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YouTube High Definition

Updated on December 24, 2014

YouTube HD Is Here to Stay!

YouTube has just announced that users now have the option of watching some videos in 720p HD. These streams are available on certain videos, depending on the source file uploaded to YouTube.

The ability to upload higher quality videos means improved sharpness and visual clarity for some YouTube videos. It's very noticeable in videos that contain text or fast movement and also in full-screen mode.

However, there are some important things to consider that you need to know as a video content provider, so you can make the right decision.

First Things First!

Get The Latest Flash Player

You must have Flash Player 10 or later installed in your computer to be able to watch higher resolution YouTube videos.

Compressing YouTube HD videos

What format do I need to encode my videos with?

For the highest quality, YouTube now recommends these setting for your video:

  • H.264, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 format

  • 1280x720 resolution

  • 44.1KHz Stereo MP3 or AAC audio

  • Frame rate as the original video

  • Up to 1GB file size and 10 min. duration

However, YouTube accepts a wide range of video file formats such as .WMV, .AVI and .MOV. Again, you may get the best results from converting your file to MPEG4 video with MP3 audio.

Viewing YouTube HD videos

What do I need to set up in my account?

On your YouTube Account page, click on Playback Setup and you're now able to choose "Always choose the best option for me based on my player size." or "I have a slow connection. Never play higher-quality video" which is set by default.

So if you want to turn on HD, you must set "I have a fast connection. Always play higher-quality video when it's available" but only if you have a fast internet connection, otherwise you might find that videos don't play as quickly or smoothly.

Just Click "watch in HD"

Forcing YouTube to Play HD Videos

Normal Mode, Hi-Res and HD Mode

Provided that the user, you're watching, uploaded a high quality video with the specs above, you should be able to force YouTube to display hi-def videos even though you're not logged into YouTube.

For instance, this video displays in normal mode:

Now, for the same video to display in hi-res mode or HD mode, the trick is to append &fmt=6 &fmt=18 or &fmt=22 to the end of the URL.

&fmt=6 increases the resolution from 320x240 to 448x336, Flash 7 video @ 900Kbps; audio @ 44.1KHz 96Kbps Mono CBR.

&fmt=18 increases the resolution to 480x360, H.264 video @ 512Kbps; audio @ 44.1KHz 128Kbps Stereo.

&fmt=22 increases the resolution to 1280Ã720 (720p), H.264 video @ 1024Kbps; audio @ 44.1KHz 232Kbps Stereo.

How Can I Embed a High Quality YouTube Video?

Append The Right Code for HQ and HD

If this is the YouTube video URL:

For HQ

All you need to do is append &ap=%2526fmt%3D18 to the YouTube URL video.

Then the video URL will look like this:

And the embedding code will be this:


For HD

All you need to do is append &ap=%2526fmt%3D22 to the YouTube URL video.

The video URL will look like this:

And the embedding code will be this:


Learn from The Pros

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How Can I Encode My YouTube Videos Using The DviX Codec?

You Can Choose Among These Three Encoders

The DviX codec is one of the codecs recommended by YouTube, and the one I prefer over Xvid.

So there are basically two ways to do this. One is using a simple video encoder and the other is using a sophisticated video compressing tool.

The software programs I recommend are: DviX Converter, Movavi VideoSuite and VirtualDub. They all need the DviX Pro Codec in order to work. DviX is a flavor of MPEG4 video codec standard.

1. DivX Converter

A basic DivX encoder

Convert nearly any popular video format to a DivX video by simply dragging and dropping it onto the DivX Converter.

Use DivX to convert all of your media!

It takes just two easy steps to convert your files to DivX video. Just drag your video onto the DivX Converter and click 'Convert.' You get the point. It's really, really easy to create DivX videos.

DivX Converter has four preset profiles. Choose the profile that best matches the device on which you expect to play your DivX video.

The DivX Converter still manages to pack in some advanced features for those who like more control. You can tweak encoding settings to create a video converted to your precise specifications:

  • Resize videos

  • Specify output file sizes

  • Change encoding bitrates

2. VirtualDub

If you're an expert compressionist, use this encoder

This is my favorite tool for compressing videos using DivX. It has all kinds of settings which allow me to configure in expert mode the DivX codec and produce DivX videos. Remember, the DivX Codec needs to be installed in your computer for VirtualDub encoder to work using the DviX setting.

