Full Screen Playback of a Whole YouTube Playlist

This information is very old and out of date, please see this new post for up to date information.

Recently  Richard Carter, FCD had a post at The Red Notebook pointing me to YouTube videos of James Burke’s wonderful series “The Day the Universe Changed“. This led me to the JamesBurkeFan’s Channel on YouTube, a fantastic resource, I am thankful he took the time to record, cut up and post all the James Burke video series. JamesBurkeFan even took the extra steps to make playlists for each episode from all of the series. (Note: JamesBurkeFan’s TDTUC episode 4 playlist is backwards, here’s a corrected playlist The Day the Universe Changed Episode 4 Playlist [Update 1/6/08 the JamesBurkeFan channel is no longer available details here.

Using playlists to watch these and other shows cut up to fit YouTube’s 10 minute limit is nice but I did find one annoyance. The problem is that the full screen view always terminates at the end of each video clip. I like to kick back with the Media Center remote for volume and watch the playlists just like regular TV. Having to get up and click the mouse to re-activate full screen mode every ten minutes wrecks the experience for me.

I went searching to find out if it was possible to work around this annoyance. Everything I found was saying, sorry your out of luck until YouTube changes their system. Then I found this post on the I learned something new today blog with a great idea. You take the embed URL from the playlist page, place it in a local HTML file with a few modifications and presto the whole playlist runs while staying in full screen mode. The embed code from that blog post seemed to have a lot more parameters than should be needed so I read the YouTube Embedded Player Parameters from the YouTube APIs and Tools pages @ Google Code. Sure enough the actual requirements are less, all you need to add are these parameters in the right spots.

&fs=1 (gives full screen button on player)

allowfullscreen=”true” (Enables full screen operation)

You also probably need to have an up to date version flash in your browser, I have 9.0 r124. I’ve created a small HTML file on my desktop that I simply modify using the playlist ID from the YouTube provided playlist embed code. When I want to watch a playlist uninterrupted in full screen I simply edit the file and start watching. Here’s the source code for my local HTML file.

Replace the XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX parts of the following URL's with the values from the YouTube embeddable URL.
[1/6/08 Ugh, the code plugin has stopped working for HTML comment lines in HTML code]


That’s all there is to it, now I’m gonna kick back and watch another episode of Connections.


Update Nov. 4th, commenter Mary got this working on a Blogger hosted blog using this code snippet:


Thank you for the code Mary.

14 Replies to “Full Screen Playback of a Whole YouTube Playlist”

  1. OK, what exactly do I do with this code? I’m not a programmer at all. I got my embed code from the playlist, made the edits you show above, and pasted the edited code into a blogger post. The playlist embeds, but it’s not in Full Screen and I don’t see any control that makes it full screen. Were you embeding your edited code in a blog post, or what were you doing with it? I tried pasting the edited code back into the playlist’s embed code field, under edit playlist, but YouTube wouldn’t let me change that field.
    How did you actually get this to work?


  2. Robert the code is an HTML page I keep on my PC’s desktop. I’m not surprised it doesn’t work on a blog because that is really a content management database not an HTML page.

    I’ve put a zipped copy of the sample html file up for you to download.

    1. Click that link and download the zip file.

    2. Extract the html file out of the zip archive.

    3. Edit the html file to point to the YouTube playlist, any text editor should work e.g. notepad. Then save the file and close the editor.

    4. Click the edited HTML file and it will open in your browser ready to play.

    The full screen button is the rectangle within a rectangle on the bottom of the player, second from the right.


  3. Hey Paul, I got it to work, but I was just wondering if its playing in high quality or not. Do you think it recognized my Video Playback Settings?


  4. Hey, well I did a comparison and it’s definitely not in high quality. It’s really not a big deal, but I thought I’d see if you knew a way to change that…I know, I know, we’re never satisfied.


  5. Hi Mike,

    I looked at the API and command line options. I can’t see any way to make this work with the high quality version. 😦


  6. That’s cool, Thanks for checking! I can’t believe you found a way to keep full screen active while watching a playlist. Thats what I was really looking for, Great Job!


  7. I don’t get what I have to replace those XXXXX with. Like Rob I’m also not a programmer and only know little bit of HTML.


  8. Hi Johann,

    Replace the XXXXXXX with the ID code portion from the YouTube “Playlist/URL (Permalink):” and/or “Embeddable Player:” text box.

    Here’s an example that I hope will help make this clearer.

    If you go to my playlist for “The Day the Universe Changed Episode 4” you’ll see a “Embeddable Player:” text box containing HTML code, this portion has the playlist ID:

    embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/p/B3A312B20C1B7596″ type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”480″ height=”385″

    The YouTube playlist ID code is the letter and number combination right after the “/p/” or “?p=” sequence. For this playlist it is “B3A312B20C1B7596”, you simply replace the XXXXXXX with the code.


  9. Thank you Paul for this article. It gives some idea to play around with codes. And I discovered by accident the following code works in blog post. (I have the same interest as Robert: to be able to embed it in blog). Replace the “XXX..” with the value of your Playlist ID. This works in my Blogger blog.


  10. How come the code did not appear? I do it again here. If it still does not appear, you can email me Paul; I will send you the code to for other to see.


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