You may have noticed that we're now giving you the option of watching some YouTube videos in higher quality. We're making these streams available on certain videos, based upon the source file uploaded to us, and over time you'll find a greater percentage of the library is available to view in higher quality. This feature applies to all eligible videos uploaded from the YouTube community, and is not restricted to partner content, so everyone can enjoy this upgrade.
How do you watch higher quality videos? On your Account page you're now able to choose "always show me higher quality when available" or "never show me higher quality." We suggest you select "always show me..." only if you have a fast internet connection, otherwise you might find that videos don't play as quickly or smoothly as you're used to. Higher quality videos also have a link right below the video player which will allow you to select between the normal or higher quality settings.
We want to help everyone understand that YouTube will continue to evolve with the videos you're creating. We're especially excited about offering this upgrade in video quality to our community of filmmakers and animators, who have been requesting this feature for some time. As more of you guys produce great-looking videos, we want to make sure they can be seen in all their glory. So we'll continue to increase quality behind the scenes and make tweaks to support your uploads. (Remember, we can now support uploads up to 1GB in size.)
You may also wonder how video quality is chosen. Our general philosophy is to make sure that as many people as possible can access YouTube and that videos start quickly and play smoothly. That's one reason why you don't see us racing to call this "Super Duper YouTube HD," because most people don't want to wait a long time for videos to play.
Right now the Help Center information is pretty basic, but ongoing we'll be making more specific details available for those content creators who really want to tune their videos for YouTube.
Keep creating and watching...
The YouTube Team