A few weeks back, we posted news about the fact that Youtube was testing HD (high-definition) video playback. Shortly after that, Youtube officially launched HD video playback on their site. When it was first launched, videos in HD would play within the new widescreen 16:9 default player on Youtube. Now, when you choose the HD playback, the layout of the page is modified to display a much larger video player that expands the width of the page. The new video size is a huge 855*480 pixels (actual resolution is 1280×720) and the player is 855*505 pixels. Apparently this change was made back on December 5, but some users are just now seeing the update.
For uploading, aside from paying uploaders and partners, users are still limited currently to the 10 minute duration max (hint- you can actually upload 10:59) and the 1GB file-size restrictions. However, if you upload a video originally exported to an HD format, these videos are being converted retroactively by Youtube for HD playback.
So, How do you Upload Video in HD to Youtube?
For the highest quality, YouTube now recommends the following setting for your video:
- MPEG4 (DivX, Xvid, H.264) format
- 1280x720 resolution or 1080p
- 128k Mono or 320k Stereo MP3/AAC audio
- 24,25 or 30 frames per second
- Up to 2GB file size and 15:59 min. duration
YouTube accepts a wide range of video file formats such as .WMV, .AVI and .MOV but you may get the best results from converting your file to MPEG4 video with MP3 audio.
What if you want to force HD playback when linking to a Youtube video?
Simple. All you need to do is to append the following after the url string. So, instead of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUFOAYOJMFk, you would have http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUFOAYOJMFk&fmt=
- &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 1280×720 (720p), H.264 video @ 1024Kbps; audio @ 44.1KHz 232Kbps Stereo.
What if you want to embed Youtube videos in HD?
Again, simple. Keep in mind that you will need to have uploaded an HD video in order to allow it to playback. If not, you will only be able to display a high-quality version using fmt=18. All you need to do is make certain that "&ap=%2526fmt%223D&ap=%2526fmt%3D22" is appended to the URL string in the embed code.
<object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="502" height="301" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="src" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/hUFOAYOJMFk&ap=%2526fmt%3D22" /><param name="wmode" value="window" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="502" height="301" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/hUFOAYOJMFk&ap=%2526fmt%3D22" wmode="window"></embed></object>
So, here is the resulting video:
Note - one nice thing that you will notice is that embedding the video in this manner also gets rid of the Youtube search box that typically appears at the top of the video.