Why Does My YouTube Flicker?


YouTube is the predominant online video sharing service and its content library is growing at exponential rates. The website receives 3 billion video views a day as of November 2011, and 48 hours of footage are uploaded to the service every minute. But even though it is a widely used and visited destination, there is still a chance individual users may have difficulty viewing clips on YouTube. Performance problems like flickering videos can often be addressed by upgrading software or modifying settings.

Adobe Flash Player Plug-In

  • In order to view streaming media on online video sharing services like YouTube, your Internet browser needs to be equipped with the Adobe Flash Player Plug-in. The free component activates playback for digital video that is compressed in the Flash format. If you notice any flickering in the YouTube videos you play, it is possible that your version of the Adobe Flash plug-in is out of date. An obsolete component may have difficulty reading streaming media if it was encoded with recent technology. To obtain the latest version of Adobe Flash Player plug-in, go directly to the Adobe Support Center website and select the Get the Latest Version link. Click the "Agree and install now" button to set up the component on your system. An "Installation Complete" message will display when the Adobe Flash Player plug-in has been successfully installed.


  • HTML5 is the next edition of the standard markup language, HTML. The formatting platform is being revised to support a more dynamic user interface and facilitate the integration of media elements. When a Web page is written with HTML5, users will not have to use the Adobe Flash plug-in to view streaming media. In January 2010, YouTube introduced an HTML5-based video player. The service automatically enrolls users with supported Internet browsers into a trial that exclusively uses the new framework. If your YouTube videos flicker, it is possible that you were either automatically entered into the HTML5 trial or you mistakenly opted in. Since HTML5 is still under development, you may experience playback problems even if your Internet browser supports the format. To opt out of the trial simply visit YouTube’s HTML5 page and click the Leave the HTML5 Trial link at the bottom of the page.

Internet Browser Upgrade

  • An outdated Internet browser can also be responsible for performance problems with streaming media. If YouTube flickers whenever you access the page, you may need to obtain the latest version of your Internet browser. While you can do this by uninstalling and re-installing the application, it is possible to renew your software in just a few clicks. If using Internet Explorer, go to the Tools tab on the program menu and select Windows Update. If using Firefox, go to the Help tab on the program menu and select Check for Updates. If using Chrome, click the wrench icon on the program toolbar and select Update Google Chrome. After you initiate the software upgrade, follow the onscreen prompts to set up the new features.

Media Encoding

  • Performance problems in digital video are commonly attributed to faulty encoding. If a YouTube video flickers despite your playing it with supported software, the video itself is probably defective. In this case there is no way to compensate for the problematic playback.

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