Open VirtualDub, and "Open video file". This load the file into the viewer, input on the left and output on the right, as it's shown in the picture below:

Then you need to compress video using DivX Pro Codec and audio codec using the LAME MP3 encoder. The VirtualDub tutorials below will get you familiar with the encoder.

How To Configure DviX

The key part, is to configure DviX within VirtualDub, and this DviX tutorial will help you choose the right settings for the codec.

I applied the recommended YouTube settings,

including the DivX codec to my video below.

But There's Always a Catch

Users with fast connections will be the ones to experience YouTube's upgrade, while other users might want to stick to the classic view, otherwise they will encounter slowness while trying to play a video.

Hope This Was Helpful

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    • profile image

      Computer Network Online help 2 months ago

      Hi Buddy, Your Blog' S Design Is Simple And Clean And I Like It. Your Blog Posts About Online Writing Help Are Superb. Please Keep Them Coming. Greets!

    • profile image

      Monica 3 years ago

      thank you so much

    • kaseyrivenburgh profile image

      kaseyrivenburgh 4 years ago

      Beautiful lens

    • imagelist lm profile image

      imagelist lm 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing...

    • capriht profile image

      capriht 5 years ago

      nice lens thanks...

    • capriht profile image

      capriht 5 years ago

      nice lens thanks...

    • GeekGirl1 profile image

      GeekGirl1 5 years ago

      very interesting lens.

    • profile image

      mistaben 5 years ago

      Great info, many thanks =)

    • profile image

      nileshg 5 years ago

      Very Helpful. Keep it up.

      I'm a developer and working with a website design company in Pune. Daily, I have to work with Youtube and Youtube videos. Your lens would help me a lot in my career.

    • kellysharma lm profile image

      kellysharma lm 5 years ago

      Nice lens thanks for sharing

    • HomeDecorKnight profile image

      HomeDecorKnight 5 years ago

      Yes, This lens is helpful , I like your lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I'm looking to see if it's possible to force videos to play the highest possible quality as soon as I click on whatever video it is. For example, there's 240p 360p 480p 720p and 1080p. Let's say I click on a video, but there's only 360p and 720p. Obviously, I'm looking to get the highest out of every video and have youtube set it to that quality as soon as I click the link/video, so I would want it to be set at 720p without me having to click and change it manually. I want to find this out because it'd be very effective for playlists. That way I wouldn't have to keep moving back to my computer to click it into 720 or 1080 if I'm having a party, gaming, or just hanging out. Can anyone answer me on this and say if it's possible and, if so, how? Thanks a lot.

    • cinefile profile image

      cinefile 5 years ago

      Exceptional lens, bravo. You might be interested in my GetitScene lens that provides free special effects for people to use in their movies.

    • profile image

      BAMmarketing 5 years ago

      I'm A Youtube Fanatic This is great!

    • profile image

      marketingbloke 5 years ago

      Nice lens man, thumbs up!

    • profile image

      kanzelm3 5 years ago

      Good tips, I have always tried to post in HD whenever my footage is clear enough. Great lens, moving on to your "How to Make YouTube Videos Look Great" lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks this post was helpful and provided me a good knowledge.

      I'll be using cam studio to record my videos...

    • mastourreadymix1 profile image

      mastourreadymix1 5 years ago

      super tutorials and nice information thanks for share this information.

    • profile image

      jakealoo 5 years ago

      Beautifully done lens. As an HD junkie this is mainly stuff I already new but I've never heard of virtual dub before. Sounds very cool.

    • profile image

      starman1 5 years ago

      You can tweak encoding settings to create a video converted to your precise specifications konteyner | prefabrik | kabin

    • profile image

      jivva181 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Have you tried adding &hd=1 to the end of your url?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      very useful but when I make a playlist with youtube and try embedding that playlist (multiple videos) I cannot seem to force it into HD even if all my videos are 1080...

      Does anyone have the trick for that?

    • elsiesflat profile image

      elsiesflat 5 years ago

      Very informative. Thank you.

