All modern streams use web plugins that rely on DirectX 10+ for hardware decoding.
There are alternatives for playing just the video content for many sites (including Youtube)
Both "Media Player Classic - Home Cinema" and "Media Player Classic - Black Edition" are excellent streaming and capturing programs, and Black Edition will recognise Youtube links, and can even play Youtube playlists
For live streams things get a little messy, but I intend to make it simpler
The CLI program Livestreamer Can stream data from many sites including;
* YouTube Live
For the full list, visit this link
http://livestreamer.tanuki.se/en/latest ... gin-matrix
Livestreamer fetches the data, and hands it to a player capable of streaming from "STDIN"
VLC is the main choice, and the config is preconfigured with VLC options.
However Windows XP users still have the same problem of most software only using DX10 functionality for hardware GPU decoding. VLC is too slow for XP, unless you are watching a low quality stream.
The Media Player Classic series can all decode using DX9 functions, so you will need to add a new line to the Livestreamer config when it opens.
1) Download and install at least version 1.7 of "MPC-Home Cinema" (Black Edition currently does not support Livestreamer) http://mpc-hc.org
2) Download and install the latest "Livestreamer" http://livestreamer.tanuki.se
At the end of the install, it will ask you if you want to edit the config. Say yes (it is a pain to find later).
Notepad should open with the current config. Add the location of MPC-HC so your config looks like mine, or adjust for the location you chose.
eg. player="C:\Program Files\Media Player Classic - Home Cinema\mpc-hc.exe"
The first section looks like this;
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# Path to a video player that can read from standard input (e.g VLC, mplayer)
# Important: You must use a quoted path if there are spaces in the path. This only
# applies to the player and not the rtmpdump path since the player command is passed
# through the "shell" to allow parameters to be passed to the player.
player="C:\Program Files\Media Player Classic - Home Cinema\mpc-hc.exe"
#player="C:\Program Files (x86)\VideoLAN\VLC\vlc.exe"
# Using --file-caching is recommended, but is only supported in VLC 2.0+
#player="C:\Program Files (x86)\VideoLAN\VLC\vlc.exe" --file-caching=5000
#player="C:\Program Files\VideoLAN\VLC\vlc.exe" --file-caching=5000
Adding or removing a # switches a line off or on.
3) Playing the streams and saving favourites is best done by making batch files for each channel, and saving them somewhere convenient.
For my example, I will make a batch file to watch "UnrealEngine" at Twitch.tv
First we need to know what streams are available, so we use Livestreamer to find them.
It runs from the "Command Line Interface" (DOS/CLI), so first you have to open a DOS-box by typing "CMD" in the "Run" box on the start menu.
In the DOS window that now opens, typing
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Add your choice of stream to the address and try again.
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livestreamer http://twitch.tv/UnrealEngine worst
livestreamer http://twitch.tv/UnrealEngine mobile_chunked
If everything works fine, you should now be watching the live stream
To make it quick and easy to watch a channel with my settings, I now save that line in a plain txt file as "UnrealEngine.bat"
This can now be simply double-clicked to open the channel.
You can simply use the twitch page to pop-out the chat box and then close the page.
Now you have 2 resizeable windows, and lots of CPU.
Opera users can bookmark the chat box as a "panel" item, and open and close it in the side of the browser.exe