YouTube blames ISPs for poor video quality
Michelle Clancy | 08 July 2014
YouTube is following in the footsteps of Netflix by alerting consumers to ISP performance whenever a video begins to suffer quality issues.

Users will be treated to a handy pop-up box that urges them to "click to discover" why their videos are taking so long to load and buffer. Once clicked, YouTube displays the results for the last 24 hours from the Google Video Quality Report, which shows what kind of content the viewer's relevant ISP has been supporting lately: HD Verified, standard definition, or lower definition.

HD Verified can handle high definition content (defined as 720p and above) with smooth playback, while standard definition streams 360p videos without interruptions, and lower definition supports videos under 360p with the low quality to match. The report shows how many of each have been supported on a given ISP's pipes.

"There are many factors that influence your video streaming quality, including your choice of Internet Service Provider (ISP)," the report notes. "Learn how your ISP performs and understand your options."

YouTube is not pioneering the consumer leverage concept. Netflix famously publishes a monthly speed index showing which ISPs provide the best quality of experience for Netflix streaming video, and in May started showing on-screen messages if network congestion was afoot. The move drew a cease-and-desist letter from Verizon Communications, which it decided to comply with.