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YouTube tonight blanketed its site with widescreen players, changing the aspect ratio for all its videos (and adding vertical black bars to all those in traditional 4:3). Seems like the site is upgrading from its accessibility-trumps-quality mantra (and no doubt hearing the drumbeat of demand for high-definition content).
From the YouTube blog:
We’re expanding the width of the page to 960 pixels to better reflect the quality of the videos you create and the screens that you use to watch them. This new, wider player is in a widescreen aspect ratio which we hope will provide you with a cleaner, more powerful viewing experience. And don’t worry, your 4:3 aspect ratio videos will play just fine in this new player.
This is a pretty major change that will no doubt anger some users. Where as YouTube’s “watch in high quality” option requires users to click to activate it, the new aspect ration comes as a default. From what we can tell, embeds remain 4:3, with widescreen videos being shown using horizontal black bars (see above).