Video fans could upload a wide range of high resolution and high quality video file formats such as WMV, AVI, MOV and MPG to YouTube. However, YouTube would resize these high resolution video files to 320 x 240 pixels, encode them to Flash 7 at a data rate of approximately 250kbps and compress the audio to mp3 (22.050KHz monophonic). Thus, users would sometimes find the video quality in YouTube quite poor and unsatisfying. Due to the improved internet connection speed in many countries, YouTube has started to change its strategy by providing better quality and higher resolution videos to users.
If your internet connection speed is reasonably fast and you want to watch clearer and sharper images on your video clips, you can append &fmt=6 to the URL of the YouTube video that you want to watch. For instance, look at the example below. The URL for the original video clip below is via http://youtube.com/watch?v=CQzUsTFqtW0.
Once you append &fmt=6 to the URL (it becomes http://youtube.com/watch?v=CQzUsTFqtW0&fmt=6 ) and you will observe the quality of the video become better and clearer (448 x336 pixels). The video quality can be further enhanced when you append &fmt=18 (it becomes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAE2-FQHkok&fmt=18 ). When you append &fmt=18, YouTube will download the video as a MP4 (H264 with AAC audio) and encoded it at 480×360. Having sad that, the above tricks do not work for all YouTube Video. It only works for a small number of videos at this point of time.
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