How to Enable Hardware Video Acceleration for YouTube

January 7, 2015 By | Add a Comment

It's been a while since I posted the original article about how hardware video decode acceleration can help you enjoy YouTube videos with minimum battery drain. Although the benefits of using hardware video decode acceleration have not changed, the process by which you enable it has, so now is a great time to provide you with an update.

Benefits of Hardware Video Decode Accelerator

Using a hardware video decode accelerator provides a number of great benefits. In addition to ensuring that you benefit from a longer battery life, which was explained in detail in the original article, you can also:

  • Play high definition video smoothly even on low-performance PCs

    The CPUs that you typically find in cheaper and older PCs don't have much horsepower to offer, and they typically struggle when confronted with high definition (such as 1080p) videos. You will know you have a problem if you see sluggish playback. However, many of those PCs are actually equipped with a hardware video decode accelerator that can handle 1080p without any problem.

  • Use CPU for other tasks while decoding video with the hardware accelerator

    Hardware accelerators manage the video decoding task leaving your CPU free for alternative tasks. This will be useful when you are multi-tasking while watching video.

  • Improved overall experience

    Less battery power consumption means lower temperature and less fan noise. Both of these will undoubtedly improve your video watching experience.

There are many benefits of using a hardware video decode accelerator and virtually no drawbacks.

How to Enable Hardware Video Decode Acceleration

Unfortunately, hardware video decode acceleration is not automatically employed when you watch YouTube videos via the Chrome browser. This is because YouTube sends the video to your browser in Webm format, which most (if not all) PC accelerators cannot decode.

The original article provided a description of how you can manually work around this issue. However, unfortunately the method described no longer works because of recent changes to YouTube and the Chrome browser.

Instead of producing another article about how to manually enable the hardware accelerator, we have improved our Battery Life Maximizer program so that it can take care of the problem automatically. This means that regardless of how many times YouTube and Chrome are updated, your computer will handle videos efficiently and effectively every time.

Here is how to use the new feature:

  1. Install the Battery Life Maximizer (desktop application) to your PC:

    Download the installer package from download page and run it.

  2. Install the extension (plug-in) to your Chrome browser:

    After you have installed the Battery Life Maximizer to your PC, close all Chrome browser windows and re-start a new Chrome browser. You will be presented with a message as per the screen shot below. Simply click on the button and you are done. Battery Life Maximizer will take care of the rest.

    Screenshot: New extension confirmation message

    If you don't see the message displayed on the screenshot above, you can manually install the extension free of charge from the Google Chrome Web Store.

    Note: Please install the extension after installing Battery Life Maximizer, as it will not work properly if you do not have Battery Life Maximizer installed on your PC.

  3. Verify that the hardware video decode acceleration is working (optional):

    For the more inquisitive among you, we have made it really easy to check that the hardware video decode acceleration of actually running. When the Chrome browser is making use of the accelerator, the icon to the right of the address bar changes from ICON while acceleration is not working to ICON while acceleration is working


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