YouTube Options is without doubt one of the most popular video related extensions for the Google Chrome web browser. With more than 3000 reviews and 700,000 users, it is one of the heavyweight extensions in the Chrome Web Store.
Starting April 8, 2014, the extension has moved to a paid subscription model. Users who want to continue using the extension need to pay $1.99 per month to do so.
According to Smart People On Ice, the company behind the add-on, half of the proceeds are going to non-profit organizations.
The Chrome extension YouTube Options offers an immense feature set that enables you to customize the layout on YouTube and the playback of videos on the site.
Options include removing in-video ads or annotations, setting a custom audio volume or playback speed, managing auto-play and buffering, or removing elements on the site that you do not care about.
User ratings on the official Chrome Web Store page of the extension reflect the change to a paid subscription model. Most have rated the extension with one or two stars, and while some stated that they would have made a one-time payment for the extension, most seem to have moved on already.
Please note that you are not asked to subscribe immediately after installing the extension.
The following screen is displayed to you once the extension has been updated on your system to the latest version introducing the paid subscription model.
The company seems to have created a new page on the Chrome Web Store for the latest version of the extension and declared the other page discontinued.
Alternatives to YouTube Options
There are numerous free alternatives to YouTube Options that you can install and use instead. Here is just a short selection of programs:
YouTube Center is a userscript. You do need to install the Chrome extension Tampermonkey first before you install the script. The script offers pretty much the same feature set that YouTube Options offers, maybe even more than that.
You can customize the player and layout on YouTube, set a preferred resolution and playback quality, remove elements on the site, or configure auto-play to name just a few of the custom preferences that it offers.
Magic Actions for YouTube
The Chrome extension Magic Actions for YouTube may not offer as many customization options as YouTube Options or YouTube Center, but many of the most requested ones are supported.
You cans set a custom video resolution, hide page elements and ads, change the player size, or have it auto hide the player controls on the YouTube website.
While some users object to having to pay for extensions that were free before, at least part of the userbase does not reject that outright.
There are two major issues here that affect the reputation of the company, product and likely also the revenue generation.
First, that companies decide to switch to a subscription-based model instead of a one-time payment option. Second, the way the new feature is integrated into the extension.
What's your take on this? Is this a new trend, that extensions turn from free to paid?