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The Internet is a vast sea of video, and we've gone fishing for some of the best free content for you. We're building a curated library of the good stuff we're finding. In this article, we'll tell you a bit more about it and show you how to play it on your system. UPDATED 10/8/14

How to Play Video on Your System

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All modern browsers have the capability of playing video. Whether you're on computer, a tablet or smartphone, or a SmartTV or TV-connected box like the Chrome Box or GoogleTV, you should be able to play these videos. If you're on a mobile platform (iPad, Kindle Fire, or other tablet or smartphone), do note the update below).

On a Computer (Windows, Mac, or Chrome

We set our videos so that they don't start automatically when the page loads. To start them, click the Play Arrow in the center of the video screen.

This shows a typical player control you'll see below the video screen in any computer browser.

1. Play/Pause

Touch this control to Play or Pause the video. The double vertical bars like that above will pause the video. When it's paused, you'll see an arrow which will start it again.

2. Volume Control

Touch the little speaker to get a volume slider: all the way to the right is as loud as it will go, while all the way to the left is no sound. This is the control for this particular video, not for your entire computer or tablet or even for all videos. Of course, your volume control for your computer or tablet (or speakers) also control the volume that you ultimately hear.

3. Time Elapsed and Content Length

These numbers show you, in hours, minutes and seconds, how long the video is and how far you are into it.

4. Timeline

You can see this move as the video plays. If you pause the video or hover your mouse over the Play/Pause control, you'll see a dot, like a little handle, appear at the current video time. You can drag this to the right to "fast-forward," or to the left to "rewind." As you do, you'll see small images from the video point that you're passing.

This is really helpful if you watched part of a video earlier, and want to pick up where you left off, or if you want to go back to a certain point, or look ahead to see if there are any good parts to jump to. Rewinding or fast-forwarding to the point that you want is called "scrubbing."

5. YouTube Controls

If the video came from YouTube, the little watch icon will add the video to your Watch Later list on YouTube (if you are signed up with them), and the YouTube icon will take you to YouTube to watch the same video.

The Gear wheel is the settings. Many YouTube videos are can be viewed in different resolutions, and you can change it to what you want. The higher the setting, the better the video quality -- but high-quality video uses more bandwidth. If you are on a metered system like Satellite Internet, or you're watching on a cellular data connection, you'll probably want a lower resolution to save bandwidth.

My broadband isn't metered, but it also isn't terribly fast. I usually watch on as high a resolution as I can, but if I start to get a lot of pausing and "buffering," it means that the video is too much data, so I will drop the resolution with this control.

6. Full Screen

If you're watching a movie, you'll want it full screen. Touch this control to make it happen! In full-screen mode, you'll see the player controls over the screen for the first 10 seconds or so, but then they'll go away. Any time you need them, move your mouse over the screen and they will appear. When you're in full-screen mode on a computer browser, you can press the ESCape key on your keyboard, or touch the full-screen control in the lower right of the screen to exit full-screen mode.

On a Tablet or SmartPhone

UPDATE Oct. 8, 2014: YouTube has changed its interface a bit, and when you first go to a page with a video, you'll see the screen with what looks lika a red "Play" arrow in the middle of it. If you're on a mobile platform, you might be frustrated if you keep pressing the red arrow and it doesn't play!

Well, it turns out that YouTube has put a picture of a red arrow over the screen. You can touch any part of the video screen to make it play on your iPad, Kindle Fire, or other tablet or smartphone. Except you can't tap the screen where the red arrow is, because the picture blocks the player from seeing your tap.

Silly YouTube. They'll probably change it again some time and we'll take this notice out, but in the meantime, they also added a link at the top if you prefer to watch it on the YouTube site.

END UPDATE

The controls for these are similar but a bit simpler in the web page: just a Play/Pause control, a timeline, and a diagonal arrow to take you full screen.

But when you go to full screen, things are different. You will actually leave the web browser and web page, and watch the video in the movie player that every mobile device has.

Here you see the movie player from an iPad, but the player for an Android device is very similar. 

The Volume control in the movie player controls the entire volume of the tablet or phone, not just the volume of the movie.

The Play/Pause control also has a Fast Forward and a Rewind control, but you also can use the Timeline on the top for that.

