YouTube’s Desktop Player Now Works Better With Vertical Videos

Posted on July 30, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Google with 9 Comments

Google is rolling out an interesting update to the YouTube player on the desktop. Like mobile devices, the YouTube desktop player now adapts to the aspect ratios of the videos you are watching.

Previously, YouTube used to show black bars around videos that aren’t in the standard 16:9 aspect ratio. This included vertical videos, 4:3 videos, and videos with other respect ratios. That wasn’t really much of a problem for many, but Google is changing the way the YouTube player treats these videos in the different aspect ratios (via Android Police).

Videos that aren’t in the 16:9 aspect ratio will no longer have a black bar around them — instead, the player will adapt to the video’s true size. This is mostly useful for vertical videos, especially when you are viewing YouTube on a narrow window since the videos are now capable of adapting to the aspect ratio instead of being locked within the 16:9 aspect ratio.

For other videos, like 4:3 videos, the player looks slightly weird since we are used to seeing black bars around them and the lack of those black bars make the player seem broken because of the alignment inconsistencies. Google is also making it so the standard 16:9 videos make use of your screen’s white space when available for a better viewing experience.

Either way, the updated YouTube player is rolling out gradually, so you will eventually get the new update for your player. Google is also enabling the new dark theme for YouTube on Android this week.

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Comments (9)

9 responses to “YouTube’s Desktop Player Now Works Better With Vertical Videos”

  1. Rob_Wade

    I tend not to watch vertical videos. Stupid choice by people to record that way in the first place.

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to Rob_Wade:

      I'm not a fan either, but I have caught myself recording a few things that way when I know I'm going to share them via iMessage and when the subject is appropriate for vertical framing.

      • Davor Radman

        In reply to Chris_Kez:

        Yeah, there are occasions where it might be appropriate, but that is very, very rare, in my case.

        Like, a clown on stilts, or, Idk, something like that :)

        Seriously, maybe sometimes when FOV is too narrow.

        • Chris_Kez

          In reply to Markiz von Schnitzel:

          Yeah, I think it comes down to subject and viewing device. I mean, "portrait" photographs are a thing for a reason; sometimes you just want the focus on a human shaped window, and the surroundings are largely inconsequential. My wife recently sent me a video of my kid doing a goofy dance. In landscape it would have been mostly wasted space with a little image of the kid- which would be okay on a laptop or desktop, but not on a phone.

  2. Chris_Kez

    What is the YouTube Desktop Player? Do you just mean when you navigate to YouTube on a desktop browser?

  3. mclark2112

    Why can't phones just auto-widescreen a vertically held phone? There is certainly enough sensor for this. Vertical video is terrible!

  4. Davor Radman

    I wish this does not condone, or increase the number of, vertical videos.

  5. Waethorn

    At some point, I expect The Onion to make a video about Apple coming out with a video about "the best part about iPhone, now in a Mac" wherein they show a portrait mode laptop, and perhaps more funny, a portrait-mode keyboard.


    Or perhaps just a new 9:18 iPad.

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