For whatever reason, some websites just love to open video players in tiny popup windows that make regular browser features and extensions difficult to access. Judging from the success of streaming sites like YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu that play video without popups, that approach is obviously not necessary, but sites using these popups don’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
The ESPN3 website is a good example of a site that uses unnecessary popups. Here’s the popup window that shows up when you watch any of the content there, for example:
It’s great that ESPN makes it simple to stream video from so many events, but the interface can be frustrating sometimes. This stripped down popup window definitely lacks some of the features that you’d expect from a regular tab.
Particularly, the buttons that extensions, like Google Cast, add to the right of the address bar are missing in the minimal popup window:
Since the ESPN3 video opens in a bare bones popup window, the Google Cast extension button to send it to a Chromecast device is missing. So, how to stream this video to a Chromecast?
Breaking out of popups
There are two ways to get around this popup window problem. The first method works in most any browser and is helpful to understand in some other situations. The second approach is to use a Chrome-specific feature that makes jumping out of these popup windows even easier.
Option #1: Copy the popup’s URL into a new tab
These video popups look like special video player windows, but they’re really just like any other web page. The main difference is that they happen to be laid out to best fit inside a certain size window.
In the screenshots above, you can see that the tennis match I was streaming lived at this address:
That address points to a regular web page that contains the video player and other content you see in the popup. That page is specifically designed to fit best in a certain sized window, but there’s nothing at all stopping you from copying the URL in that popup window’s address bar and pasting it as the address for a regular new tab in your browser.
Doing that with the with the tennis match I was streaming from ESPN3 earlier gets me the same page with the video player embedded, in a regular tab with easy access to my extensions:
Option #2: Let Chrome do it for you
Chrome actually has a handy hidden feature to automate the process of moving a popup window into a regular tab. It’s not easy to find if you don’t know the feature is there, but it’s quick and easy once you know where to look.
If you right-click on the title bar (the very top part) of the popup window, there’s a
Show as tab option right there in the context menu:
Clicking on that option does exactly what it says and reloads the popup in a regular tab with all the extension buttons that you would normally expect.