YouTube Quality: The Hack

YouTube Quality Puzzle Solved By A Blogger Who’s Not Me

YouTube video quality is a mysterious thing, especially since they run their own compression on (most? all?) video that’s been uploaded to the site.

Even more mysterious is how to get YouTube videos to default to high quality when you embed them on your own website.

Recently we were facing the YouTube quality conundrum for some new South by Southwest music videography that we posted up at the main Sparkleworks site. How do we get YouTube to default the video playback to high quality? We’d encoded the video to the perfect H.264 settings, so we were generally pleased with the high quality YouTube performance, but getting it to default to that quality setting was another issue.

Blogosphere to the rescue. This is excerpted from Jason Kottke’s excellent Kottke.org. Visit the original post to find out what Jason says about linking to high quality YouTube videos, defaulting your YouTube prefs to high quality, and saving high quality YouTube videos to your local digital smarmitude.

Embedding high quality YouTube videos:
The &fmt=18 trick doesn’t work here, but a similar trick does. For each of the URLs in the embeddable code that you get from YouTube, add &ap=%2526fmt%3D18 onto the end, like so:

<object width=”425″ height=”344″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/MuqiGrWBRqE&hl=en&fs=1 &ap=%2526fmt%3D18“></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/MuqiGrWBRqE&hl=en&fs=1&ap=%2526fmt%3D18” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”425″ height=”344″></embed></object>

If you want some high quality YouTube video, this is the sacred path. Tread lightly.

And now, in honor of Jason’s technical helping hand, I present you with some Bang Camaro from South by Southwest 2009, live from Lovejoy’s in Austin, Texas. Those Guitar Hero II fans out there will recognize this tune. The rest of you will probably still enjoy the sight of forty-seven amped-up lead singers on stage simultaneously:

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