YouTube has recently added High Definition (HD) and High Quality (HQ) video formats to it’s selection, and subsequently all of us now have these same format options available for our embedded YouTube videos.
See the related article Playing HD/HQ YouTube Videos using the JW FLV Player. This article will go over the differences between the new formats, and will show you side by side video comparisons.
The main differences between the new YouTube HD/HQ formats are 1) the resolution of the video, 2) the aspect ratio (4:3 or 16:9), and 3) the size of the video that must be downloaded. Below you will see a table of these differences.
YouTube HD/HQ Formats
|Format #||Type||Resolution||Aspect Ratio||Download Sizefor a video length of 2:13|
But which format should I use?
Below is a sample High Quality video in Format 18 (480×270) and is 8.77MB in size.
Below is the same video as above in High Definition Format 22 (1280×720) and is 33.4MB in size. You can play all video formats at the same time to compare them along side each other. If one or more of the formats is jerky, its because all 3 video formats are downloading at the same time. To workaround this, pause each video and wait for it to download. You will see the download progress in the control bar. Once all 3 video formats have downloaded, move the slider back to the start. The fact that you may need to do this at all emphasizes the point I make in the conclusion at the end of this article.
Below is the same video as above in High Quality Format 35 (640×360) and is 12.7MB in size.
Now I think it’s safe to say that Format 22 is noticeably far better quality than Format 18 and Format 35, especially when viewed full screen. However, it is over 3 times the download size, and what would that look like being viewed on a typical laptop with, on average, much less video memory than the typical desktop PC? Probably very jerky and hard for your website visitors to enjoy.
Until the hardware on the average laptop and desktop catching up with the requirements of displaying HD video, I would recommend displaying your videos in Format 18 or Format 35 to ensure that most of your website visitors enjoy videos without display problems. Just like YouTube, you could also give your website visitors the option of viewing your videos in HD with a ‘watch in HD’ button or link, and in the article Using a ‘Watch in HD’ link with the JW FLV Player I’ll explain how to do that.