YouTube Adds HD Support and Time Linking

The flexibility of YouTube videos continues to improve with additions helpful for many educators. Here are a few highlights to add to earlier postings about YouTube features.

Widescreen Video

YouTube changed the aspect ratio of its video player from 4:3 to 16:9. This is applied to all videos. Older 4:3 sized videos are screened in a pillarbox format.

Videos can be embedded into web pages in widescreen format, and in a variety of sizes. These options are accessible via the Customize option of the Embed code.

High Quality and HD Playback

YouTube videos can now be viewed in high quality and some video in HD format, with a resolution of 1270 × 720 pixels. When viewing the videos on the YouTube site, these options are selectable below the lower righthand corner of the YouTube video player.

It is also possible to link directly to a high quality YouTube video by appending either of these two parameter to the end of a YouTube video link:

  • &fmt=1 for normal quality video (H.264)
  • &fmt=18 for high quality video (H.264)
  • &fmt=22 for HD video (H.264)

For example, compare the quality options using the recent weekly address by President-elect Barack Obama (HD version may not be viewable on all computers):

Normal quality URL:

HD quality URL:

Time Linking

Another useful addition is the ability to start a video at a specific point in time by adding a short tag to the end of a video's URL.

To specify a point, append a tag to the end of your video link with the following syntax: "#t=1m45s" (the numbers before the 'm' and 's' can be changed to edit the minutes and seconds, respectively.)

To show how this works, here is a recent talk by Frank Moretti, linking to his explanation of memorization in antiquity at 2 minutes, 20 seconds into the video: