How to speed up videos

Stefan Imhoff

Some weeks ago I was browsing my YouTube Watch Later lists and thinking: There is so much good quality video, I wish I could watch it faster to see more of it. All these Screencasts, Comedy, TechTalks, Conference Presentations … so I googled just for fun.

Video Speed Controller

I found out this is an issue, I’m not alone with. Fortunately the developer Ilya Grigorik, working at Google, has created a Google Chrome extension, which does exactly this: Speeding up HTML5 videos.

And with Flash being nearly dead and most services using HTML5 video, this is really a blessing. The extension allows to increase or decrease the speed of any video, jump back and forth or back to regular speed. This even works on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

I read a detailed article (which link I can’t find) about this topic with examples of famous TV shows in regular speed and with increased speed and how people get used to watching videos at 1.6 to 1.8 speed and still follow the content without any issue. Even more, the author argued, some jokes are even funnier with increased speed.

At first it feels strange, and I started with 1.2 times speed, but soon increased to 1.8 (and sometimes even 2 or more). I use it now regular on most videos, especially on technical talks, which tend to get very longwinded.

Faster reading

And for those, who prefer to read articles, there is a solution, too: Squirt is a bookmarklet (also available as extension), which allows to speed up the reading of text on websites. There is a nice demo on Squirts website, that shows how it works. Average readers read between 120 and 200 words, but with Squirt its possible to increase to 350 or even more words without any problem.