Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Clever trick to make YouTube videos fill up the browser

A great tip for people creating web-based instruction... 

If you're teaching with YouTube videos, you know the problem.  The student clicks on a YT link and see LOTS of stuff on the right-hand side or in the comments below the video.  

While those contents are important if you're browsing video, in a classroom setting, it's often distracting and takes students off-task.  The normal landing-page to a YouTube video looks like this: 

Great to browse, but a bit distracting when you're trying to learn something.  

So... how can you force the video to fill the browser and NOT show all the distracting 

If  the original YouTube video is located at ..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNHR6IQJGZs  (This is the Matt Cutts video on “How search works”)

You can modify the URL to include the modified argument “watch_popup”  (as below)

And the YT video will fill the browser.   Nice technique to use when creating links on educational materials to YouTube videos!   

Always searching for ways to improve your (and your students') productivity! 


  1. This seems to be the only way to get YT videos play fullscreen, via a parameter. Adding &fs=1 to the YT URL used to work, but it doesnt seem to work anymore.

  2. Hello! This is not so much about this post--as cool as it is--but to thank you for the keynote address at last week's Maine Academic Libraries Day. You're mentioned in my blog post about the conference


    It doesn't do justice to the amount of content, but at least it gives a taste. Thanks again!
    --Maureen Perry, USM Libraries

  3. A shorter, and possibly easier to remember, method:

    Note: Both URL methods force the use of Flash player

    If using the HTML5 player, the full screen button has a similar effect anyway.

  4. @Mrrix32 ...that´s exactly what I thought...
    (that replacing "watch?v=" with "v/" is easier)
    ...but that solution doesn´t autostart the video, where the "watch_popup?v=" /does/ autostart it.

  5. Do you know of a way to have it NOT recommend other YouTube clips after your video has played? I know how to do it for embed code but not for links.

    1. To disable the related videos at the end of the video try adding &rel=0 to the URL...

      eg. https://www.youtube.com/v/BNHR6IQJGZs&rel=0

      add "&autoplay=1" if you also want the video to start playing on load

      eg. https://www.youtube.com/v/BNHR6IQJGZs&rel=0&autoplay=1

  6. Fabulous and simple trick! Thanks a lot! Worked like you say!

  7. Thank you! for providing such a very neat trick, i hope to use this for my next project..

  8. Thank you. This is just what I have been looking for.

  9. Much easier than the other method. Thank you!

  10. It still isn't full screen. If you go to YouTube and click the full screen icon it also gets ride of the tabs etc at the top of screen. Anyway that can also be eliminated?

    1. It's not "full bleed" (which is what you get when you click the "Full Screen" option), but it does fill the window. (To be precise.)

  11. The best way to do this on youtube is:

    If you want youtube to fill up screen replace "watch?v=" in url of video with "embed/".

    To watch video back in normal mode:

    Replace "embed." with "watch?v=: in the link

  12. Thank you! An excellent side effect of this is that it will force the URL to open in a browser instead of the YouTube app if you are using a device and a QR Code reader. You can't view captions/annotations from the YouTube app, so this is great for our uses.

  13. I tried
    a) "...www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=YbpvCBMZiUA&autoplay=1"
    It gave fullscreen BUT did not start the video
    b) Tried "....www.youtube.com/watch_popup/v/YbpvCBMZiUA&autoplay=1"
    it popped up an explorer window on side which had a video file in it

    Which is the way to use meathod (a) above, but making sure the video starts by itself ?

    1. This works for me:

      (get rid of the /watch_popup )

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