For the past few months, I’ve been uploading videos to YouTube in HD (high definition) using the 720p compression preset in QuickTime. But there’s a problem. After the upload, I play my video in YouTube and the only options are 360p and 480p. How do I get the 720p (or HD) option for my video which was shot and edited at 1280 x 720 resolution? Below is a quick video from a fellow YouTuber who obviously shares my frustration.

After running a test of 2 different types of QuickTime compression (number 1 and 3 in the screenshot below), I found that the only way to have the HD option in YouTube is to upload an HD video with no compression. It takes a lot longer but will be worth it in the long run if quality if your footage was shot and edited in HD. Why? Because computers and TV’s are steadily making the shift to HD as the new standard, so you might as well have your videos up to speed with that. Otherwise, your business video will look outdated when the day comes that standard definition camcorders are no longer sold. For the 3-minute video I used in my test run below, it was only the uncompressed version (number 2) that gave me the HD option during playback.

Better Internet Video uploading HD to YouTube test

Better Internet Video does an HD upload test on YouTube

In short, upload a fully uncompressed self-contained QuickTime movie to YouTube and your viewers will have options for the best possible viewing quality that YouTube currently offers. To view my HD tests for yourself, you can watch them at http://www.youtube.com/midwest2LA and you’ll see that only #2 has the option of “720p” in the viewing options menu in the lower-right corner of the player.

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