You may have noticed that sites with lots of video embeds on the same page may suffer from performance issues due to player load overhead. My colleagues Greg Schechter and Phil Harnish suggested not loading the player at all to handle this use case, you can find more info in the GDD talk entitled HTML5, Flash and the Battle for Faster YouTube Cat Videos.
After Pamela Fox asked me about this issue today I decided to prototype a simple example of how a workaround might work. You’ll find the code here. It loads thumbnails and replaces them with the YouTube iframe player upon click. Pretty simple, isn’t it?