YouTube HD: Set default video to higher quality

YouTube HD for the masses

YouTube HD


For all but a few the best YouTube video on our machines is 1080p. To get a vague idea of what this means in resolution terms, most TVs provide 1080p inputs.

To give you the best viewing experience possible on your computer, YouTube adjusts the quality of your video stream from standard definition (such as 240p or 360p) to high definition (720p or 1080p), based on the speed of your Internet connection (bandwidth). This is why you may notice that the quality of your video changes as you watch videos.

Other factors that determine video quality:

  • Video player size: By default, the quality setting will be on “Auto”. YouTube will use the highest quality based on your video player size.
  • Quality of the original uploaded video: For example, if the video was recorded in standard definition, it will not be available in high definition.

Just click on over to when signed into to either Google or YouTube. Here, you can change the default to always view the best quality for your connection (even to always play HD). Conversely, you can set YouTube to never play higher-quality video if you are using a slow connection.

Always play YouTube HD on full screen

If you have a fast Internet speed, you can change your settings to make sure videos always play in HD qualities, when they’re available:

  • Go to your Settings page
  • Select Always play HD on fullscreen (when available)
  • Click the Save button