An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

Send your tips to gostips@gmail.com.

March 2, 2008

YouTube Tests Higher Resolution Videos

Following the announcement from November, YouTube started to test higher quality videos. If you append &fmt=6 to the URL of a YouTube video, you should get better quality videos. Note that this only works for a small number of videos.

Here's an example of video that's available both in the regular version (320x240) and in a higher quality encoding (448x336). The audio is now encoded at a sample rate of 44100 Hz, up from 22050 Hz. As you can see in the screenshots below, the right image is clearer and more detailed.


While this increase of resolution might seem minor, for the example above YouTube's re-encoded FLV file is more than twice bigger than the old one (from 9 MB to 22 MB), so it will load much slower.

If you append &fmt=18, YouTube downloads the video as a MP4 (H264 with AAC audio), encoded at 480x360. Here's the same video encoded as MP4.


To make things easier, there's a Greasemonkey script that automatically adds the magic parameter for you.

Related:
A discussion about the technical details

28 comments:

  1. Oh, thank God. After the shutdown of stage6, we got some good news..........

    ReplyDelete
  2. yay for video quality BUT they should consider the chance of also adding stereo sound (instead of the increased bitrate and keeping it mono imho).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Is it only available in the US? Because I'm connected from Slovenia and those example videos you've linked are all 8.8 MB with the same resolution. I'm using potable FF 2 in WinXP.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm not in the US either. Just for reference, I'll post the link to the MP4 file.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Couldn't ya post a better sample vid... geeez. Is it all 12 year olds on here?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hopefully they plan to scale their servers to handle the additional load. It can already be annoyingly slow at times for some videos to load, even on a cable connection.

    ReplyDelete
  7. They need to add a pref to automatically show the higher-rez version if it's available

    ReplyDelete
  8. If some of you use the combo Firefox-UnPlug, it will NOT work !!
    UnPlug only sees the basic non-amended version.
    You have to reach deeper into the Trick-Box.
    On MacOSX, help yourself out with Safari and it's Content Container ( Activity ) which is simply the instant cache display. From there you can intercept the amended version as it is loaded.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The video quality does look better. Colors are much more defined in the new video format and there is a lot less blurring around the edges, especially during high motion. This is great news.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think there should be an option for higher-quality video, rather than making all the videos like that. Some people have low-bandwidth. There should be an account option or something. If you sign-up, you can turn on that option.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Lol, looks like I'm not the only one who's loathing the stage6 shutdown.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The Video is only Higher Quality. Not Higher Bandwith (H.264 only). H.264 enables the use of higher quality at equal or less of the size of say Sorenson spark or vp6 (what youtube uses). There also will be no more strain on the server. Hypothetically there will be less. since h.264 would mean a smaller size. And for that grease monkey script don't let it fool you. "Youtube HD" its not hd its HQ, high quality.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Doesn't work in Safari for me. Seems to load about half way but no play!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have no problem loading standard and the hi-res mpeg4 versions in main browser Opera 9.26 for windows XP-sp2 32bit.

    ReplyDelete
  15. It seems the higher quality versions of videos will have mono sound, even if the "normal" flv version has stereo sound (if the uploader encodes the video into .flv him/herself before uplaoding, with stereo mp3 sound, youtube will leave the .flv as-is and it will have stereo sound), but the higher quality versions will be downmixed into mono, 112 kbits AAC =(

    This makes me use dailymotion instead.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I bet it still won't be the same as Stage6. VEOH is no where near as good and as for Vuze. Well, let us not go there in this forum!

    I don't know where all these people get the idea we need more software from their company on our systems to handle all the different formats. Microsoft has already decided that for us.

    Divx was by far the best, I know of, for size/ quality ratios. Mp4 HD is excellent but too big for most. MKV just a container for other formats; nothing more (thanks for not much Vuze/Azureus).

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great! And what about Google Video?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Ant idea if any of this will be in wide screen format? 4:3 is dead surely? If it is already and I missed it ignore my post :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I want to know about screen format too, any comment?

    ReplyDelete
  20. I cant believe youtube still is using mono...Its like the 1950's around here

    ReplyDelete
  21. YouTube is gay! FlickR is the Shit! Reason being is because FlickR's videos are 10 times better quality. YouTube should know how big they are now and they need to improve dramatically to beat its competitors. YouTube should have HD quality and everyone should automatically be sent to a HD video rather than having a fucking button saying Click for high quality. First of all its not that big of a difference. They need to improve more on their quality stupid bricks!

    ReplyDelete
  22. yes, it would be nice if high quality was the default, but there are rgreasemonkey script and ways around

    ReplyDelete
  23. My Personal
    http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=lucianolll


    All Youtube videos in High Quality Definition, use fmt=18

    ###
    View all videos in High Definition Quality &fmt=18 in Youtube
    Instal Firefox or Opera or Chrome
    www.mozilla.org www.opera.com www.google.com/chrome

    ###
    Greasespot - Greasemonkey Addon for Firefox 3
    Greasemonkey - Firefox Add-ons
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/748
    http://www.greasespot.net/

    ###
    http://userscripts.org/users/46776
    http://userscripts.org/users/46776/scripts
    my Youtube

    ###

    ReplyDelete
  24. I think HD is now available by default on YouTube.

    ReplyDelete
  25. thanks for google we got some good news.
    yes, it would be nice if high quality was the default, but there are rgreasemonkey script and ways around

    ReplyDelete
  26. Youtibe is awesom platform for all type of videos thanks for share

    ReplyDelete
  27. the current YouTube resolution is very high... there are a lot that being improved over the course of 3 years... and watching video in youtube now is super fast and clear. thanks to youtube team.

    ReplyDelete