Category Archives: Youtube

If you’re like me and cannot resist watching YouTube videos in High Definition or High Quality whenever the option is available, you might also get a bit disgruntled that no-one ever seems to link directly to these versions – or might not know how to.

I’ve not seen it documented anywhere on YouTube’s site (maybe you’re told when you upload a video – I’ve not tried), but you can link directly to High Quality and High Definition versions of a video by adding or altering a single argument on the URL string.

For example, take a normal YouTube link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPmbGzQaOCs

If you add fmt=18 to the end of the URL, you’ll automatically view the High Quality version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPmbGzQaOCs&fmt=18

If a High Definition version is available, add fmt=22:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikqg99Q4FAw&fmt=22

Easy!

If you want to embed higher quality versions of the videos through the YouTube player though, you’ll have to use two arguments like so:

&ap=%2526fmt=22

The HD videos on YouTube’s site play at 854 x 505 pixels by default (including the player chrome), but these 720p videos will support up to 1280 x 720 pixels.

You can edit the dimensions of the player in the embed code you’re provided with. So your final HD embed code will look something like this:

<object width=”854″ height=”505″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/ikqg99Q4FAw&hl=en&fs=1&ap=%2526fmt=22″></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/ikqg99Q4FAw&hl=en&fs=1&ap=%2526fmt=22” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”854″ height=”505″></embed></object>

Another thing, you can also jump straight into a specific part a video by adding #t parameter and specifying the time value like so:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oC4FAyg64OI&#t=1m49s

These arguments can be paired of course, for example, the same in High Quality:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oC4FAyg64OI&fmt=18#t=1m49s

I recently found out you can do this with Spotify URIs, too:

spotify:track:02dGPXdVeZsZks4g48yaJE#0:24

Albeit formatted differently, it does the same job. Note this only works with Spotify URIs, it won’t work with the HTTP links.

It would be nice to see a standard adopted for such features, but it’s really up to the platform developers to decide upon the mechanism.

Unfortunately too often each one wants to make their own unique. This is a micro example of a much larger problem I tend to go on about (see Data Portability and Linked Data).

Anyway, I think YouTube should definitely make their quality selection easier. These parameters tweaks feel like code hacks. It would be much nicer if YouTube allowed you to specify ‘quality=HD’, or something similar, to any video link.

We gotta get out while we’re young.