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Best Chrome extensions for watching video

Chrome is a great browser, but it's the apps and extensions that really make Chrome shine brighter than the competition.

If you're addicted to watching videos — whether on YouTube, Netflix, or any other video service — we've got a collection of great Chrome apps and extensions designed to enhance your experience.

Update, April 19, 2017: We've added Video Resumer, and Floating for YouTube.

Turn Off the Lights

There's a reason why movie theaters turn off all the lights once the movie begins. Outside light can be distracting when you're watching video.

Turn Off the Lights brings a touch of that cinema experience to YouTube, Vimeo, Hulu, and others by dimming everything in the browser window except for the video.

Once you've added the extension to Chrome, simply click the lightbulb icon next to the address bar when you're on a video page and everything other than the video will dim to near-black. This is a fantastic feature if you're the type to watch videos at night in a darkened room, when the brightness from the white background is most glaring. When you're done watching your video, simply click the lightbulb icon again and the page returns to normal.

See at Chrome Web Store

Google Cast

If we're talking about Chrome and video, it's impossible to avoid mentioning Chromecast — it's the handiest little disc that lets you connect your smartphone or Chrome browser to your TV via HDMI.

Google Cast is a must-have extension if you've got a Chromecast (and you should really get a Chromecast). It allows you to connect and stream content from your Chrome tab quick and easy to your TV. You can use it to help increase your productivity by using multiple screens, or use it to decrease your productivity by streaming YouTube or Netflix. The choice is yours, Google Cast just provides the options.

See at Chrome Web Store

VideoStream for Google Chromecast

As mentioned, one of the coolest features for Chrome is it's integration with Chromecast via Google Cast.

VideoStream for Google Chromecast takes that feature and builds on it by converting your chrome tab into an app that allows you to load and stream local videos from your computer and stream them wirelessly to your TV.

Once you've got the app installed in Chrome, you'll find it in the Apps menu just below the Back and Forward buttons. Launch VideoStream in a new tab and you're able to load up videos from your computer or external hard drive directly into a video player in Chrome, which then allows you to cast that tab via Chromecast to your TV.

It works like magic, and means you'll no longer have to deal with HDMI cables and adapters when you want to stream video from your computer to your TV.

See at Chrome Web Store

Flix Plus by Lifehacker

If you're addicted to watching Netflix on your computer, then you need to check out Flix Plus by Lifehacker.

It adds a bunch of really cool features that you'll appreciate, such as integration with Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb, and Wikipedia for ratings and information, the ability to watch a random episode from a show you love, and enhancements to browsing that include moving "My List" to the top of the page and fading out shows and movies you've already watched or rated.

But arguably Flix Plus' best feature is how it hides spoiler content from episode thumbnails and synopses — especially important for when you're watching a show for the first time. When you're looking at a show's episode list, all the thumbnail images and episode info will be blurred out and only viewable when you mouse over them. If you're serious about avoiding spoilers when you're watching a TV show, this feature alone makes Flix Plus a real winner.

See at Chrome Web Store{.cta.large}

Magic Actions for YouTube

Looking to get more out of your YouTube experience? Magic Actions is jam packed with handy features that make YouTube easier to use.

With the extension added, you'll see a new row of buttons just below the video window that allow you to control and customize all sorts of features for YouTube.

Some of the most notable features include the ability to control the video volume using your mouse scroll wheel, set YouTube to autoplay in HD whenever applicable, Cinema Mode, hide ads, automatically turning off those annoying video annotations — and that's just scratching the surface.

Definitely worth taking a look, however you are required to install the Click&Clean Chrome App as well during set up. The good news is you can easily remove the app after setting up Magic Actions.

See at Chrome Web Store

FasTube

Sometimes you just want the video and nothing else. FasTube hears you, and delivers just the video — with faster load times!

As the name implies (FasTube... Fast Tube...), by loading only the video in a pop up window and ignoring the comments, thumbnails and everything else, makes videos load way faster. Like… stupid fast.

All you have to do is click the video's thumbnail image and BAM! The video pretty much instantly plays. FasTube also provides its own version of cinema mode, a button for rotating the video, and a button for sharing. The one thing you'll have to get used to is the pop up window, which will close the video instantly if you click anywhere else on the tab.

Oh, and if you want to see the description, comments, and related videos, all you have to do is click the video title. Pretty dang handy.

See at Chrome Store

Video Resumer

YouTube has tons of great content, and while there is plenty of bite-sized video, they also have some gems of longer documentaries. If you don't manage to finish the entire video in a single sitting, it can be hard to remember precisely where you left off. This extension does the work for you, resuming your videos where you stopped them, and not a moment sooner.

See at Chrome Store

Floating for YouTube

Floating for YouTube means that you'll never have to wonder where your YouTube video is playing. Instead of being a nested tab, it allows you to pop out and size the window that YouTube plays in. This is a great way to keep from losing YouTube when you have 20 tabs open and one of them is playing music.

