As some people may already be aware, YouTube quietly added a new “HD-like” streaming format some time ago that is much better than the “high quality” version that’s publicly available. Two days ago, they added their new widescreen player to the site, which makes excellent use of this new format. To help illustrate the improvement, please see the video of the Gundam 00 S2 opening sequence above. The quality pretty much speaks for itself, but notice how sharp the text is at fullscreen — it even looks crisp when blown up to 1920×1200. Now compare this to the “high quality” version that came out long ago of the same video (which some people have this new HD-like version confused as):
Show High Quality version ▼

Similar to how the “high quality” format can be viewed by appending “&fmt=18” to the end of any video URL, this new HD-like format can be viewed by appending “&fmt=22“. However, there are some nuances, which I’ve noticed in my preliminary testing of this higher resolution/bitrate version.

  • First off, this “HD version” appears to be only available for videos uploaded in 720p (i.e. 1280×720 resolution). For any video with a resolution lower than that, using “&fmt=22” will simply default you to the normal, low quality stream. The high quality “&fmt=18” version will always be available, but pales in comparison to the newest format.
  • Secondly, uploading a video with a resolution higher than 720p (e.g. 1440×1080) won’t be converted to this HD-like format for some reason or another. I gather that YouTube’s back-end has been inadvertently coded to only convert 720p videos to this higher resolution and bitrate format.
  • Thirdly, playing this new version of the stream requires a bit more CPU usage due to the use of the h264 codec (much like the high quality version), so a dual core is recommended. Expect anywhere from 15 to 30% CPU usage by your web browser while playing one of these videos. Similarly, a fast connection is required to stream the video without having to wait for it to buffer first.
  • Fourthly, embedded videos like the one above have a YouTube watermark in the lower right corner. In my opinion, this isn’t overly distracting and is a minor trade-off for the quality you get. Also, it doesn’t even show up when you view the video on YouTube’s actual site.
  • Lastly, as per the high quality version, it takes some time before this version becomes available due to additional re-encoding on YouTube’s end. By my observation, it takes at least 15 minutes after the low quality version goes live before the HD-like version shows up.
  • So what does this have to do with the anime world? Well for one, it allows us to post some pretty high quality videos here on RC (albeit YouTube’s copyright infringement is pretty stingy about OP/ED sequences). More importantly though, anime that’s licensed to be streamed with official subtitles should benefit drastically, provided that the studio chooses to upload a 720p copy of the episode. With GONZO leading the forefront in this area, it’ll be interesting to see what they decide to do for The Tower of Druaga ~the Sword of URUK~, sequel to ~the Aegis of URUK~, when it airs in January 2009. In addition, Viz Media has announced that they will be streaming Naruto Shippuuden with official subtitles a week after it airs in Japan — a move that is supported by longtime fansubbers of the series, Dattebayo, who has decided to drop the series in light of this.

    With users permitted to upload files up to 1GB now and no apparent cap in terms of length (previously capped at 100MB and 10 minutes), I can only imagine what licensed accounts are allowed to upload. An entire episode of an anime in high definition doesn’t take up more than 400MB using DivX, with the video above only taking a meager 22MB using x264, so it seems like users can already upload complete episodes without re-encoding. Of course, this is assuming that YouTube has removed the 10 minute cap on the length, which I have yet to confirm myself. In any case, length restrictions never applied to the accounts of studios, who will undoubtedly want to save something for DVD/Blu-ray sales. As such, I don’t expect GONZO to upload 720p streaming episodes, especially with all those YouTube downloader applications/sites out there, but we’ll have to wait and see.

    To get your eyes popping out of your head some more, I’ve included some additional videos for your viewing pleasure. First up is the opening to one of my favorite series this season, GA-REI -zero-, featuring “Paradise Lost” by Chihara Minori (茅原 美里). As a prequel endorsed by the manga’s creator, GA-REI -zero- started off with a purposely misleading story, cast, and official website, but quickly turned into an awesome series that has far exceeded my expectations (…especially as of late).
    Show GA-REI -zero- OP ▼

    Next up is Rosario + Vampire CAPU2’s opening, “DISCOTHEQUE” by Mizuki Nana (水樹 奈々):
    Show Rosario + Vampire CAPU2 OP ▼

    Then the ever-so-popular Toradora!’s opening, “Pre-Parade” by Kugimiya Rie (釘宮 理恵), Horie Yui (堀江 由衣), Kitamura Eri (喜多村 英梨):
    Show Toradora! OP ▼

    Gundam 00 S2’s ending, “Prototype” by Ishikawa Chiaki (石川 智晶):
    Show Gundam 00 S2 ED ▼

    And finally, excellent use of HD with SOUL EATER’s second opening, “PAPERMOON” by Tommy heavenly6:
    Show SOUL EATER OP2 ▼

    Like the new quality of YouTube? Let me know what you think.


