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How do I get YouTube videos embedded in email messages to work?


I’m using Mozilla Thunderbird, version 14. On occasion, I get an email with
an embedded YouTube video. The problem is where the video is supposed to be
displayed is just a black rectangle. I’m wondering if there’s a configuration
setting that needs to be set or what? In a sense, I don’t really care that
much, but I’d like to at least see what’s there with regards to the video. I’ve
queried the Thunderbird forum but get no response. Any ideas?

In this excerpt from
Answercast #47
, I look at the reason why videos do not display well in emails
and suggest an easy alternative.

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Emailed videos

Actually, I have two ideas. One is that you need to have “Show
” turned on for that particular sender.

  • What “Show images” does is it, by default, prevents remote content from
    being displayed in an email message when you look at it.

That’s done to prevent spammers from realizing that you’ve opened their
message. It also can be used to prevent other content from being downloaded
because you simply opened your message.

So, at some point, when you take a look at that message, if that’s the

  • There should be a link or a line there that says Click here to
    view images
    or Click here to view remote
  • And in some cases, there will be a line that says, “Click to always
    allow this sender’s emails to have its content viewed

So that’s one thing.

YouTube is for web pages

The other thing is that, in all honesty, YouTube videos weren’t really meant
to be embedded in email. I don’t say that as an intentional decision on
YouTube’s part. More that email (HTML email or rich email) doesn’t really
support all of the features that a web page does.

  • The embedding code that YouTube provides is intended to be used when
    somebody’s creating a web page and they want that video to be displayed on
    their web page.

Now, some people, clearly, are using that to try to embed that video into an
email message. Ultimately, that’s not really the right thing to do for this
and for some other reasons.

A link is better

What they really should be doing is just giving you the link:

  • Give you the link to the video on;

  • And let you click on that link to go view the video.

Now, I don’t know what people are including with the message that is
included with this embedded video, but that’s my recommendation – that you try
and get from them the actual link to YouTube.

It might already be a link

It is possible maybe that if you actually click on the black rectangle
that you’re seeing, it may do something like ask you if you want to load the
content or potentially even take you to

Certainly that is something that should be safe to try. It will, at least,
give you a bit more information:

  • But ultimately embedding videos in email like that isn’t the right way to go
    about it.

  • Whoever is sending you this, should be sending you a link instead.

Do this

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1 thought on “How do I get YouTube videos embedded in email messages to work?”

  1. I would be very, very careful about clicking on videos in emails unless you know the sender. I’ve gotten videos in emails that have nothing to do with YouTube, but may prompt for a codec installation which may very well be, in reality, malware of some sort.

    So, again, I would BE VERY CAREFUL about videos in emails.


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