The New Google Video Quality Report Allows YouTube Users to Assess their ISPs’ Video Quality
In an effort to create a more seamless video viewing experience, YouTube has released a new tool that will assess the video streaming quality of various Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Jay Akkad, Product Manager at YouTube, addressed the issue in a recent blog post. He was aware of the fact that many users hate nothing more than “seeing the dreaded buffering wheel” whenever they watch videos.
Starting today, the Google Video Quality Report will allow YouTube users in the United States and Canada to assess the level of video quality their ISPs can play. If users are constantly being plagued by buffering videos or poor video streaming quality, this tool will help pinpoint the issue, and will provide tips that will help YouTube play better.
YouTube classifies ISP-delivered video quality into three levels: YouTube HD Verified, Standard Definition, and Lower Definition.
YouTube HD Verified users can expect “smooth playback most of the time when watching high-definition YouTube videos (720p and above).” Standard Definition users “should expect smooth playback on standard-definition YouTube videos (360p), and may experience occasional interruptions on high-definition YouTube videos (720p and above).” Lastly, Lower Definition users “may experience fuzzy picture quality and frequent interruptions while playing YouTube videos at 360p and above.”
Google has also released a compelling video to complement the Google Video Quality Report. This video introduces viewers to the process and channels that YouTube uses to deliver videos from their servers located around the world to viewers’ homes. YouTube stores multiple copies of their videos in numerous servers around the world so that the video stream can start from the closest location to the viewer as possible. “When you click ‘play,’ YouTube carries the video data through its system to your Internet provider via the most efficient path possible.”
The ISP eventually receives the video data and will then carry the data across their network into the viewer’s home. The ISP’s capacity and the amount of traffic it’s handling will determine the video’s load time and video streaming quality. Other factors that can affect load time and video streaming quality include the size of the ISP’s connection to the viewer’s home, the viewer’s Wi-Fi set up, and the number of devices connected to the Internet in the home.
Akkad’s post includes an infographic, “7 Ways to Improve Your Video Quality”. The following tips were shared:
- Check your Quality Report
- Make sure your roommates aren’t hogging all the bandwidth
- Make sure you have an updated browser
- Update your plugins
- Clear the cache and cookies
- See if performance is better closer to your Wi-Fi router
- Restart your computer and your router
While the report is currently only available in North America, it will be gradually rolled out to other countries in the coming months. A more outlined and detailed breakdown of the Google Video Quality Report methodology can be found here.
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