youtubeplayback

We really prefer Vimeo.com around here, but that doesn’t stop people from uploading video to YouTube — meaning you have to live with the results.

You can make YouTube slightly less painful, however. Old news — the setting popped up a few weeks ago — but if you’re like me and haven’t changed your settings yet, now’s the time. Here’s how:

You’ll need to be logged in. Go to Account > Account (the header on your My Account Page) > Video Playback Quality and choose “I have a fast connection.” You don’t need a terribly fast connection, because the upshot of all of this is that you bump up to 480×360. (Yeah, I know — be still my beating heart. Vimeo, Blip, and others already have HD, and YouTube has 480×360.)

Oh, and it gets worse: not all videos have been converted to the new format.

And worse still: the content uploader apparently has no control over this whatsoever.

Did I mention how much I hate YouTube? Still, it’s worth the 30 seconds it takes to change the setting.

For more discussion:

Watch Higher Quality YouTube Videos [Wired.com How-to Wiki]

Videohelp Forum Thread

Anyone with uploading tips for taking advantage of this, or how we can lobby Google to give us something that doesn’t suck — just let us know.

  • http://www.youtube.com/samwab Sam

    Thanks for the heads up.
    Here is some beautiful digital motion by way of youtube. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42hgPLL8IrA&quot; title="Its a kinetic sculpture by troika called "Cloud"."

    I'm a little surprised by the hatred of youtube. The quality is horrible, but the quantity is truly revolutionary, and with some decent commenting tools to boot. It might not be feature rich but it is rock solid.

  • http://www.youtube.com/samwab Sam

    Whoops!

  • http://www.youtube.com/samwab Sam
  • http://www.otownmedia.com Richard Lainhart

    First: I've had my Video Quality settings on "Fast Connection" for some time, but that doesn't guarantee that you'll get the better quality. In fact, for me, it doesn't work at all. In my case at least, I still have to use the "&fmt=18" URL trick to invoke the better quality. (I'd be curious to hear if just changing the settings works correctly for others, and if so, what's your OS and browser.)

    For music-based clips, however, it's definitely worth it, as you get both a higher bitrate and stereo playback.

    In terms of preparing clips for upload to try to ensure that the higher-quality version is available, after some trial and error, I've been encoding them at 640×480, 30fps, H.264 multi-pass encoding, with a target daterate between 700 and 1000 kilobits/second. Audio seems to work well at 16-bit, stereo, 44.1 kHz, using AAC encoding at 192 kbps.

    You can see, and more importantly hear, the difference here on my YouTube channel – http://www.youtube.com/rlainhart. Try, for example, the clip entitled "Jordan Rudess Ethno 1." Try it first at the default version, and note the audio in particular (headphones or external speakers will help make the difference clearer). Then add the URL extension "&fmt=18" (without the quotes) to the URL, and wait for the new clip to load. You'll know it's linked correctly when you see "Watch this video in lower quality for faster playback" beneath the clip. You should hear vastly-improved audio as a result.

    Be aware that it can take more than 24 hours for the higher-quality version to circulate through the system, for some reason, so don't expect the ULR extension thing to work immediately after you've uploaded it.

  • http://www.otownmedia.com Richard Lainhart

    Also whoops.

    First: I've had my Video Quality settings on "Fast Connection" for some time, but that doesn't guarantee that you'll get the better quality. In fact, for me, it doesn't work at all. In my case at least, I still have to use the "&fmt=18" URL trick to invoke the better quality. (I'd be curious to hear if just changing the settings works correctly for others, and if so, what's your OS and browser.)

    For music-based clips, however, it's definitely worth it, as you get both a higher bitrate and stereo playback.

    In terms of preparing clips for upload to try to ensure that the higher-quality version is available, after some trial and error, I've been encoding them at 640×480, 30fps, H.264 multi-pass encoding, with a target daterate between 700 and 1000 kilobits/second. Audio seems to work well at 16-bit, stereo, 44.1 kHz, using AAC encoding at 192 kbps.

    You can see, and more importantly hear, the difference here on my YouTube channel – http://www.youtube.com/rlainhart. Try, for example, the clip entitled "Jordan Rudess Ethno 1." Try it first at the default version, and note the audio in particular (headphones or external speakers will help make the difference clearer). Then add the URL extension "&fmt=18" (without the quotes) to the URL, and wait for the new clip to load. You'll know it's linked correctly when you see "Watch this video in lower quality for faster playback" beneath the clip. You should hear vastly-improved audio as a result.

    Be aware that it can take more than 24 hours for the higher-quality version to circulate through the system, for some reason, so don't expect the ULR extension thing to work immediately after you've uploaded it.

  • http://www.otownmedia.com Richard Lainhart

    Dammit!