Did we miss any killer extensions?

These are the best we could find, but maybe we missed something amazing. Share in the comments!

Jen is a staff writer who spends her time researching the products you didn't know you needed. She's also a fantasy novelist and has a serious Civ VI addiction. You can follow her on Twitter.

25 Comments
  • Check out ratings preview for youtube https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ratings-preview-for-youtu/cgbh... YouTube recommendations have gotten better, but it prevents time-wasting clickbait videos that have a nice looking thumbnail.
  • I never understood turn off the lights when I could just go full screen instead. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah, I thought that. Doesn't make sense. It's best to assume I'm being sarcastic. if I'm ever serious I'll type "/s" to make it clear.
  • Same, it seems pointless. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Sometimes I prefer to watch a video in a small screen rather than full screen. Idk why haha. Posted from my Nexus 6P.
  • exactly. it requires a click to activate the dim mode. even just 1 click is too much.
  • You can set it up to automatically dim while the video is playing and return to normal when it's paused. For those wondering about usage cases, I mainly use TOtL when watching videos where the source material (e.g. retro games, old low-rez video) looks really bad blown up to fullscreen, or when I'm watching very close to my laptop screen (e.g. while reclining in bed) such that it's difficult to keep track of stuff happening at the edges. It's much less useful on a desktop or when the laptop is on a desk, since at that distance it's better to just go fullscreen.
  • +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • You don't have to install the Click&Clean Chrome App when installing Magic Actions for Youtube. When it get to the point to install it you just close that tab. It won't install and you still have Magic Actions.
  • For whatever reason mlb.tv no longer recognizes chromebooks as supported devices. I've found an easy work around is to switch my user agent so mlb.tv thinks I'm using Internet Explorer https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/user-agent-switcher-for-c/djfl... Add Hola to the equation and local blackouts are not an issue either. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Floating for YouTube is one I use regularly https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/floating-for-youtube/jjphmlaof... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Great article, I'm going to check out all of these! I've been using an extension called Flix Assist, which cuts out the next episode countdowns and stops the "Are you still there" message... Don't judge me Netflix, you're not my mum. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Video Speed Controller is essential for me. It allows you to control play back speed of HTML5 video, including Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, just like you can control the speed on YouTube videos natively. If you're not watching TV at 1.5x, you aren't really living!
  • I've never understood the appeal of this, for video or for podcasts. It's already to easy to burn through a years worth of TV in a week, why make it go 50% faster? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Why would you not want to absorb more information as quickly as possible? I have no problem listening to podcasts a 2.5x, so why would I waste my time listening at regular speed when I could be listening to so much more. If I'm watching TV (particularly without headphones), I think anything above 1.5x is a little hard to follow. But I just find regular-speed viewing to be boring (unless it's something I really like).
  • Well that's fine if that's how you like it. I'm not judging. It's just to me, it's like eating a meal. Sure you could shovel it into your face and eat it all as quick as possible, but then it's gone. I prefer to take my time and enjoy it. I'm the same when a new Netflix season drops. Some will binge watch it all in one day, and then are waiting a whole year for more. While I'll try to make it last a couple of weeks. I can see the advantage with something like news perhaps, where you're just looking for information. Posted via the Android Central App
  • All my podcasts are news or discussions, so the faster the better. With TV and movies, I'm never at a loss for stuff to watch; I'm in a constant state of having countless things to watch, but not enough time.
  • This is actually pretty useful info.
  • Videostream for Google Chromecast - Not compatible with my HIsense Chromebook. Haven't been able to find a good Kodi replacement to access my video files on my external drive that is attached to my wifi router. Best thing I've found is the default file application but playback is choppy and times out. Eagerly awaiting Play Store so I can test the Kodi app to see if it works,
  • I completely forgot YouTube was white. lol. I have been using "Dark Skin for Youtube" for a while. Similar reason to turn off the lights, i hate white at night, and dark/black isnt so bad during the day, so I kind of just got used to it
  • adblock plus, no damn annoying adverts in youtube!!
  • Your Quality for YouTube - Automatically sets the YouTube™ playback quality and allows you to set a default speed. Useful for Comcast customers with a datacap, like me. It also has an option to pause the video at the beginning of playback to stop the stupid autoplay. Reverse Youtube Playlist - Add a button on Youtube to reverse the order of playlists. Great for when a sequenced playlist is ordered wrong.
  • I forget the name of it, but there is an extension I use for downloading video from a website. I love it.
  • Now I'm gonna have to get that floating window one. That sounds awesome.
  • I like being able to control YouTube playback with keyboard shortcuts while working in other than my browser apps. chrome google com/webstore/detail/youtube-embedded-player-p/bajalgkbfjloemafmkiheboebghhibbg Have you tried it?