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How to buffer or preload YouTube videos completely before watching them

Remember there was a time when we could buffer entire YouTube videos before watching them or playing them? That was a time when the Internet speeds used to be slow and the video would pause multiple times while playing and this would be very annoying. So you would click the pause button and do some other stuff while your video buffered so that later on you could play it without pauses.

It no longer happens. When you pause a long YouTube video, it stops buffering after sometime. This is because YouTube uses a feature called Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP or simply, DASH. This is also called MPEG-DASH.

In order to optimize streaming over HTTP web servers, longer videos are fragmented into shorter videos of different degrees of quality. Then these videos are streamed according to your connection, the availability of the server and a horde of other factors. Basically what it means is, when you’re watching a video on YouTube, you’re not watching a single video, but a series of the same video broken into different parts. That is why when you try to preload a YouTube video, just a particular part is buffered and after that it stops.

How do you overcome this? Although the technology is developed for your benefit, sometimes when you are not able to buffer the entire video this can pose a problem, especially when you have to scroll left and right in quick successions to view different frames of the same video.

You need to install a browser extension called “YouTube Center”. This extension is available in every major browser but Google Chrome, maybe because Google doesn’t want you to preload or buffer YouTube videos. Nonetheless, in order to install YouTube Center in Chrome you will first need to download the script from this link, and save it somewhere on your computer.

Once you have downloaded and saved YouTubeCenter.crx, open the “Extensions” section of your Google Chrome browser and simply drag-and-drop this file onto that page. Just make sure you have checked the “Developer mode” checkbox at the top-right corner before you try to install the extension. That’s it, the extension is installed.

Now when you visit YouTube, you are prompted to make some changes to the way you use YouTube. Even if you have initially skipped the customization screen there is now an icon on your YouTube page (top-right corner, the gear icon) that you can click and open up the Center Dashboard.

As I have mentioned above in order to buffer or preload your YouTube videos completely before watching them, you need to somehow disable DASH. In YouTube Center here is the checkbox:

That’s it. Once you have unchecked the “DASH” option you simply have to close the window and from now onwards you will be able to buffer your YouTube videos in their entirety.