Improve YouTube video quality in FireFox

Posted on March 6, 2008 by Chris Duke
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While watching movies on the iPhone version of YouTube I always noticed videos looked better. I just thought it might be the smaller screen. With this new Add-on for FireFox, I think it confirms that there are different quality versions of videos at YouTube. In fact, according to Josh, this Add-on streams from video.l.google.com instead of youtube.com. This makes sense to me because Google videos always supported much better video quality. Perhaps the YouTube player on the iPhone does the same thing?

The Add-on for FireFox is called “Better YouTube Firefox extension” that really does improve the video quality of YouTube, depending on the video that was originally uploaded. I always upload videos in a better quality than is shown at YouTube, and I can confirm that it does work with a side-by-side comparison of two of my videos using Safari (left) Vs. FireFox (right) with the Add-on:

youtube-hires.png

(Click for full size and to see the detail in the “Jason G.” logo bug)
(Click here to use this video for testing)

Here’s another that really shows off the difference. It’s a video I created last December, editing and uploading directly to YouTube using Apple’s latest version of iMovie, and you can really tell the difference in the titling at the bottom of the page.

youtube-shooting-range.png

(Click for full size and to see the detail in the titling)
(Click here to use this video for testing)

The Add-on gives you some other cool features such as the ability to hide comments, show the full video description, and there’s even a “Theater View” mode which allows you to view videos at 750×580 resolution. The downside to theater view is that you have no other information on the page (description, comments, links, etc.)

This Add-on actually does nothing to improve the ‘stream’ of video. It can’t take a bad video and make it better. All it does is add or change elements of the existing YouTube page, such as where the video is downloaded from (Google Videos, not YouTube), and automatically does things that you can normally do yourself, such as click the More link to view the full description. A very worthy Add-on for FireFox!

Get it here: Better YouTube Firefox extension