    First: I've had my Video Quality settings on "Fast Connection" for some time, but that doesn't guarantee that you'll get the better quality. In fact, for me, it doesn't work at all. In my case at least, I still have to use the "&fmt=18" URL trick to invoke the better quality. (I'd be curious to hear if just changing the settings works correctly for others, and if so, what's your OS and browser.)

    For music-based clips, however, it's definitely worth it, as you get both a higher bitrate and stereo playback.

    In terms of preparing clips for upload to try to ensure that the higher-quality version is available, after some trial and error, I've been encoding them at 640×480, 30fps, H.264 multi-pass encoding, with a target daterate between 700 and 1000 kilobits/second. Audio seems to work well at 16-bit, stereo, 44.1 kHz, using AAC encoding at 192 kbps.

    You can see, and more importantly hear, the difference here on my YouTube channel – http://www.youtube.com/rlainhart. Try, for example, the clip entitled "Jordan Rudess Ethno 1." Try it first at the default version, and note the audio in particular (headphones or external speakers will help make the difference clearer). Then add the URL extension "&fmt=18" (without the quotes) to the URL, and wait for the new clip to load. You'll know it's linked correctly when you see "Watch this video in lower quality for faster playback" beneath the clip. You should hear vastly-improved audio as a result.

    Be aware that it can take more than 24 hours for the higher-quality version to circulate through the system, for some reason, so don't expect the ULR extension thing to work immediately after you've uploaded it.

  • http://www.otownmedia.com Richard Lainhart

    First – I've had my Video Quality settings on "Fast Connection" for some time, but that doesn't guarantee that you'll get the better quality. In fact, for me, it doesn't work at all. In my case at least, I still have to use the "&fmt=18" URL trick to invoke the better quality. (I'd be curious to hear if just changing the settings works correctly for others, and if so, what's your OS and browser.)

    For music-based clips, however, it's definitely worth it, as you get both a higher bitrate and stereo playback.

    In terms of preparing clips for upload to try to ensure that the higher-quality version is available, after some trial and error, I've been encoding them at 640×480, 30fps, H.264 multi-pass encoding, with a target daterate between 700 and 1000 kilobits/second. Audio seems to work well at 16-bit, stereo, 44.1 kHz, using AAC encoding at 192 kbps.

    You can see, and more importantly hear, the difference here on my YouTube channel – http://www.youtube.com/rlainhart. Try, for example, the clip entitled "Jordan Rudess Ethno 1." Try it first at the default version, and note the audio in particular (headphones or external speakers will help make the difference clearer). Then add the URL extension "&fmt=18" (without the quotes) to the URL, and wait for the new clip to load. You'll know it's linked correctly when you see "Watch this video in lower quality for faster playback" beneath the clip. You should hear vastly-improved audio as a result.

    Be aware that it can take more than 24 hours for the higher-quality version to circulate through the system, for some reason, so don't expect the ULR extension thing to work immediately after you've uploaded it.

  • http://www.otownmedia.com Richard Lainhart

    Well, I've tried four times, as you see, to post my reply to this, but there's something about it this system doesn't like. Too bad – it had some useful info about prepping clips for high-quality upload.

  • http://www.otownmedia.com Richard Lainhart

    In terms of preparing clips for upload to try to ensure that the higher-quality version is available, after some trial and error, I've been encoding them at 640×480, 30fps, H.264 multi-pass encoding, with a target daterate between 700 and 1000 kilobits/second. Audio seems to work well at 16-bit, stereo, 44.1 kHz, using AAC encoding at 192 kbps.

  • http://www.otownmedia.com Richard Lainhart

    Be aware that it can take more than 24 hours for the higher-quality version to circulate through the system, for some reason, so don't expect the ULR extension thing to work immediately after you've uploaded it.

  • http://www.otownmedia.com Richard Lainhart

    You can see, and more importantly hear, the difference here on my YouTube channel – http://www.youtube.com/rlainhart. Try, for example, the clip entitled "Jordan Rudess Ethno 1." Try it first at the default version, and note the audio in particular (headphones or external speakers will help make the difference clearer). Then add the URL extension "&fmt=18" (without the quotes) to the URL, and wait for the new clip to load. You'll know it's linked correctly when you see "Watch this video in lower quality for faster playback" beneath the clip. You should hear vastly-improved audio as a result.

  • http://www.otownmedia.com Richard Lainhart

    I've had my Video Quality settings on "Fast Connection" for some time, but that doesn't guarantee that you'll get the better quality. In fact, for me, it doesn't work at all. In my case at least, I still have to use the "&fmt=18" URL trick to invoke the better quality. (I'd be curious to hear if just changing the settings works correctly for others, and if so, what's your OS and browser.)

    For music-based clips, however, it's definitely worth it, as you get both a higher bitrate and stereo playback.

  • http://www.otownmedia.com Richard Lainhart

    OK, I had to break my response up into smaller chunks to get it accepted – sorry about all those empty posts.

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  • Moore

    This SUX!