Often videos on YouTube are available in multiple sizes. If the original uploaded video was high definition 1080p, you can also watch it in 720p and 360p and sometimes even as low as 240p. Usually, YouTube videos by default play at high quality such as 480p and 720p if available. This suits people who prefer watching videos at high resolution, but bad for people who have old computers or their connection is not fast enough or there are bandwidth caps the user cannot afford to go over.
The point is – different users have different choices, which is why YouTube offers multiple qualities for each video. But YouTube doesn’t know what your preferred quality is, and curiously, there is no way to tell YouTube. It will playback videos at the same quality for everybody. Chrome and Firefox users can override this by setting their preferred video playback quality through extensions.
YouTube quality selector is an extension for Chrome that allows you to set multiple quality preferences for YouTube videos. There is a preferred quality level and four additional quality levels as fallback options that you’ll have to sort in the order you want. The selector will automatically set the most suitable quality level when you play a YouTube video. YouTube quality selector can also automatically widen the player, if allowed, as well as shrink it.
YouTube quality selector is no longer available. Alternative extensions are:
- SmartVideo For YouTube: SmartVideo provides better control over YouTube buffering, quality and playing options.
- Youtube Automatic Quality changer: Play videos at the highest quality.
- Youtube Automatic Low Quality Chooser: Play videos at the lowest quality.
YouTube video quality manager add-on for Firefox, on the other hand, is straightforward. It adds a single button to the browser’s add-on bar. A click on it opens a small menu from where you choose your desired quality. Once set, Firefox will attempt to play the video at the quality you have chosen. If the desired video quality is not found, the player will fallback to the default quality.