Turn YouTube video quality into HD Youtube in 1 simple step

Did you know that just adding &fmt=18 at the end of a YouTube video URL will turn such video in a High Quality YouTube video?

Let's see an example of how a High Quality YouTube video URL looks like:


And that's all! It is that simple.

YouTube video quality in detail: quality comparison

Let's take a closer look inside the two different YouTube video formats and see how much improvement you can obtain adding just &fmt=18:

Normal quality YouTube video:

  • Video format: Flash Video (.flv).
  • Video codec: FLV1.
  • Frames per second: 15 fps.
  • Video resolution: 320 x 240 pixels.
  • Video audio: MP3 at 22050 Hz.

High quality YouTube video:

  • Video format: MPEG-4 (.mp4).
  • Video codec: AVC1.
  • Frames per second: 29.97 fps (as NTSC).
  • Video resolution: 480 x 360 pixels (50% higher!).
  • Video audio: MP3 at 44100 Hz, 2 channels, 1411 kbps.

The High Quality YouTube video is approximately double the size in MegaBytes of the normal quality video. But the video quality improvement is worth the effort: the new video has bigger screen dimensions and much better video bitrate (and thus, much less video compression artifacts).

Flash video is the best format to optimize bandwidth, but the other YouTube MPEG-4 video codec is doing a great job keeping the quality high.

See it by yourself! Here is a normal quality YouTube video, and this is the same YouTube video in High Quality.

Unfortunately, this trick won't work to embed High Quality YouTube video in an external site. The good news are that our old tricks to embed HD Flash video still work.

Nevertheless, it seems that YouTube is taking advantage of the fast modern networks too, and this &fmt=18 is a big step towards an HD YouTube!.