Being able to play videos on your computer’s large screen while controlling their playback from your phone or tablet can be a great convenience, especially if you have a desktop PC and you want to relax on your couch or bed while watching the videos. YouTube Couch Mode is a Chrome extension that works with the de Mobo app for iOS and Android (free on both platforms) to deliver just that, by turning your smartphone or tablet into a remote control for YouTube. It lets you search for YouTube videos, play one of the related videos, go to the next/previous video in the channel, toggle full screen mode, and increase/decrease the volume. YouTube Couch Mode works on Vimeo as well, and its smartphone app has a link that will open Vimeo in your browser.
In addition to making a connection between your browser and your phone, the extension also automatically switches to large screen view in your browser so that the video player is all you see in the window. To get started with using the extension, install it to your browser and grab the de Mobo app for your smartphone. When you open YouTube on your PC, you will see a small media player icon in the address bar. Click it and wait until it shows you a QR code.
Launch the de Mobo app on your smartphone and tap ‘Create Connection’. The app will switch to camera mode to allow you to scan the QR code. After scanning the code, your browser will be listed as one of the connections in the app. After creating the connection, the app will switch to the remote control layout. Buttons for controlling the volume and moving between the next/previous videos in the same channel appear on either sides. Four buttons along the bottom let you mute, toggle full screen, open Vimeo, and refresh the page. At the top, you will find a search bar that lets you send the search query to your PC’s YouTube browser tab. Below it are thumbnails of some of the suggested videos, with the main play/pause control for the current video in the middle.
When controlling Vimeo, the app has a slightly different interface. It works for Vimeo’s Couch Mode and when watching a single video. The app and extension seem to communicate less efficiently on Vimeo, while the response is much quicker and more accurate on YouTube.
Both the app and extension are a great way to control YouTube if you’re watching videos with a group of people. It might also be a good tool to use when playing instructional videos to a classroom, allowing you to play/pause them when you need, and move on to another video whenever you want. The extension and app both work quite well, but they can be improved by adding the ability to play a video from the search results using only your smartphone.