Objective observers pretty much agree – You Tube quality stinks.
When quality is critical – or even minimally important – an embedded You Tube video has been the very last choice. Lately, however, You Tube has been experimenting on site with higher quality video. You may see a small link underneath a video saying “Watch in High Quality.” Or you can add “&fmt=18” to the end of a video’s You Tube URL to force it to display in high quality. The difference is marked – especially for screencasts.
Take look at these two screen caps. They are both taken from approximately the same opening sequence in a Ghost Leg screencast called “Using You Tube’s Audio Swap.” The first is the normal You Tube display:
The second picture is the same video forced to High Quality mode by adding &fmt=18 to the URL.
Wow! What a difference! Unfortunately, at this point, you cannot just add the “&fmt-18” snippet to the embed code. The videos You Tube displays on other sites continue to have poor quality.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could find a way to force high quality and embed it? Well, there is a free tool, called VTubeTools, that seems to accomplishes just that. I have experimented a bit with it. It really seems to work. Of course, all the usual caveats apply – the program is a beta, I can’t vouch for its quality or safety and security, use at your own risk.
(You may have difficulty adding the embed code to a WordPress blog if you currently use plugins (as I do) to display You Tube. Whether it is worthwhile to re-embed all you old videos without the plugin is a question for another day.)