YouTube improving video quality

Posted By on March 26, 2008

Earlier this month I noticed that the online video sharing giant YouTube was improving the quality streams for some of its content. (it is about time) They have started by offering an extra link at the bottom of some videos offering higher quality streams.
Watch higher quality
Another technique to try is by adding a bit of code to the end of the URL: Better=”&fmt=6” or Best=”&fmt=18
EDIT: Test video for comparison: Low Quality v. High Quality.

I’ve been trying to decide if these improvements are really noticeable when encoding on my end, but haven’t been able to justify any quality improvements. I’ve adjusted my raw encoding in order to send much large ‘less’ compressed video to YouTube, although find that the upload times are hard to justify in order to gain only slightly in quality.
youtube compare
I’ve watch content providers like Hulu and the major television networks stream some pretty impressive Flash encoded clips, and expected to see something similar from YouTube … I haven’t seen it yet. There are other ‘free’ video streaming site which have superior video, like Blip.TV, Brightcove, Vimeo and DiVX, but I still find myself returning to the more popular Google owned YouTube. I do suspect that the shear volume of encoding requires much faster compressors and streaming which might have something to do with their quality shortcoming? Combine that with what most people are uploading (quality of original video) and the maximum bandwidth available, and high quality is probably not going to be close to that of a professional studio working with raw digital footage.
Case for Christ
Here my testing below using a DVD for digital quality original (Lee Strobel‘s book Case for Christ made into a DVD movie) … the first 3 minute intro clip is encoded .mp4 in the recommended size and frame rate for YouTube — the second is a Flash encoded and privately streamed version.


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
My Desultory Blog