Double Vision: watch web video while you work


Double Vision is a freeware program designed for viewing web video (such as YouTube, Netflix, and Fancast) while you work, by providing a semi-transparent player that shows through all other windows and programs that are visible on your desktop.

Imagine that you’re at work pulling reports from the database or working on spreadsheets, but that you also just absolutely need to follow developments in the Wimbeldon match that is going on at the same time, or a landmark speech by President Obama (that would be me in the latter case).
Typically what I would do is use my headphones, minimize the browser or media player, and follow the audio alone. Except now multitaskers and bored workers everywhere can rejoice: with Double Vision you can do your work while having your video showing semi-transparently under your spreadsheet or whatever application you’re using.

Studies have shown that worker’s productivity increases by 15% while they use Double Vision (yes I’m just making this up). The irony is that I was actually introduced to this software by a coworker (thanks DAK!). More notes below:

  • Plays video from the internet: i.e. anything that you would use the browser to view; does not play local video files.
  • Transparency: you can control the level of transparency you want through a slider.
  • How to use: browse to or type in the URL of the website you want and navigate to your video. In some cases (e.g. for YouTube) Double Vision seems to automatically zoom onto the video DoubleVision Screenshotand hide all other page contents; if not, resize Double Vision around the video such that only the video is showing. Finally press the “Go Double Vision” button on the top left, which will sort of “burn” the Double Vision semitransparent player onto your screen so it shows through all other windows.
  • Hotkeys: Ctrl+Alt will bring the player back into focus, while Ctrl+Esc will exit the semitransparent state and allow you to use the controls. You can set it to mute the sound as well, although curiously it doesn’t automatically un-mute when you resume playing the video (for that you’ll have to go to your volume control dialog).
  • Auto skins: an option where Double Vision automatically changes its skin to match that of the video service being used (for example Netflix, Hulu, and Youtube).

Wish list (or how this program can be even better)

  • A redesign of the user interface: currently it looks somewhat … unprofessional; they could do a lot better.
  • The ability to customize the hotkeys used.
  • Hulu support: while both the website and the player purport Hulu support, I was not able to get Hulu videos playing on this (got page missing/404 errors). And yes I am in the US and can get it to play on other browsers.

The verdict: I would say this is a very innovative and interesting software that does exactly what it purports to do and does it quite well. I would be happier if they made it look better (as per my wish list above), but other than that I would recommend it to overworked people everywhere!

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista. Requires an internet connection

Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 2.15 megs).