YouTube's domination on the market of video-sharing is quite obvious, so numerous applications, such as HUDTube, have emerged to improve the interaction with the popular website. YouTube is easy to use and provides a multitude of features, so you can enjoy watching your favorite clips online. Still, it can be tweaked.
Two areas explored by HUDTube are accessibility and management of the video content. If you're looking for a different approach to YouTube, then HUDTube is the way to go.
HUDTube allows you to access YouTube, Vimeo and local videos with just a few clicks, and provides a satisfying way of organizing these videos into playlists.
Being a desktop application, it occupies as little as 2.7 MB of your hard drive space, and uses up just a minimum amount of your CPU's processing power. As for the price, it can be purchased from the Mac App Store for 1.99$.
Aesthetically speaking, HUDTube’s interface is not something out of the ordinary. Its main window is ultra-simple, containing the play/pause buttons with the progress bar and, of course, the playback area. The only thing missing in the control bar is the option to change the video quality: 240p, 360p, 480p, 720p, or 1080p.
The buttons and the progress bar look very similar to what YouTube has to offer. The other major interface component – The Playlist Editor – is not remarkable either, yet it’s pleasing to the eye. In a nutshell, simplicity and elegance are keywords here.
Another aspect is that you can change the window's opacity and size. If you want to have HUDTube's window only a bit visible, simply adjust the opacity via the window's right click menu or from the menulet, and the size by click-dragging the lower right corner.
There’s no need to go further into detail about HUDTube’s appearance since its value, which we’re going to talk about in the next paragraphs, relies more on what it does than on what it looks like. Overall, HUDTube has a clean and user-friendly look, and you will have no trouble using this application.
Since it is a menu bar based application, HUDTube's options can be accessed very easily. Its menu provides access to every feature, specifically the play/pause/volume options and, most importantly, the playlists. A menulet is provided as well, which offers a quicker path to all the important options.
In order to create playlists, videos need to be placed in HUDTube's Inbox, aka the place where all your added videos are stored. The Inbox can be viewed as a (vast) self-created source of videos from which you can extract your favorite clips and organize them into playlists.
Unfortunately, there is no option to remove videos from this place, nor from the Playlists. The Inbox videos can also be watched as a whole, since the Inbox behaves like a normal Playlist.
One alternative to populate the Inbox, which is probably the most popular nowadays, is to drag and drop the video’s thumbnail, favicon or link (or movie file, in case of videos from your hard drive) on HUDTube’s playback area.
Another, less known alternative is to ‘import’ YouTube playlists. For this to work, you need to drag a video from your YouTube playlist onto HUDTube. By doing so, the YouTube playlist containing that video will be partially transferred - partially because it seems that only some videos are copied from your YouTube playlist to HUDtube’s Inbox, and others are left out.
If you don't feel like dragging links to add them to the Inbox, you can copy paste. This may save you a small amount of time. The steps are as follows: copy link, select application window (or the Dock icon) and paste. Once the Inbox has been populated, creating Playlists is as easy as pie.
Playlists are created/edited in a separate window – the Playlist window, which can be accessed from the menulet or from HUDTube's "Playlists" menu. Keyboard shortcuts fans will also be satisfied, as the Playlists window can be opened with 'CMD+1'.
This window will display a sidebar on the left, containing your Inbox and playlists. The plus button is below it - clicking on it will create new playlists. Furthermore, a Playlist is populated by simply dragging videos from the Inbox and dropping them onto the Playlists.
If you'd like to rearrange your clips in a Playlist, you're in luck. This can be done by mouse-dragging them up or down. Also, each video displays a watch-count and its 'author' or, better yet, the YouTube uploader.
You can create an unlimited number of playlists that can be easily renamed or deleted later on. One can even drag items from a playlist to another. Sadly, users will have to settle for only a few options to manage the videos inside the Playlist.
Lastly, playlist videos can be played just like with a regular media player: shuffled, in order or on repeat. It should be mentioned that auto-repeat (of a single song) is a noteworthy addition here, one that YouTube doesn't provide.
Even though the application is not super manageable, you can make good use of it. Specifically, you can watch YouTube and Vimeo videos (or the ones from your own hard drive) in an independent desktop application, making the browser obsolete. Converting YouTube playlists into HUDTube playlists is also a plus, even if the conversion is only partial.
Then, you can organize these clips and access them with just a couple of clicks. Also, thanks to its stealthy interface and low memory consumption, it runs almost unnoticeable on your Mac system.
The primary downside is that you cannot erase any video from the Playlists or Inbox once you've added them. HUDTube should provide a lot more options to manage your videos. The only way to rearrange videos in a Playlist is to drag them yourself in the order that you prefer.
Another disadvantage is that the number of YouTube playlist videos that can be ‘imported’ to HUDTube is limited, the reason of which is unknown.
Also, everything in the playlist editor lacks a context menu, which may give the impression that you have too little control over your videos. As for the playback window, it would have been better if it had an option to change the video quality.
Although you cannot clear the Inbox content or manage your videos in more advanced ways, the truth is that HUDTube is an interesting asset to YouTube and Vimeo. For those who are happy with YouTube just the way it is, the app may not prove to be a great enhancement, but others may find this app’s resources something they have longed for.
The application runs independently of your browser (which is great if you keep a lot of windows/tabs open), it gives you access to your predefined video Playlists in just a few mouse clicks, and it will also allow you to change its window's size or opacity with ease.
Here are some snapshots of the application in action: