Better movies on YouTube
YouTube has always been a publishing route for indie filmmakers, and the video-sharing site offers the latest blockbusters to rent or buy too. But before settling in with your popcorn, take a moment to download Magic Actions for YouTube (for Chrome and Firefox), and take the experience to the next level.
The creators of Magic Actions are constantly updating it to keep pace with new versions of the browsers, so make sure you have the latest stable version of your browser before installing it.
Magic Actions is packed with features so useful you'll wonder how you managed without - like volume control via the mouse wheel and the ability to protect your sanity by hiding the horror show that is the comments box - but TV and film are where it really shines.
Once you've installed Magic Actions, you can begin tinkering with its settings page. Volume control via the mouse wheel and auto-HD playback are essential, as is Cinema Mode, which hides away everything except the playback window itself - including comments, descriptions and recommended videos. Cinema mode can be activated with a single click, or automatically when you start a video.
Experiment with the other options - many of them will improve your YouTube experience even when you're only watching a quick clip at your desk, but don't hide the header - it contains YouTube's search bar.
All your changes will be saved automatically, but you'll need to reload any YouTube tabs you already have open. When you do, the site will look quite different, with all the usual distracting clutter stripped away.
While you're watching a video in Cinema Mode (activated by clicking the film strip icon under the video window), you'll notice an ambient glow around the video, similar to the Ambilight function on Philips TVs. To change the colour of this glow, click the icon at the very top right and choose an option from the palette. Note that you'll only see the ambient light in full-screen mode if you activate the 'experimental' full-screen option.
Magic Actions for YouTube is all about enhancing the viewing experience, pulling you into the action and blocking out distractions. For enhancing the home cinema experience, there's nothing else like it - and it's completely free.