August 22, 2011

Introducing YTWatcher!

What is YTWatcher?

YTWatcher is a desktop application that allows you to watch your subscribed YouTube videos or favorite/liked YouTube videos in back-to-back manner (Think of it as a Giant virtual Playlist where Application will start next video once current video finishes playing). YTWatcher also keeps track of watched videos from your subscriptions and plays only unwatched videos latest one first. So, you never miss a new video from your friend / company you have subscribed to!

Just download the ZIP file above and extract two executable out of it into the same folder. No other setup is required. Launch YTWatcher.exe to run the program. Please go through Pre-requisites section below in order to make sure machine is capable.






Why use YTWatcher?

One may have question, if YouTube already allows you to watch videos from your subscription, why use desktop application?

  • YouTube subscriptions page has limit of 100 videos, which follows FIFO. So, Say for an example, you have 100 new subscription videos and If you get 5 new videos on top of it, you will lose the first 5. I personally don’t like it and that’s what motivated me to write something like this. I have subscribed to some of my important friends, people and companies I track and if I don’t watch videos till it reaches 100 count, I will surely lose some videos from the list.
  • YouTube does not allow to watch all subscription videos in back to back manner. You have to open one video, after it finishes, go back to your subscription list and play next. Though, there is option to add all the videos in a playlist and play the playlist, but I don’t like that either. Managing playlist (creating initially, deleting once its watched) is just too much overhead.



    • Don’t lose subscription videos anymore! YTWatcher fetches new video token from your subscription list and keeps them in locally stored file (Please Note, it does not download videos, just fetches information about video). So, even if new videos from your subscription overwrites older videos, application will play them from local cache.
    • YTWatcher plays all videos in back to back manner (Continuous mode) where it will play next video as the currently playing video finishes playing.
    • YTWatcher allows you to skip video (while marking the video as watched) if you wish.
    • YTWatcher can be resized per user preference and will stay on top. So, if user wants to keep watching videos while doing some other work, its possible (Plus, you don’t get related videos/comments crap – just pure video view)
    • Automatic seeking! YTWatcher records duration up to which user has watched the video if they exit the application while video is playing. So, next time when YTWatcher starts playing the video, it will start from that point only.
    • YTWatcher allows you to “Change User”. So, if user wants, they can make application show you subscription videos from different Google Account!
    • Automatic Login. YTWatcher keeps the YouTube connection information on your disk in encoded format. So, you don’t have to login every time you run the application. Second time and onwards (once you login successfully), just launch YTWatcher and it will start playing your unwatched videos!
    • Facebook Integration. You can share currently playing video with your friends on Facebook.
    • Twitter Integration. You can share currently playing video with the world through Twitter! 
    • Theater Mode. YTWatcher allows full screen view where all you see is just video (not even application title bar/menu/statusbar). Ideal for watching on TV or secondary monitor.
    • Ability to watch both Subscribed and Favorite videos from your YouTube account.
    • Ability to view the queue and re-order the videos in queue.
    • Advertisements free Video watching! Though this was not the objective of the application, currently YouTube does not show Advertisements in the method that’s used by application. (Note, Video Ads are not shown but still banner ads will popup at the bottom of the video!) 
    • Last but not the least, YTWatcher is updated automatically. You don’t even have to check for updates, it will just make sure you always have latest version.


1) Video Menu:


Video Menu contains options related to the video being played currently by the application. You can toggle the Play, skip the currently playing video if you don’t wish to watch it completely. Full screen will play the video in full screen mode (I like to call it Theater mode!). There are few share buttons which lets you share the video you are watching with Facebook or Twitter friends (Waiting for Google+ APIs in order to add that integration)! Change order will pop-up a dialog which will let you change the order in which videos will be played. I’ve listed a populated dialog from my subscriptions below. In order to change the order, all you gotta do is drag and drop the video to some other position and click on Apply! This dialog also contains filter/search capability to find the videos you are looking for quickly!


2) Help Menu:


Help menu contains option to open Frequently Asked Questions and About dialog. Note that application automatically updates itself so, you don’t have to check for updates.



3) Status Bar:


There are few Menus/Options in the status bar as well. Ability to switch the mode from Subscriptions to Favorite and v/s is only in the status bar (you can also hit shortcut keys to change the mode). You can play/pause the video from the button in the status bar. Also, there is an option to change volume of currently playing video with just one click!



4) Change User:

Menu called “Change User” in the menu bar lets you login using different YouTube account. (Please note that it will erase current video playback history for current user).


    • Client Operating System (Windows 7, Windows Vista & Windows XP). Please note, Windows Server 2008 (or R2) is not supported yet. This is mostly because of tightened security around what IE can load.
    • .NET Framework 4.0 installed.
    • Make sure you can play YouTube videos from Internet Explorer (make sure, Flash Player is installed).

How do I report bug or make a feature request?

    • Please leave a comment on this blog post for any feedback you may have.