Play audio only on YouTube to save bandwidth - gHacks Tech News

Play audio only on YouTube to save bandwidth

Audio Only YouTube is a browser extension for Google Chrome to play the audio stream of YouTube videos only.

The video hosting site YouTube offers no option to play only the audio track of videos. While that is probably not desirable in many cases, it is beneficial in a few cases.

Playback of the audio stream of a video on YouTube uses less bandwidth than playback of the entire video. This may improve the stream quality, especially on low-end devices or devices with limited Internet bandwidth, for instance, when videos buffer all the time or don't play fluently. Another benefit of it is that audio-only streams require less power than video streams; useful if you connect to YouTube on mobile devices.

Audio-only playback is useful when you play certain types of videos on YouTube such as music videos, presentations, talkshows, podcasts, or discussions.

Audio Only YouTube

audio only youtube

Audio Only YouTube is active right after you install it. It is a bit worrying that the extension requires access to all sites and not only YouTube though. Is that because of embedded YouTube videos on third-party sites? You can check out the code on GitHub, and it appeared clean on quick inspection.

When you play a video on YouTube after installation, only the audio stream is transferred to your computer and played. This is faster as it uses less bandwidth and beneficial to power consumption if your machine is on battery.

The extension shows a message where the video would play stating that the extension is enabled. Users can click on the extension icon in Chrome's main toolbar to toggle it.

A click toggles the functionality of the extension so that you can switch between audio-only and video playback on YouTube with just a click. The status is remembered so that you don't need to do so each time you want to watch a video on the site.

Switching restarts the video however as the last position is not remembered.

Closing Words

Audio Only YouTube is an excellent extension for Google Chrome. It should work in other Chromium-based browsers like Vivaldi or Opera as well, and may even work in Firefox if you use Chrome Store Foxified.

It is ideal for users who listen to audio only or predominantly at times especially since it saves bandwidth and power.

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Audio Only YouTube
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Comments

  1. ubhakduf said on February 12, 2018 at 10:53 am
    Reply
    1. Jason said on February 13, 2018 at 6:08 pm
      Reply

      That’s another addon that wants access to all website data and all browser tabs. Like Martin, I always have to wonder why.

    2. Cigologic said on February 13, 2018 at 10:16 pm
      Reply

      >> ubhakduf: “For firefox https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/youtube-audio

      “Youtube audio_only” by craftwar (below) is a fork of Animesh Kundu’s “Youtube Audio” (link as supplied above by ubhakduf). The latter’s most recent release dates back to 18 Sep 2017 (v0.0.2.2).

      “Youtube audio_only” — Latest release: v0.3.2 (31 Jan 2018)
      https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/youtube-audio_only

      Changes made by developer:
      * Improved performance (less CPU & RAM usage)
      * Removed side effort on non-Youtube related pages
      * Added embedded video support (eg. NightBot autodj)
      * Disabling addon reloads active tab only (for pages containing Youtube)

      For Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/youtube-audioonly/aommfmmbfgomgfndghgedemfdeidldbb

  2. Jeff said on February 12, 2018 at 11:04 am
    Reply

    Always have a hard time on ghacks finding a simple hyperlinked to the covered product. I found it eventually by Googling.

    1. MarkCB said on February 12, 2018 at 4:27 pm
      Reply

      The Summary box at the end of each article usually has a landing page. In this case it goes to the Github page that has a link to the chrome store app.

    2. Rush said on February 12, 2018 at 8:33 pm
      Reply

      @Jeff

      I too always have had trouble problem solving the cloning or downloading files on github. It is most certainly a lack of knowledge on my own end, and I am too lazy to do the research.

      Doing a browser search, 9 times out of 10, fixes my quandary.

  3. TimH said on February 12, 2018 at 4:12 pm
    Reply

    I’m curious how this works, since audio and video data are interleaved. Does setting ” videoRect.width === 0 && videoRect.height === 0″ per the JS tell youtube to send only the audio? Because if that’s the case, probably the URL could embed a command to do that.

    To put it another way, not having the video displayed in the client browser isn’t the same as the video data being demuxed and not being sent at the server end.

    1. Paul's Dad. said on February 12, 2018 at 4:33 pm
      Reply

      Audio and video are independent in 1080p and up. The audio is the same as the one served with 480p and up.

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