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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

YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day
YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day

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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

      HDFEST 9 years ago

      This is a great resource. Great job!

    • profile image

      blueskiez94 9 years ago

      Wow! Great lens! I know so much more after reading it. Thanks and good work!

    • MusicMadness LM profile image

      MusicMadness LM 8 years ago

      That's pretty cool stuff. Didn't realize it was possible to watch YouTubes in HD. Thanks for a great lens. 5* for you.

    • profile image

      mate_dhamma 8 years ago

      Wow.. That's cool

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      Very interesting. I didn't know about this.

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