player. The second way is through downloading a codec package so QuickTime can understand the FLV files.

Method One – The Stand-Alone Player:
There are many players out there, some free and others shareware. What you are looking for is a free solution without any extra strings attached. Some recommended players include: SWF & FLV Player, and VLC. After you install, you can now open up and watch the .FLV files with that application.

Method Two – Using QuickTime:
I always recommend using Apple’s built-in QuickTime for video. Why? Its the easiest and I know it will be stable. Since it hooks directly into OS X at the system level, its video rendering will be the highest possible quality. This depends on the quality of the video source, naturally. The problem is that Flash Video is not part of QuickTime’s repertoire. To get around this we will download and install Perian, a free third party package that will enable QuickTime to play Flash Video and many other formats as well. This is actually an easy task, here’s how:

Step 1. Download Perian, open it and double click on the Perian.prefpane.

Step 2. Once installed, select the .FLV you downloaded but don’t open it yet.

Step 3. On the Finder’s Menu Bar, Select File and choose “Get Info”.

YouTube with Perian

Step 4. Open up where it says “Open With” if it is closed and click on the Application.

YouTube with Perian

Step 5. Scroll down, choose QuickTime Player and click “Add”.

YouTube with Perian

Note: If QuickTime Player is grayed out and can’t be selected, Click on “Recommended Applications” towards the top and select “All Applications”.

Step 6. Back on the Get Info screen, Click on “Change All..” underneath where it now says “QuickTime Player”.

YouTube with Perian

Step 7. A warning will pop up asking if you really want to do this – Click Continue.

YouTube with Perian

Whenever you double click to open up an .FLV movie, QuickTime will automatically begin playing it. Again, while other players also support Flash Video files, save yourself the time and aggravation and just use Method Two: QuickTime with Perian.

Now that you can watch downloaded YouTube videos on your computer, what about taking them with you on your iPod, iPhone or any other portable player? In Part 3, we will learn how to convert YouTube videos so that you can easily watch them anywhere.

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