Tweaking YouTube's resolution settings the easy way

Access the highest quality version of a YouTube video with this tip.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn

Higher resolutionsor not, YouTube still tweaks the quality of its videos for users depending on what kind of connection they've got. So how about a workaround to make sure you're getting the best of the best? Bayme of the VideoHelp.com forums seems to have found a way to tweak the URL of some videos to force YouTube to serve you the version with the highest resolution. The good news? It's easy as pie. The bad news? It's not going to work on all your videos, and it's not noticeably better

To give it a spin, just drop &fmt=6 at the end of the URL of any video you're watching. If YouTube has a higher quality version available on its servers, it'll start playing right away. Otherwise, you'll simply be staring at a loading symbol. Greasemonkeyusers can also download a simple script that adjusts all YouTube URLs automatically.

There's a long discussion over on the VideoHelp boards about which file types are retaining the most quality after automatic conversion. YouTube appears to be experimenting with a few variants of Flash and H.264, the latter of which became a major part of YouTube with the introduction of the iPhone and AppleTV--both of which access videos from the service without using Adobe's Flash player.

Related: YouTube sucks: 4 sites that do it better

[via Cybernet News]