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New Default Size for Embedded Videos

By Geoff Stearns

Senior Web Developer

A video's life on YouTube is just the beginning; embedding gives it a life off of the site. Just look at your favorite blogger and they're likely to be embedding YouTube content in their posts. In fact, almost every popular video on the site is first made famous by embeds on the Web. That number can be as high as 50% of views in the first 48 hours, kicking off a great cycle.

We offer a few size choices when you grab a video's embed code. The default size used to be on the smaller side -- smaller than the size displayed on -- but as of today, we're defaulting to a larger size, one that's the same size of a video on (either 480x385 if 4:3 video, or 640x385 for 16:9 content). These new defaults were selected because they will give the majority of people the best possible viewing experience and because they better match our current video encoding sizes.

When you click on the embed code, the space below it will expand and reveal customization options, like so:

You can choose the following for your embedded player:

  • The color and size
  • Whether or not to include related videos
  • Whether or not to display the player border
  • Whether or not to play in HD by default -- triggers video resolutions of 1280x720 (720p) or 1920x1080 (1080p)

When using the "Play in HD" option, it's best to embed the player at a very large size (at least 1280x745) in order to accommodate the large size of the video. If you play HD video in a small player, the user's computer will have to scale down the video to fit within the player, costing the user extra CPU cycles and bandwidth, which may result in choppy playback. It's always best to play the video size that best fits the size of the video player. And if you want even better performance when watching HD content, you can choose to watch it in full-screen.