What settings provide the best video quality on YouTube

In this article I'm going to tell you how to beat YouTube's algoritm.

A short introduction, at the moment of writing this article YouTube mainly uses two codecs. I'm not going too much into details about those codecs right now, but the ones they use are vp09 and avc1 .

In big lines, what's the key difference between these codecs?

The Advanced Video Codec (AVC1), also referred to as H.264 is a video compression standard based on block-oriented and motion-compensating integer-DCT coding. On the moment of writing this codec is widely used in the video industry. AVC1 supports resolutions up to and including 8K (UHD). YouTube uses this codec for video's which have a lower resolution than 1440p. After this resolution YouTube starts using VP09. VP09 is a video coding format developed by Google (This might also be the reason that this codec is not available on Apple devices and Safari). On Android VP09 has been supported since Android 4.4 (KitKat).

So, my video quality gets totally obliterated by the avc1 codec what to do?

Well, I have pretty much explained what most likely is going on in the previous paragraph, but first of all let's find out if it's being caused by avc1. If you are watching on a Apple device please skip all text ahead. As VP09 is unavailable for your device. Otherwise lets figure out which one your videos get, simply navigate to your video. Right click the video and press "stats for nerds" A tiny screen like the one below will pop up, telling you which codec your video has gotten from YouTube.

My video was telling me that it was using VP09. Because the video in question is uploaded in 2160p (4K). If the resolution of your video is below 1440p your video most likely shows AVC1.

But, my video shows AVC1..

That most likely means the resolution of your video is below 1440p. If you are recording your videos on 1080p it will probaly give you better results if you upscale that footage to 1440p rather than getting it smashed by the AVC1 codec. If you are recording your footage at 1440p or higher, just adjust your render settings. You are already golden with your input footage. Just make sure to make your final render on 1440p aswell.

My video is VP09 but it still looks like ****. What to do?

Doublecheck your bitrate. Next to resolution bitrate is an important step. If your bitrate is too low for your selected resolution you will miss out data. Missing this data makes your video look like **** too! and we don't want that. Below is a little table of resolutions and which minimum bitrate is required for a good looking video.


Doublecheck which codec gets assigned to your video, and check if the bitrate matches the used resolution.

Let me know if this helped you, and drop a comment down below if it didn't!


Knalsigaarfpv - 18 April 2020 16:49
Nice one! Thanks for sharing mate, will check it out for a next vid 🤙🏼
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