    While I’d like to divert attention away from myself, I guess this post warrants a re-introduction of some sort. As most regular readers are probably aware, I was contributing here on a regular basis for the greater portion of this year, but had to part ways for “personal reasons”. This was mainly due to a shift in priorities after I realized that I was spending too much of my free time on this site (i.e. basically all of it). However, Omni expressed an interest in having me around as someone who posts about “cool anime-related things” such as the above. Given how this entails a much looser blogging schedule, how it was fun working with him, and how I still wanted to contribute in some way for the readers, this seemed ideal for me. It also gives me more time and freedom to post about other anime-related things, such as the Strike Witches shooting game and their uncensored DVDs. Since I’m following a fair amount of series this season, thoughts constantly pop up in my head, many of which are inspiring enough to say a few words about. There are always new PVs coming out all the time too.

    Will I go back to covering series regularly? To be honest, I’m not sure at this point. Ideally, I’d like to stay clear of that path and use the Snapshot format at best, leaving the detailed coverage to Omni and Trillian. The two of them are doing a great job in that department, so I don’t feel like there’s any pressing need for me to join in.

    …would like to thank all the supportive readers for their encouraging remarks in the past.


    1. definitely truly High Definition, but the disadvantage for me is definitely slow a bit….even for 384kbps, maybe a 1mbps up to 5 DSL users would watch such Hi-Def Anime titles….I knew Youtube is improving…..

    2. Damnit Youtube is banned in my country(turkey).i was avoiding youtube unless needed but now i will have to use proxy sites every day.Just what kind of idiot decided to ban a site such as youtube.From the looks of it we will have to wait for few years before gonvernment decides to correct laws.

    3. LOL! Divine is back! Welcome sight for sore eyes, for a second there I thought I was seeing things!! But I was actually browsing youtube when they made the swap, all of a sudden, the player went widescreen when I went to the next video and I thought my firefox had messed up. Hope to see more of your posts Divine, omni has been doing an amazing job too!

    4. Well ,my country is pretty nationalist, especially if it concerns our countrys founder, M.Kemal Ataturk.It seems there was another group of idiots who spend their time on making videos that was slandering him.

    5. Toradora looks freaking amazing. T.T I’m so jealous. The videos that I’ve downloaded, (mkv,avi, and mp4 alike) are all less prettiful than YouTube’s. ::*sighs*::

      Nice upgrade though. I noticed it a few days ago. I was like, “Uh-ohhhhh…. The GooTube’s gettin’ serious.”

    6. @Tinithraviel
      thats why we hate turks and arabs and muslims ! youtube is a form of democracy and freedom but peolpe who believe in alah , are against that. luckely the world will clean up arabs icluding you very soon. ofcourse if you’re no muslim you can come here an join us ! we will give you a job and you can watch youtube as much as you want !
      it’s really quitly added like divine said, i saw it before but i was like “watts wrong wit my screen?” i m glad he made this post !
      and lastly , i got some news 2 !
      mika nakashima has released her new album its called “Voice” ! its so cool , and so is she ! byeeeeeee

      da troll
    7. im quite impressed with the quality of the these videos. these rival the quaity of anime direct downloaded avi files on the computer. it so clearrr… from a stream, its slowly gettin better..

    8. Nice, however I’m sure YouTube won’t be able to keep that. The traffic use of YouTube is already 1/7 of the whole US capacity (and growing). Also, did you read the press release? They advertise with streaming movies and such – copyright lawyers will go on a sue spree.
      I think the problem is, that what maybe kept of some people from sueing YouTube till now is the bad quality of the vids. As this is gone now things will change..

      Sorry to be such a bad player – but don’t be too euphoric people, even when it’s Google they have to stick to law and limits, so don’t be too disappointed when they restrict something.

    9. Wow, those are spectacular. I did notice the widescreen-ish version on some of the youtubes I’ve seen in the past couple days, but didn’t think much of it. The differences are vast between the usual resolution youtubes are usually posted at and what those are.

    10. Yay… although I’m not totally fond of the whole idea of streaming videos, the fact that YouTube has finally started fully exploiting Macromedia Flash’s ability to play for H.264 is encouraging.

      And hurray for coming back to make occasional posts. Yours posts are always quite entertaining, Divine, so I hope to see more of them (when it fits your schedule, of course).

    11. good, but i think we need the VDSL that Korea is in use, for the new streaming service. and it reminds me of IPOD vs MP3 Video viewers, their difference.
      IPOD and this HD widescreen is similar, as to how they restricted the size so there is extra time spent just to resize the clips to upload.
      I personally would go do some other stuff on my computer than to watch over the encoder eating over CPU.

    12. has had high def anime, with subtitles for awhile now. Its just a matter of time before everything gets added and the anime companies realize this is the new distribution market until they release dvd’s.

    13. Fantaastic. I’d been trying a bunch of other hosting sites just to get wide screen HD. Now I can come back to YouTube for the bigger audience. I tried &fmt=22 on an uploaded 938×528 and it looked better than the ‘high quality’ option. I’ll test it next added to the embed code.

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