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What are the different available qualities of streaming videos?The web originally offered videos in only one format, but it now has three main formats, as well as a mobile format for viewing on mobile phones. The original format, now labeled Standard Quality, displays videos at a resolution of 320x240 using the Sorenson Spark codec with mono MP3 audio. This was, at the time, the standard for streaming online videos.
High Quality videos, introduced in March 2008, are shown at 480x360 with mono MP3 sound. They can also be viewed with the H.264 codec and stereo AAC audio by adding &fmt=18 to the end of the video URL. This offers a significant improvement over standard quality. This was followed up in November 2008 by 720p HD support. At the same time, the Online Video Player was changed from a 4:3 aspect ratio to widescreen 16:9. This was introduced first, more than a year before, by the website Vimeo. 720p videos are shown in full 1280x720 and encoded with the H.264 codec. They also feature stereo audio encoded with AAC. From February 2009, all new videos are shown using H.264 and AAC by default for both Standard and High Quality viewing, allowing for higher quality videos at approximately the same file size.
Can I choose the quality of the video to watch on the web?Videos are offered in several different resolutions. When a High Quality or High Definition version of a video is available, a HQ or HD icon displays in the lower right corner.
Click on the icon to view the video in the HQ/HD format, and the icon background turns red.
You can also browse from a collection of High Definition videos here.
What Internet connection speed do I need for a smooth viewing experience of HQ/HD videos?There are two elements that will dictate your viewing experience:
(a) Effective internet connection speed - This determines your potential data delivery speed and thus your potential viewing experience. This means that if your effective connection speed is lower than the video's bitrate (see table below) then the video cannot possibly play smoothly. On the other hand, an effective connection speed that appears to be sufficient does not guarantee a smooth viewing experience since this is dependant on the video throughput rate.
(b) Video delivery (throughput) rate - This is the actual flow of data from the video servers to your PC. Think of the video throughput as water flowing to the top of a skyscraper. Having the largest pipes possible at the base of the building does not guarantee a strong flow of water at the top. The flow at the top is limited by the pipes located there and by the tap itself.
Standard Video High Quality video (HQ) High Definition video (HD) Encoding MPEG-4 MPEG-4 MPEG-4 Aspect Ratio 4:3, 16:9 4:3, 16:9 16:9 Resolution 320*240 480*360 1280*720 Bitrate (mbit/sec) 0.5 0.9 2
Is there a difference between the internet connection speed I'm paying for and my effective connection speed?Your actual connection speed may be substantially lower than what is advertised by your Internet service provider. This is due to various reasons including:
- Shared bandwidth, in which the ISP imposes a limit on the aggregate bandwidth allocated to a neighborhood or group of subscribers. This means that at peak hours subscribers will have a much lower bandwidth allocated to them.
- Bandwidth allocation between several machines or users on the same connection
- Applications and processes on your computer continuously using up bandwidth, thus reducing your effective speed for watching video.
What controls the video delivery rate?The video delivery throughput rate depends largely on the rate in which the video is streamed from the server and on the barriers between the server and the destination computer. Actual throughput will drop with the physical distance between the source server and the destination computer. Busy servers and/or congested areas along the way will result in a further drop in throughput.
How can I see that the video is being accelerated?Each time SPEEDbit Video Accelerator improves the performance of a video, a Now Accelerating message appears from your desktop tray to let you know it is working. Additionally, you can look at the video progress bar and see that the video is being loaded in rapid chunks, taking leaps forward instead of gradual and slow progress.
Here you can see a side by side comparison of a video loading regularly, and a video that is playing smoothly thanks to Video Accelerator.
Complementing video deliveryThe Internet protocol is very limited in its ability to deliver video efficiently. The quality of the delivery deteriorates due to physical distance, congested areas along the way, busy servers, and other reasons. Web Video sites are making great efforts to overcome those limitations, and Speedbit Video Accelerator works hand in hand with those efforts to provide the missing link to enjoying the best possible viewing experience. Only Speedbit Video Accelerator with its patented and award winning technology can acquire the video using multi threads and other sophisticated algorithms. Video Accelerator fully utilizes the available bandwidth and overcomes congested areas, busy servers, and last mile issues. It provides the best user experience for watching Online Videos, and even "long tail" videos that are hosted only on the backbone of video sites.