    • ivanjuras profile image

      ivanjuras 5 years ago

      Camtasia takes care of all those settings by itself. Goog to know how to do it manually, though :)

    • neuromancer lm profile image

      neuromancer lm 5 years ago

      Skateboarding dog in Hd.. finally :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      nice and thing to add though for YouTube HD videos - i usually create and make HD videos using Ezvid - a free video/slideshow maker for Windows today as its fast, easy to use, and it can upload finished HD videos to YouTube immediately. the output is always widescreen and HD. love it. you can google search for ezvid

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Fab lens!:-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      good info.

    • profile image

      reif 6 years ago


    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this great info

    • profile image

      Bash51214 6 years ago

      i really enjoyed your post.. thank you..

    • allenwebstarme profile image

      allenwebstarme 6 years ago

      Ya Good info but for watching Youtube HD videos we need high speed internet connection also.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      The &fmt= codes do not seem to work anymore. Is there a new alternative.

    • profile image

      mylinkcenter 6 years ago

      Very useful lens from expert. Thank you for this. have a great day.

    • profile image

      nelsonkana 6 years ago

      Nice lens here. Am taking a tour of top lenses. This is one of them. I like it.

    • profile image

      denysaputra 6 years ago

      Nice and quite interesting lense! Good luck and hanks for the information you've mentioned above.

      Cheers! get views on YouTube

    • profile image

      Sfthomas 6 years ago

      This is very helpful, good lens.

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 6 years ago

      VERY Useful Info.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Nice read

    • profile image

      seosmm 6 years ago

      Very nice lens!

    • KangarooJase1 profile image

      KangarooJase1 6 years ago

      An extremely useful lens on producing HD content not just for YouTube but similar sites as well. Thanks for sharing many apart from myself will find this very beneficial.

    • RomanaSwan profile image

      RomanaSwan 6 years ago

      I can not get my head around all this programming code. I will ask my son for help if I decided to publish my vids on Youtoube. Great lens!

    • Rantsand profile image

      Rantsand 6 years ago

      Nice lens. Thanks for covering such an obfuscated subject.

    • autofanatic profile image

      autofanatic 6 years ago

      Your lens cleared up a lot for me. Thank you for the great lesson!

    • profile image

      vlchelper7763 6 years ago

      Thanks for a good lens. I learned a lot about video encoding - Thanks.

    • profile image

      jaystanley 6 years ago

      When used well, a good education no different from a school.

      thanks for the lens.

    • profile image

      HuntAndFishGuides 6 years ago

      HD is 100 times better than standard quality. Makes you think what the heck did we ever do without it? :)

    • ananimoss2 profile image

      ananimoss2 6 years ago

      Very was very useful. Thank you.

    • profile image

      HaroutA 6 years ago

      Interesting got some good info from this, thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      YouTube HD Now and No More 15 Minutes Limitation for Premium Users by Youtube

      Read more:

    • GoldenClone profile image

      GoldenClone 6 years ago

      good like

    • profile image

      writer_villa 6 years ago

      Very useful!

    • seeker2011 lm profile image

      seeker2011 lm 6 years ago

      Good lense. Think I will be touching base here a few times for guidance.

    • profile image

      aussieremovals 6 years ago

      it's really informative lens. Thanks.....

    • profile image

      NidhiRajat 6 years ago

      enjoyed lens very much!!!

    • neotony profile image

      neotony 6 years ago

      Good to know this stuff. Thanks saves on hd time and money.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      This all seems to be over my head. Great job!

    • profile image

      RedHotDesign 6 years ago

      Love this lens- great info and very well written- keep it up!!

    • gamecheathub profile image

      gamecheathub 6 years ago

      Thanks for writing this lens. Tons of valuable info that will help videos sparkle. I appreciate your effort, sir!

    • TheGourmetCoffe profile image

      TheGourmetCoffe 6 years ago

      Very helpful lens. Thank you for sharing and presenting in an easy and very organized way.

    • profile image

      JoeSteinbeck 6 years ago

      I wish everything was in HD with the size of my screen.

    • profile image

      dilipsvarma 6 years ago

      helpful lens

    • webcodez lm profile image

      webcodez lm 6 years ago

      Love it!

    • Sana139 profile image

      Sana139 6 years ago

      good lens!!Thanks for sharing this...