The Zoom control looks like the "go full screen" control on the player in the web page, but it's not. Its purpose is to Zoom in a bit closer if you don't like letterboxing on a video, or zoom out if you do. It's a confusing control and I rarely use it to watch on a tablet.

The really important difference here is the Done control. This pauses the video, if it's playing, and takes you out of the movie player and back to the web page that contains the video. It doesn't necessarily mean that you're "Done" with the video (it will be paused at the same point in the web page), just that you're done with full screen.

Ads in the Videos

We're getting these videos from YouTube and other ad-base sources, and you may see some advertising. There are two sorts -- a commercial that plays before the movie, or a banner that may overlay the bottom of the screen. If a beginning commercial is longer than about 20 seconds, a control will come on screen to allow you to skip it after the first 10 to 15 seconds. If it's a banner, it will go away eventually, and there also will be an X in the upper right corner to close it.

We try to avoid videos that have ads all over them, and we review every video we put up. But we don't control them, and the video owner might change them after we do. If you see something that shouldn't be on the screen in a video we've selected, please let us know by email. You'll find the address on the bottom of every page in Games4TV (and there's a link to that at the top of this page).

At the end of the video, YouTube may put up a bunch of "thumbnails" of related videos that they think you'd like. If you click one, it will play in the same page. But we don't control those, so if you don't like them, don't click on them.

The Temporary Nature of Internet Video

Most good videos -- especially movies and TV programs -- don't stay on the Internet forever. The YouTube user who posted it may take it down, or if the copyright owner doesn't want it on YouTube, they may send a "takedown" notice to YouTube and it will go away. If a user closes his/her YouTube account, all the videos posted by that account will disappear.

We review our videos every couple of days to make sure they're still "live" and to unpublish them from Net4TV Guides if the video goes dark. In some cases, we may find an alternate upload of the video that we can put in place of the one that disappeared. But often we can't, and it's gone.

So, if you see something you want to watch, watch it. Don't assume it will be here forever and, if you're looking for something and it has disappeared, that's just the way the Internet is!

Enjoy!

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6 Comments

WOW...

I find myself thanking you more and more Dudette....what a thing to do for Games4tv.....I have not yet looked at any movies, but I am already looking forward to coming here for the movies as well as the Games.....I used to search around in YouTube and they don't allow any movies to be seen there....I am wondering how you were able to pull movies from there. Excellent selections. All the Madagascar movies are great choices too!

movie choices

Now that Robin Williams has passed away, I am trying to see as many of his films as possible. Ones I don't already have...What Dreams may Come, Moscow on the Hudson, The awakening, Patch Adams, and whatever else is out there...can see comedy on YouTube, need to see movies! Thanks

Robin Williams movies

Bicentennial Man is in our set, but my limitation is what I can find that has been posted up online for free. But I'm looking -- and some of his standup is actually the most revealing. I've hesitated to post it (or any standup comedy) because, as I'm sure you know, the language can get a bit raw. But I may do so with a content warning. By the way, the movie I want to see now especially is Dead Poet's Society.

data size

Can you post data size for ea video, like you do the time length? My tablet shut down while I watched one because I had reached the limit of its data allowance.

Don't know title, but liked very much the Robin Williams movie w/Matt Damon as the math genius working construction w/Ben Affleck n others, and seeing Williams - who was a therapist.

Unfortunately, I can't post

Unfortunately, I can't post the data size. It's streaming, so I really don't know. The time -- and everything else -- comes from YouTube.

One thing you can do is to touch the settings icon and select a lower data rate -- it will actually be expressed as a resolution. When you're watching on a small device, you can't see the extra resolution in HD anyway. Select the lowest resolution that's acceptable, and that will keep your data rate to a minimum.

That movie with Robin Williams and Matt Damon was Good Will Hunting. It's been pulled from YouTube, but maybe it will come back some time. That happens -- sometimes it's a copyright claim, other times the video poster loses their account, or deletes it, or makes it private, or sets it so that it will only show on YouTube (and can't be embedded in  a page).

So consider all the video up here to be ephemeral -- in other words, enjoy it while you can, lol.

 

MOVIE SUGGESTIONS

Hi Dudette!
If you're up for suggestions, I think that an interesting double play might be "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Bound for Glory", if you can find them. Both excellent movies, both about the dust bowl and the great depression and both starring Carradines; John and David respectively.