If you thought YouTube.com was just a bunch of adolescents doing silly things on video, think again. It has changed the Internet in profound ways. Here are the facts:

YouTube is the largest video sharing website serving over 1 billion views a day. More video was uploaded to YouTube in the last two months than if all three TV networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) had been broadcasting 24/7 since 1948. More searches are done through YouTube than through Yahoo. YouTube has video sites for some 23 countries. Forbes magazine projected 2008 revenue at $200 million. In a bid to compete against Hulu.com which features movies and shows from Disney, Fox and NBC, YouTube has made license deals to carry feature films and TV shows.

Youtube was created in Feb 2005 by three former PayPal employees:

Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim. In November 2006, YouTube, was purchased by Google for $1.65 billion. The San Bruno company uses Adobe Flash to display the videos. The flash player is a very common add-on in web browsers.

In the beginning YouTube hosted a variety of video blogs and short videos. Now it hosts just about any kind of video you can imagine including news, TV shows and movie clips, music videos, instruction, commercials and much more. Anyone can watch YouTube videos. Only registered users are permitted to upload videos. Registration is free.

You can watch our VideoUniversity YouTube Channel called Visualthink right here. Free and helpful information for video producers. We welcome your comments and contributions.

If you have basic video equipment, you can have your own YouTube Channel at no cost. Note that YouTube’s Terms of Service prohibits: Uploading videos that defame, or are pornographic; Copyright infringement such as uploading a movie or TV clips you did not produce; Using music without a license. Any of these infractions will be removed.

One of the most compelling features of YouTube is the ability to “embed” video on any web site or blog. This is simple and free. Every YouTube video has a piece of HTML code, which you can copy and paste anywhere. This feature was one reason for the rocket-like growth of YouTube starting in 2005.

Copyright Problems

In the past a great deal of copyrighted material could be found on YouTube. This was a violation of copyright law and was prohibited by YouTube. You are only allowed to upload video you have created unless you have written permission from the copyright holder. The company began aggressively enforcing this policy.

However, there are still many unauthorized clips from television shows, films and music videos on YouTube. YouTube does not view videos before they are posted online. It is left to copyright holders to issue a takedown notice.

A number of companies have filed lawsuits against YouTube. They claim that it has done too little to prevent the use of copyrighted material. Viacom sued for $1 billion, saying it had found more than 150,000 unauthorized clips of its material on YouTube that had been viewed 1.5 billion times!

YouTube has introduced a system called Video ID, which checks uploaded videos against a database of copyrighted content. The intention is to reduce copyright infringements.

Offensive content is another problem. Videos about religion, Holocaust denial and other inappropriate topics are not uncommon. YouTube relies on its users to flag the content of videos as inappropriate. When flagged a YouTube employee will view it to determine if it is offensive as determined by the YouTube terms of service.

Videos uploaded to YouTube by standard account holders are limited to ten minutes in length and a file size of 2 GB. “Partner accounts” are permitted to upload videos longer than ten minutes, subject to acceptance by YouTube.

YouTube accepts videos uploaded in most container formats, including .AVI, .MKV, .MOV, .MP4, DivX, .FLV, and .OGG. These include video codecs such as MPEG-4, MPEG, and .WMV.

Video Quality Levels

YouTube has a range of quality levels as well as a format for viewing on mobile phones as well as HD at 720p and 1080p. YouTube users can now upload 3D videos. We can expect YouTube to continue to embrace new video technologies as they appear.

YouTube on Your TV

Youtube is available on your TV. See YouTube On TV. You can receive YouTube on your TV via your computer, Sony Playstation, Apple TV, Wii, and a growing number of TV sets.

Most people use YouTube just to watch videos, but if you look at the footer of any YouTube page, you will see that there are also forums, YouTube for your phone, help, and a constant stream of new features.

Free Educational Instruction

One of the remarkable contributors to YouTube is Salman Khan. He is not the Bollywood star, but a former hedge fund analyst from Boston. His Khan Academy has over a thousand free instructional videos on YouTube. Topics cover everything from basic arithmetic and algebra to differential calculus, physics, chemistry, biology and finance. The Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organization with the mission of providing a high quality education to anyone, anywhere. It is mostly a one-man-band. He never appears on screen. He uses Camtasia, his voice and a tablet. You can listen to a very interesting interview with Salman by NPR’s All Things Considered. (This is a radio show on YouTube.) Salman Khan has made a great non-commercial use of YouTube just to help people!


TestTube is a set of YouTube test applications you can try including

  • Comment Search: Discover videos by searching video comments
  • Insights for Audience: Discover what different audiences like doing on YouTube
  • CaptionTube: Add captions and subtitles to your YouTube videos with interactive caption editor
  • Video Annotations: Add interactive commentary to your videos. Link to other videos, and add notes

Creators’ Corner is a center for video producers (who are called creators on YouTube). Here you’ll find tutorials, good project ideas, How to information and more.

Downloading YouTube Videos

There are many ways to download video from Youtube and save them on your computer. However, this is prohibited in the YouTube Terms of Service Agreement. A Google search for “how to download youtube videos” yielded over a million web entries on the subject.

A program called Download Now is a simple freeware program with a basic interface. It has two main features: to download Flash (FLV) files from YouTube, and to convert them to most major formats.

Another way is just to add the word “kiss” to the YouTube URL

so that




This web site accomplishes the same thing as the program above. It allows you to download YouTube videos. Surprisingly, there’s a video on YouTube which explains how to use the kissyoutube web site to download videos. If you do a search on YouTube for “how to download youtube videos,” you will find thousands of videos on the topic.

YouTube Tips and Tricks

The first four tips apply to videos you are embedding in blogs or web pages.

1 Hide the search box

When you hover your mouse over an embedded video, the YouTube search box appears. But you can hide it by adding ”˜&showsearch=0? to the embed url code.

2 Embed only part of a video

To embed only part of a video, add ”˜&start=47? to skip, in this case, the first 47 seconds of the video. So now you can skip as much of the video as you like by changing the value after start= to the number of seconds you want to bypass.

3. Turn off related video suggestions

If after watching your video, you don’t want to viewers to see other videos that compete with yours, add ”˜&rel=0? to the end of the url part of the embed code. Those automatic YouTube video suggestions are now disabled.

4. Bypass Youtube regional filtering

Some videos are only available in certain parts of the world. Your IP Address is used to determine your location and then allow or deny access to the video. To bypass this regional filtering, change the url from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= to http://www.youtube.com/v/

5. Watch YouTube videos on your mobile phone

If you have a web-enabled mobile phone, you can watch YouTube videos with the Mobile YouTube service. This lets you search for, download, and view videos on any web-enabled mobile phone with a fast mobile Internet service. (and a fully charged battery!). Just point your phone to m.youtube.com.

An Apple iPhones can view YouTube videos directly from the main screen. Just press the YouTube button.

There are many more YouTube tricks, but these are some of the best I’ve found.