How to use YouTube to watch great movies and documentaries

If you are sick of watching the same things on the television again and again but are unable to find a free alternative, perhaps you could consider turning to YouTube.

YouTube has a range of free movies and documentaries that are fascinating although sometimes it I hard to filter out, the truly great from some of the less interesting videos that are available.

There are other options available that do cost money but are relatively cheap, in terms of TV style entertainment, these include Netflix($8.99 to$14.99 a month) stan($10 a month) presto($$9.99 to$14.99 a month) Foxtel play($25 to $50 a month) ITunes( varies depending on amount of episodes, movies or renting movies) we will look into these in another article, but you should be aware they are available if you wish to pay for them.

There is also a paying element to YouTube, but in this article we will only be looking at how to optimize the free videos on YouTube.

To start using YouTube, simple search YouTube in Google or use the following link:

You will come to a screen that should look somewhat like the screen depicted below


In the search bar you should either type the title you are searching for or the area that you have an interest in.

For this example we will use the British monarchy, type in the subject and then either press enter or click on the magnifying glass at he end of the search bar.

A screen should appear with a list of the relevant videos available on YouTube. I personally would then use the filters to filter out shorter videos that be of no interest to me, if I wanted to watch a documentary.

To do this you will see under where I have searched there is a small dropdown menu that is titled filter and a small dropdown arrow and once you click on this you will see a selection of ways to sort your search:

Sorting by movie will often cost you money, in our case I would search by duration and I would choose long, as usually over 20 minutes. You can then scroll down and see a range of videos that are free and are 20minutes or more in duration.

Once you select a video by clicking on the small picture of the video, it will start playing. You will see on the right hand side there are a range of related videos, I personally find this is a great way to find other documentaries that might interest me as well.



If you click on the video while it is playing you will see a few buttons appear.

  1. The first is a white triangle pointing to the right if you click on it ,it will pause the video and the triangle will turn into two downward lines which means the video is paused, if you click it again it will play again and turn back into the triangle.
  2. The next button along is a triangle-followed y a line, this will automatically skip the video and move to the first video from the right hand side related videos.
  3. The following button is a speaker button and when you click on this a white line will appear, with a white button, the white button is a toggle that you can move and the closer you move it to the right the louder the volume will be and the further to the left the quieter it will be. If the speaker has a line through it then it means the video will be mute.
  4. You will also notice that there is a red bar, this indicates how much f the video you have seen in comparison to what is left, the numbers next to the speaker indicate how many minutes have been seen in comparison to how long the video is. You can move the red bar across to fast-forward, depending on your connection this may happen instantly or take time.
  5. The CC button to the right indicates closed captions, which can be turned on and off by clicking on this button.
  6. Clicking the button that looks like a cog, will lead you to the setting button

Which will allow you to turn auto play on or off. Auto play simply refers to YouTube automatically playing the next video in the line to the right.

It will allow you to turn annotations on or off. It will allow you to increase of decrease the speed of the video much like fast forward or rewind. It will allow you to turn subtitles on or off as well as increasing or decreasing the quality of the video, which may help if you have a particularly strong or particularly weak Internet or download connection.

  1. The unbroken rectangle will allow you to move the menu of video on the right, to be underneath the video currently playing.
  2. The final button is a broken square, which will expand the screen to take over your whole computer screen.
  3. The whole screen can be undone by pressing the escape key or pressing the broken square key which has now turned into this key


We will in future articles go into a little more detail about using YouTube but I hope this at least helps you use YouTube for your entertainment and education.

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