YouTube has started enabling high-quality video playback on its embeds. Previously, you could switch to the high-quality stream by hacking the embed code, but now YouTube provides a handy-dandy little “HQ” button in the lower-right pop-up menu. Clicking on the button lets you toggle between the high-quality and the normal version.
The option makes a bigger difference depending on the original quality of the video (hat tip to TechCrunch for pointing out a good Obama example). You can really see the difference (reinforcing just how cruddy YouTube videos are at their most basic level).
YouTube also offers HD streaming for select videos on its site, but HD playback in the embeds does not seem to be an option at this point.
While YouTube doesn’t give out specific numbers, the number of views YouTube receives from embeds is less than 44 percent of its total viewership. We contacted YouTube PR to to find out more.