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YouTube Goes Widescreen

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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).

11 Responses to “YouTube Goes Widescreen”

  1. The weird thing is the default embed code is still giving 4:3 dimensions giving it the black bars (letterboxing), try altering the embed size parameters and you’ll get a proper “bar-less” widescreen video.

  2. I wonder if this has anything to do with a YouTube deal with Pure Digital and the new Mino HD Flip?

    BTW by the time I got to my seat at YouTube Live last weekend there was no Flip waiting for me on my seat like everyone else got but the guy next to me seemed to have enough room on his new flip to record the whole 90 minutes plus.

    Or maybe he had more than one Flip ?????

  3. I’m wondering what the best new upload settings will be for the YouTube widescreen High Quality (HQ) videos?

    The Flip Video Mino was upload in HQ with just the raw file at 640 x 480p, but now they have a new Flip Mino HD which has a native file resolution of 1280 x 720p which qualifies at the low end of high def HD. Their frame rate has remained the same at 30 fps.

    I’m hoping these are the best upload settings. They mention that they have made their YouTube pages wider at 960p to accommodate the new wider players, but they didn’t give us any settings.

    My fingers are crossed for at least 720p!

    On Your Side,
    Glen Woodfin