As there is a lot of plain wrong or contradicting information and a LOT of hacks out there, all just confusing Windows Mobile users, I’ve decided to publish the one and only REAL guide to this question.
The new Mobile YouTube homepage is accessible at http://m.youtube.com/ from any Web browser, desktop or mobile alike. However, in order for the playback to work, you must use a browser accessible of passing control to external applications (in this case, the HTC Streaming Media player) because, when a Watch Video link is clicked (like the one in THIS screenshot), an external application, “Streaming Media”, will be invoked. This means you won’t be able to use, for example, the otherwise excellent and highly recommended Opera Mini. (Unfortunately, this also applies to the latest version, 4.0 beta.) This restriction, on the other hand, does NOT apply to the best Windows Mobile browser on both (Pocket PC and Smartphone) platforms, Opera Mobile. That is, you aren’t forced to use the built-in, in most respects inferior Internet Explorer Mobile.
First, some bad news (in addition to the fact that, currently, the mobile version of YouTube only has few converted videos).
- You’ll need the HTC Streaming Media player, which only comes with WM6 Pocket PC Professional) devices, but NOT Smartphones – that is, WM Standard devices. On the latter phones, clicking Mobile YouTube links result in Windows Media Player’s being invoked – but in vain, because, after trying to connect, it displays an error (screenshot HERE and HERE).
Fortunately, this problem can be VERY easily fixed on both WM5 Pocket PC’s and Smartphones and WM6 Smartphones.
Streaming Media is a full application, which also means it has its own icon and is directly runnable. However, you will want to prefer starting it from your Windows Mobile Web browsers by simply clicking streaming links like those of Mobile YouTube.
- You will need DIRECT Internet connection, as was the case with the well-known RealOne Player for Pocket PC. If you’ve ever tried to make the latter to play back streams (or, you’ve read my related article “How Can I Listen to/Watch RealOne Streamed Content (RealAudio/RealVideo) on my Pocket PC?”), you know well enough you can only do this if you have a direct connection to the Internet: that is, in most cases, over mobile phone-based (GPRS / EDGE / UMTS / HSDPA etc.) connections. Should you have a non-direct connection, you will see the “Failed to find network.” error message upon trying to play back streams (screenshot HERE). Unfortunately, most Wi-Fi connections (unless they put you in a DMZ (demilitarized zone), which is pretty rare) are unlikely to work and ActiveSync connections will NEVER work.
A quick note: I’ve thoroughly tested the latter by configuring Windows XP’s Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) to forward UDP ports 1024...1044 as can be seen in HERE (20 ports were the smallest amount the client allows for as can also be seen in HERE; note that, when tested, I’ve ticked in all these checkboxes) and HERE. In vain: it just didn’t work.
If you don’t have Streaming Media on your Windows Mobile handheld (because it’s WM5 only or a WM6 Smartphone and not a Pocket PC), get and install THIS file. Note that if it doesn’t exist, you can get it from HERE (make sure you unRAR the latter to get the CAB file). Also note that you can safely install the CAB file to a storage card.
Don’t listen to people that tell you to use other files – with them, you may end up having to, for example, import Registry scripts to create the necessary file / type associations so that Streaming Media can be invoked.
If you do have Streaming Media (or, have just installed it), just navigate to http://m.youtube.com/ and enjoy the videos.
Some example screenshots of showing all this in action (all taken by me on my QVGA and VGA WM5/ WM6 Pocket PC Phone Edition models and a WM5 176*220 HTC s310 (Oxygen) and a WM6 QVGA HTC s710 (Vox) Smartphones):
(WM6 VGA Pocket PC, officially shipped with Streaming Media, over GPRS – as can be seen, GPRS is just too slow to produce a decent image)
Now, three screenshots of models with the additionally installed Streaming Media:
(WM5 QVGA Pocket PC over EDGE – decent playback)
(WM5 176*220 Smartphone over EDGE – decent playback)
(WM6 QVGA Smartphone over EDGE – decent playback)
Cool, eh? Nice to know even low-end Smartphones are able to play back these kinds of stuff, isn’t it?
Note that, in order to install the player on application locked MS Smartphones, you will need to unlock them. See my other, related articles on doing this – for example, THIS.
What should you do if you get the "Failed to find network." error message?
Unfortunately, not much, but this also depends on your particular network settings.
If you're on a Wi-Fi network and you do have administrator rights to reconfigure the router(s), you can configure them to allow your mobile device to be in the DMZ - or, at least, configure UDP port forwarding (note that the latter didn't work in my tests as has also been mentioned above - this means DMZ may be the ONLY solution). Otherwise, if you use public Wi-Fi networks, you can't do anything.
If you're using a wireless (for example GSM) network, which doesn't support direct access, you can't do anything either. Your only choice is switching to another mobile phone network, which does. (About half of them do.)
Finally, don't forget that, even if you can't play Mobile YouTube videos, nothing is lost, except for the advantages of the 3GP streaming compared to the alternative methods:
- Direct Flash video playback (with Opera Mobile) takes a LOT of CPU time and may have stuttering playback even on the fastest, 624 MHz Windows Mobile devices, let alone slower ones
- Indirect video playback has an additional step requiring manual work including, at least, copying and pasting the URL of the given video clip. If they also employ transcoding (all solutions EXCEPT for the TCPMP-based playback, but the latter can't be used on MS Smartphones), the resulting video will be, in general, of lower quality and higher size than the original Flash video, which you don't necessarily want.
That is, you can still play regular YouTube videos. Either, as has just been explained, directly (with Opera Mobile 8.65- forget all the other browsers, particularly the latest, Flash-enabled, Technical Preview released in June of Netfront 3.4 - see my review of the browser for the why's), half-directly via (direct download, unfortunately, only works on PPC's and not Smartphones) or indirectly, using an online conversion service. I've elaborated on all these three alternatives in my past articles - make sure you check them out, should you need to rely on the "traditional" way of playback.
Additional info (you will NOT need to read them; the above tutorial should suffice. I only give you these URL’s so that you can see how much easier my tutorial is than trying to find out what to do when following community threads with millions of contradicting and/or misleading and/or outdated posts and hacks):
Probably the best, related XDA-Dev thread
youtube mobile problem
A PPCT thread on the problem