YouTube has started to deliver uploaded and shared video clips in higher quality high definition (HD) resolution and stereo audio mode so that viewers can have better video playback and watching experience. Previously, users require to use a hack switch of &fmt=18 or &fmt=6 to view high quality video resolution. However, the trick may be pretty useless now as YouTube starts to stream video in high quality officially.

Watch YouTube in High Quality

Now, YouTube starts to offer link for user when viewing supported video clip on YouTube website to play video in higher quality. The link “watch in high quality” will appear below the view count of the video if high definition viewing is supported. If you’re already watching the video in high resolution, a watch in standard quality link will be shown instead so that user can easily toggle between higher quality and lesser quality video clip, as streaming in higher quality may not be smooth and video playback may stop for buffering.

For viewer with YouTube account and high speed Internet connection, and want to always watch all YouTube clips available in higher resolution in high quality mode, YouTube has provided an option in user account setting to set higher quality as default mode of playback when viewing video stream. By default, the playback resolution is set to normal, which means lesser quality.

To change your playback settings to force YouTube to always play video in high quality if available, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to YouTube Account page.
  2. Under “Account” section, click the Video Playback Quality link.
  3. Select the radio button for I have a fast connection. Always play higher-quality video when it’s available option in order to play video in higher quality by default.

    Set Higher Quality Video as YouTube Playback Default

  4. Click the Save Settings button to make the change effective immediately.
  5. To revert the selection, choose either Choose my video quality dynamically based on the current connection speed or I have a slow connection. Never play higher-quality video.

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  • phly95

    LOL, this article is so old, it’s no longer HQ, but all about HD.

  • Goatlips

    "This doesn’t force auto play of HD videos, it only works for your own account. Others will have to do the same for videos to play in HD for them." (Music Videos)

    Indeed! I want the '&fmt=18' equivalent to add to urls I post on Facebook, etc! This only helps people who haven't done this.

    • Cha

      The selection that says “I have a fast connection, so on so on so on” is Bull Puckey! There is nothing on Youtube’s settings that says this. I have a fast connection and I have to keep clicking on the sprocket video settings and choose the HD format myself everytime I play a video.

      • Chad

        The selection that says “I have a fast connection, so on so on so on” is Bull Puckey! There is nothing on Youtube’s settings that says this. I have a fast connection and I have to keep clicking on the sprocket video settings and choose the HD format myself everytime I play a video.

  • painfulrayne

    New settings can be found here. Has option to automatically view in HD when going fullscreen.

    http://www.youtube.com/account#playback/quality

  • yos

    plzzz need a cradit tnxx

  • Departed

    This no longer works after the latest youtube update, making it a hassle for users to always see high quality videos.

  • This doesn't force auto play of HD videos, it only works for your own account. Others will have to do the same for videos to play in HD for them.

  • Hey, thanks for that tip! Wicked. Now, only if they will put the HQ link in the embed, my life will be complete :)

  • Will

    Same here TS. Really really annoying!!

  • Buzzfair

    Question: do high quality views still count towards total views on YouTube?

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  • Average Joe

    Hi all

    I use Speedbit Video Accelerator (v2.2.4.6) in tandem with Internet Explorer (v8 beta #2). Since the previous versions of both SVA and IE before, the accelerator works well during standard play but apparently doesn't even detecting any video loading whenever I switch to HQ mode in Youtube. Seems like the accelerator doesn't work when I need it most. Even adding &fmt=18 to the URL or changing my YouTube setting doesn't help.

    Any idea? Thank you.

  • wow this post was so useful! thanks so much..i'll be linking my friends to this

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  • Rhye

    Io ho caricato un video http://it.youtube.com/watch?v=3bwdvhliFMo che però nonostante lo abbia messo in alta qualità me lo fa sentire comunque ion uscita stereo, qualche consiglio?

  • John

    "Watch in high quality" button will not give you stereo sound. To watch in HQ Stereo, you need &fmt=18 hack.

  • chris H

    I have tried this method, but i still find that the videos i watch are still not automatically loading in HQ mode. I'm still having to manually set the &fmt=18 extension on most of my URLs. What gives?

  • Eric

    Greasemonkey scripts fix this. Even enables on files that aren't listed as Higher def.

    http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/26187

    Cheers :D

  • TS

    I'm not sure if this applies to anyone else, but my quality settings do NOT save. After a few hours of having "higher-quality" playback as my default, my settings revert to "choose my video quality dynamically…" and Youtube plays standard quality first. I know that this is not a cookie issue because I remain logged into Youtube; the problem is server-side because my settings reset frequently.

    Apparently a few other people are having this problem and have posted on the Youtube community forums but have not yet gotten a response.

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