Some youtube videos have a link below them that says: “watch this video in higher quality.” If the link is clicked, the video reloads with a better image quality, but with the same dimensions. It appears that this feature is retroactive, appearing on videos that were uploaded a while ago and did not have this feature originally.
As an example, here’s a video that was uploaded over a year ago; I watched it about half a year ago, and I distinctly remember that this option was not available then:
When I googled [site:www.youtube.com “watch this video in higher quality”] I got 3,280 hits. Perhaps the number will gradually increase with time.
Earlier this month, Ionut Alex. Chitu already reported how you can append a special parameter to some URLs to get hi-quality videos. Dariusz Siedlecki, who also sent this in after stumbling on it on YouTube, says “The quality is better, and the audio is WAY louder. So this is [basically] just like adding ’&fmt=6’ to the URL, only now visible.” CNet back in November also reported on YouTube’s plans to offer higher quality videos:
[YouTube co-founder Steve Chen] confirmed that in YouTube’s internal archive, all video is stored at the native resolution in which it was sent. However, he said, a large portion of YouTube videos are pretty poor quality to begin with – 320x240. Streaming them in high-quality mode isn’t going to help much.
Here’s a quality comparison of one of the videos (not representative for all videos). The sample image is also available in a larger, uncompressed version:
[Thanks Dariusz and Nikita!]
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