Youtube finally playing HD content

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 30, 2007
Updated • May 21, 2014
Music and Video, Youtube

Graham submitted a tip a few minutes ago informing me that YouTube users could finally upload high definition videos to YouTube which have the benefit of a much sharper, clearer image and the trade-off that videos are larger which means that a faster Internet connection is required for fluent playback of the videos on the site.

This is however not an official solution yet but more a temporary solution found out by users who discovered that YouTube did not encode certain videos that have been encoded by the user to Flash Video format. Normally YouTube reduces the resolution of each video that gets uploaded which is the reason for the low resolution experience on the site.

If a user uploads a video with the following settings it will not be encoded to a lower resolution. I will post some examples of high def Youtube videos and an instruction video as well at the end of the article:

  • 640 x 480 size
  • An (Audio) framerate of 44100
  • A (Video) framerate of 25 fps
  • A bitrate of 320 kbit/s
  • Video bitrate varies:
  • 2000 kbps for a 1:00 minute video
  • 1000 kbps for a 2:15 minute video
  • 512 kbps for a 4:00 minute video
  • 4:3 Aspect ratio or your chosen ratio (4:3 is for widescreen)


There are two negative aspects. The first is a duration bug which does not display the right playing time of the video and the second is that it takes more time to stream the contents to viewers to achieve a smooth video playback. The benefits on the other hard are a much cleaner, sharper video that is a joy to watch.

Update: Google has implemented native support for high definition videos on YouTube. Video resolutions go up as high as 4k currently depending on the video source that was uploaded to the site and the web browser that is used to play the videos.

Depending on whether Adobe Flash or HMTL5 is used to play the videos, not all video resolutions may be available.

To check the available resolutions and switch between them, click on the settings icon in the lower right corner of the player window. Here you find the quality menu which you need to click on to display all available resolutions. To switch, simply select a new one. YouTube will automatically switch to the new resolution without reloading the video.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Webcreation said on May 17, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Watch YouTube HD – higher definition, and download MP4 videos, check this site:

    Really good !

  2. Julius B. Thyssen said on February 27, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Pff, this is hardly something I would call HD. Plus that the info is false.

    Read the real options for higher quality here:

  3. SuperCourier said on January 17, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Two points on what promised to be an exciting possibility:

    1) This individual has hit upon a method for getting the most out of what is possible from YouTube, but it is far from HD in any sense.

    2) The video converters he touts for this method are shareware with a trial period. An economic interest at work?

    Nice info to know, though.

  4. iss said on January 6, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    640×480 is not HD.

  5. Martin said on December 1, 2007 at 11:39 am

    Tysen the second video is working fine right now.

  6. Tysen Woodlock said on December 1, 2007 at 6:22 am

    There’s a similar trick posted here:

  7. Tysen Woodlock said on December 1, 2007 at 6:20 am

    Looks like the second video has been taken down. I guess they see it as a kind of hack or something maybe?

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