I recently discovered a nifty utility called MySpeed (for Windows and Mac) that lets you speed up the playback of online videos. I started using it last week, and now I can watch most online videos in half the time it used to take me. Obviously that’s a great time-saver.
It doesn’t work for all videos, but it works for anything Flash-based like YouTube videos and TED Talks videos. So you can watch a 20-minute video in about 10 minutes, or watch two videos in the time it used to take to watch just one.
You can increase the playback speed up to 5 times faster, but you’ll probably want to use 1.5x to 2.5x for most videos. I usually start at 2x and then gradually increase it once I get used to the speaker’s speech patterns. For a slow speaker, you can still get a comprehensible video at 3x speed.
You can also decrease the playback speed to as slow as 0.3x normal, which can be useful for highly technical information that you wish to digest more slowly. It’s also good for watching videos in languages where you aren’t perfectly fluent — you can slow down the rate of speech to hear each individual word more clearly.
The videos are automatically pitch-adjusted, so you won’t hear chipmunk voices. I was impressed with how easy it is to understand the audio as you change the speed. It may take your brain a few seconds to adjust though if you set it to 2x or faster.
The app comes with a 7-day free trial, and it’s very easy to use. You can download it, install it, and have it all figured out within 5 minutes or less.
The main control is a slider bar that pops up on your screen whenever you view a video in your web browser. It tells you whether or not the video is Flash-based, so then you know if you can speed it up.
This is one of those no-brainer apps that will boost your productivity right away. There’s really no learning curve to speak of. If you can use your mouse to move a slider left and right, you’ve mastered it. It does one thing and does it well.
If you watch online videos, especially “talking heads” videos, you’ll definitely save yourself some time, probably many hours over the course of each year. The faster playback is more engaging too. You can listen and comprehend material at least twice as fast as someone can speak it.
The full version is inexpensive (less than $30 at the time of this post). There’s also a premium version that works for offline videos too (under $100).
I was going to recommend this utility no matter what, but since they have an affiliate program, I’ll earn a small commission on each sale that results from my links. After doing the free trial, I purchased a copy of this app for myself, so in this case I’m a regular customer passing on something I think you’ll appreciate. Any commissions I happen to earn will be used to help me bring on new staff members.
On the publisher’s website you can play a little demo video to see how MySpeed works. Do the free trial, and you’ll see right away that this app will save you time and help you digest educational videos in half the time (and sometimes a third of the time).
Maybe now I can actually make it to the end of an Eckhart Tolle video without wanting to commit seppuku.
Thanks to Jim Kwik for telling me about this app.
For a related post I wrote on how to speed up audio, see Overclock Your Audio Learning.