I recently started having an issue with YouTube playing a video without sound for 2 seconds, then stopping. This is a new laptop, so everything is fresh and new, leaving me with a ton of potential culprits: OS X, Safari 3.1.1, Flash, network, Perian, etc….
Googling showed that other people were having this issue across many OSes and browsers. Unfortunately, most of the advice was “reboot” or “change your network buffer” or “YouTube sucks!”. None of which helped me.
What did help, is downgrading from Flash Player 184.108.40.206 to 220.127.116.11 using the Adobe archive of Flash Players. I uninstalled the 18.104.22.168, and installed 22.214.171.124, and poof, no more problems with YouTube videos.
I hope this helps someone.