YouTube is apparently testing higher quality, or possibly HD resolution videos. Higher quality video on YouTube would certainly retain users and keep the company competitive with emerging video sites like hulu.com which has higher quality and even widescreen format video. So where are the HD quality/stereo surround videos on YouTube?
Some of you may have seen the links under the videos that say “Watch in High Quality” or have figured out how to add the “&fmt=18” to the end of the URL string. Now a new extension has emerged – &fmt=22 – which some say could be H.264 encoded MPEG-4 files, the format used for iTunes video. Simply add the “&fmt=22” to the end of the video’s URL string and you may see a higher quality version video.
I stress “may see” because not all video is available in higher quality. I haven’t seen any type of formula for which videos are available in higher quality and which are stuck in early 70’s home video nastiness, but it may have something to do with how recently the video has been uploaded and what size the original uploaded video was.
Owned by Google, YouTube has yet to figure out how to make enough money to be profitable. Word on the street is the company will begin showcasing more network produced content but adding commercials that users will have to watch in exchange for access to the free content.
Hulu.com is using this model and offers a choice of watching a commercial at the beginning or throughout the program.