The most popular streaming video website by far is YouTube.
What started as a small video-hosting site with grainy images has slowly transformed the way the world shares animations, videos, tutorials, political news— some of it informational, some of it entertainment, and in some cases videos that have impact on world politics —and recently, YouTube has made the jump to HD.
Remember all the hype surrounding the launch of HD televisions a few years back? The images at the time seemed almost unreal. The images were so clear and sharp. News anchors and other television personalities worried that the HD images would show each imperfection of their faces and undo the efforts of their makeup artists. Viewers complained that the enhanced images robbed something of their favorite shows, that they made them look different, almost fake.
YouTube on Top
Of course, we consumers quickly got over these reservations and you’d be hard pressed to find a home without an HD television. We have come to expect our viewing experience at home to be in HD and will accept nothing less. As your television and computer become more and more interrelated, it’s becoming vital that your computer jumps onto the video HD bandwagon.
And now that YouTube has done so, it has been experiencing some growing pains of its own. Namely, the playback speed of its videos. When a viewer wishes to watch a YouTube clip in HD (defined as 720p or up) it usually takes a few seconds to adjust and then it will switch over to beautiful HD clarity. But other times this does not happen; the video stalls and will stop playing altogether. If you’re in the middle of a cooking tutorial, for instance, this disruption in service is incredibly frustrating.
Things are getting better, however. In just the past few months, YouTube (which has been owned by Google since 2006) now offers a button that, when clicked, takes you to a page that shows you why your video is experiencing problems. It’s called the Google Video Quality Report. Basically, it shows a simple graph detailing how your local ISP (internet service provider) is operating. Your ISP is the company that regulates bandwidth to your internet connection. The larger the bandwidth, the faster your internet runs.
Who’s the Culprit—You or YouTube?
Legally, ISPs are required to offer the highest bandwidth speeds they are capable of. Of course, since ISPs are corporations with deep pockets and are relied upon by the public, they often break the law. These new Google Video Quality Reports show exactly the speed your ISP is running at and what speed it is capable of. When your YouTube clip stalls and freezes, guess who the culprit is? It’s not YouTube. It’s your ISP.
So next time you’re trying to watch your favorite YouTube clips in HD only to have it freeze, you know who to blame and who you need to complain to.