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View higher quality videos on YouTube Web Browsers
Many people are using a trick to view any YouTube video in high-quality -- simply append &fmt=18 to the end of the URL. This is a job for AppleScript! Here are two simple versions; the first, for for OmniWeb:
tell application "OmniWeb"
  set current_url to the address of active tab of browser 1
  set current_url to current_url & "&fmt=18"
  set the address of active tab of browser 1 to current_url
end tell
...and the second, for Safari:
tell application "Safari"
  set current_url to the URL of current tab of window 1
  set current_url to current_url & "&fmt=18"
  set URL of current tab of window 1 to current_url
end tell
These can be placed in ~/Library » Scripts » Applications » AppName for easy access via the Script menu.

[robg adds: Queue user fds suggests that a JavaScript bookmarklet may work better, and it will work in any browser. Create a new bookmark for any site (or a blank bookmark), then change its URL to this: javascript:window.location+="&fmt=18";. Choose that bookmark while viewing a YouTube video, and you should get the high quality version.]
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View higher quality videos on YouTube | 11 comments | Create New Account
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View higher quality videos on YouTube
Authored by: chrononaut on Mar 21, '08 08:10:50AM
I use Safari pretty exclusively and I am a big fan of Sogudi, a location bar shortcut Input Manager. One thing I never though to try was putting some javascript in the shortcut instead of just an URL or a search shortcut. I just tried it with the javascript hint. If I'm on a YouTube page and I want to see the higher quality I just type ‘yt' in the location bar and does the same thing. I'm a fan of keyboard shortcuts over the mouse so this is perfect for me. Just like the cmd-option-F shortcut to the search window. It was so annoying before having to click or tab into there :D

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View higher quality videos on YouTube
Authored by: jstone8 on Mar 21, '08 08:18:13AM

Works great for me. I'm very surprised that some of the vids change so dramatically. It makes them actually viewable. Mahalo



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View higher quality videos on YouTube
Authored by: teacy123 on Mar 21, '08 08:33:23AM

I haven't tried this with YouTube yet (wasn't aware of this URL parameter until I read this), but I have done similar things for other websites with the PithHelmet add-on for Safari. PithHelmet can rewrite arbitrary pieces of HTML code before delivering it to the browser and thus could add the URL parameter to any URL that matches a certain pattern. I assume GreaseMonkey for Firefox could do something similar.



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View higher quality videos on YouTube
Authored by: teacy123 on Mar 21, '08 08:41:11AM

A quick follow-up: If you have a login account for YouTube you can just go to the video quality settings and make this a permanent setting for your account. No need to modify the URL.



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View higher quality videos on YouTube
Authored by: jonahlee on Mar 21, '08 09:20:38AM

You can also just go to YouTube, and in your settings there is a setting to always force the video to show higher quality. It seems like that would be the easiest method to use.

---
- Jonah Lee



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View higher quality videos on YouTube
Authored by: alextm on Mar 22, '08 10:23:46AM

You could chage the setting but if you are on slow internet, you may want the lowquality version most of the time



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View higher quality videos on YouTube
Authored by: Fofer on Mar 22, '08 12:12:27PM
There are three options:

-Choose my video quality dynamically based on the current connection speed.
-I have a slow connection. Never play higher-quality video.
-I have a fast connection. Always play higher-quality video when it's available.

http://www.youtube.com/video_quality_settings


This tip isn't necessary.

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View higher quality videos on YouTube
Authored by: marriott on Mar 24, '08 07:46:44PM

I have the "always play high-quality" setting checked on YouTube, and still do not get the high-quality version of videos. I can reload with "fmt=18" added and immediately see the difference in quality. I think this is an error on YouTube's part, and until it's fixed I'm using this script as a workaround.



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Best Part: Downloads are MP4
Authored by: Drdul on Mar 26, '08 06:34:34PM

Great hint! Not only does this provide access to higher-quality videos, but the best part is that if you download the video by double-clicking on it in the Activity Window (Cmd-Opt-A), you get a mp4 file, ready to import into iTunes (rather than a flv file that would need to be subsequently converted to mp4 or another format).

---
Richard Drdul
Vancouver, BC



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View higher quality videos on YouTube
Authored by: johnsawyercjs on Mar 27, '08 10:47:50PM

Too bad even the highest video quality from YouTube, isn't quite good enough for what we should expect (or at least hope for) for posterity, from a service that may have become the biggest repository for videos the public has access to. I hate to think, with all the time and effort expended by the people creating and posting videos on YouTube, that the resolution of all these productions is being cut by at least half, even at YouTube's highest quality. Anybody know if the versions YouTube receives, are higher resolution, and if so, whether YouTube retains them in storage at that original resolution, but just streams them at a lower resolution?



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Re: View higher quality videos on YouTube
Authored by: hoofed on Apr 17, '08 07:15:12PM

YouTube almost certainly does not keep the original video files once they have been transcoded. It's a lot of extra storage for the **just in case we need to transcode them again** scenario. It's not an unreasonable expectation that the video author keeps a copy of the master file, thus can re-upload the video in higher quality at a later date.



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