I'm currently trying to watch Murray vs. Djokovic [US Open Final 2012] on Youtube, but I'm struggling because of two limitations:

This it causing me a lot of frustration. Because of the way Youtube handles video buffering, I'm having to watch it in 1.5 minute bursts.

I don't think Youtube are the only culprit here - other players, like BBC iPlayer, also cause similar issues by not giving the user any control over buffering.

Youtube's strategy

Youtube's strategy is built up to discourage waiting for your video to buffer. Here's what I've observed about how Youtube's video player works:

The goal here is clear - they want you to be able to watch video as soon as you start playing it with no waiting with the least amount of hassle. If you're on a better connection you'll see better quality video, but most of the time quality isn't that important.

Also I imagine they deliberately limit buffering on paused videos because it significantly reduces the load on their servers, which is understandable, Youtube is as popular as it is.

The problem

Elements of this strategy are great. That they support multiple qualities is great, and that they can pick your quality automatically based on your connection speed. Most of the time quality is not important, what you really want is for your viewing not to be interrupted.

However, they completely fail in their goal to make video playback smooth and flawless. Everyone I know of has had to pause Youtube video to try to build up a buffer. Youtube clearly think everyone is on a decent broadband internet connection (like Google Fibre) - which is a bit silly given that even in America the average quality of broadband internet is not that high.

Also, the Youtube player tries to make too many of these decisions for the user. Anyone who watches a lot of online video knows what a buffer is and would be able to control it well if they were given the chance.

The solution

I think Youtube need to:

And they can do that as follows:

Telling youtube

Of course, if I'm going to complain about this, I should probably let Youtube know.

Yahoo Answers told me to post it on their Facebook page so that's what I did.