    • profile image

      grifith 6 years ago

      Very Nice Lens

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

      I've been wanting to learn more about making YouTube videos and this has been a huge help. Thanks! Blessed ....

    • profile image

      selenin 6 years ago

      Very informativ and love youtube...

    • bames24 lm profile image

      bames24 lm 6 years ago

      thanks for sharing such useful info :)

    • TIRMassageStone1 profile image

      TIRMassageStone1 6 years ago

      Lots of good information here, thanks!

    • webcodez lm profile image

      webcodez lm 6 years ago

      Fun lens, I like it.

    • profile image

      MojoTheAwesome 6 years ago

      Getting little outdated but still has a lot of great information!

    • TeamDealStartsH profile image

      TeamDealStartsH 6 years ago

      I never knew you could force youtube to play the video in high quality mode! I uploaded a video with HD quality and it didn't show any option on youtube to play it in HD. Now I know how to make it play in HD! Thanks for the great lens!

    • profile image

      LuckyScratch 6 years ago

      very useful thanks

    • profile image

      learn-to-dance 6 years ago

      Great lens

    • vkumar05 profile image

      vkumar05 6 years ago

      Very useful and interesting info. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      great lens, and if you want to download any youtube vid check out this one

    • profile image

      Pirocapl 6 years ago

      really cool info! thanks!

    • profile image

      KChang 6 years ago

      Very helpful.

    • pheonix76 profile image

      pheonix76 6 years ago from WNY

      Great lens!! Very helpful and informative. :D

    • profile image

      theprintcenter 6 years ago

      Very helpful lens! Thanks for this one!

    • profile image

      MojoTheAwesome 6 years ago

      The internet is evolving fast. Youtube already has had 3D for awhile now. Soon enough, we'll get punched in the face while watching Jackie Chan on are new extremely realistic holographic tvs

    • mattseefood lm profile image

      mattseefood lm 6 years ago

      Helpful indeed! Thank you very much :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Very helpful!

    • wizardgold lm profile image

      wizardgold lm 6 years ago

      Some handy info on the lens - I only wish I had a faster internet connection. I upload all my videos 1280 by 720 now. Great to be able to send in the longer videos now too.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      great lens, is great how everything adjust to new technology.

    • otherlleft profile image

      otherlleft 6 years ago

      Very exciting to see how the technology progresses!

    • iridisimaging profile image

      iridisimaging 6 years ago

      i've been uploading all my vid in HD to youtube and the difference is amazing. i thought it would take a lot longer to upload but i haven't really noticed a difference.

      Elliott Walsh - Photo Restoration Expert

    • profile image

      invesible_8704 6 years ago

      If i have super fast broadband, i am sure i will choose HD..but not for now.. anyways awesome lens..

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thank's for sharing, i learned something new today.

    • profile image

      beardedman 6 years ago

      Great stuff, I love YouTube!

    • JanezKranjski profile image

      JanezKranjski 6 years ago

      I like youtube HD. I always watch in HD when possible.

    • profile image

      HomeDebtHelp 6 years ago

      Hey this is pretty cool stuff on YouTube - Great Lens Idea for Squidoo!

    • ClinicallySigni profile image

      ClinicallySigni 7 years ago

      Awesome Lens! VERY informative. It answered all of my questions and you obviously spent a lot of time on it. Thanks so much!

    • Padaneis profile image

      Padaneis 7 years ago

      Very clear and informative. I am planning to upload some videos to youtube: this lens has provided me with very useful info. Bests.

    • profile image

      thecreator22 7 years ago


    • oktalBlizzard profile image

      oktalBlizzard 7 years ago

      good info regarding HD youtube, thanx!

    • greetingcardsinfo profile image

      greetingcardsinfo 7 years ago

      nice lens good information about Hd

    • profile image

      overezy 7 years ago

      Helping Humanity, Help the World! Communicate with the ones you love.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      lots of great info here to explain what HD is to anyone who is old school like myself lol I make lots of youtube videos but haven't dabbled with HD yet...

    • mywebcontent profile image

      mywebcontent 7 years ago

      nice lens... I'm sure this will help people out a lot! Youtube is gong to be here for a while longer for sure.