YouTube begins online video quality tracking service
Joseph O'Halloran
| 30 May 2014
Appreciating that levels of experience are not consistent across all providers of its service, US YouTube users can now use a new tracking service to see what online video quality their ISPs are offering.

The Google Video Quality Report is designed to see at what level of video quality an Internet service provider can play YouTube and if a user regularly sees videos buffer, it can offer a better idea of why, as well as tips to make YouTube play better. Alarmingly for some service providers, it also shows the video quality other ISPs in the users' locality area are delivering.

The rating has three levels of performance: HD verified, standard definition and lower definition. The former is reached if a the service can show at once whether a provider can consistently deliver HD video, a resolution of at least 720p, without buffering or interruptions. By contrast if you can watch videos at a resolution of at least 360p, the provider is delivering standard definition and if videos load slowly or frequently buffer, even at resolutions lower than 360p, a provider is delivering lower definition performance.

"Nothing ruins the experience of watching a YouTube video like Magic of Rahat more than seeing the dreaded buffering wheel, which is why we're always working to make videos play smoothly in the best quality possible," commented YouTube product manager Jay Akkad. "And when you can't see what you want, when you want, it's important you know why."

After initial roll out in the US and Canada, the Google Video Quality Report service will be rolled out to other countries in the coming months.