YouTube has started notifying users that their ISPs could be the reason behind problems like blurring video or excessive buffering. The video streaming service now sometimes displays an 'Experiencing interruptions?' bar underneath choppy videos with a link to obtain more information.
Clicking on the 'Find out why' button loads a Video Quality Report, allowing users to check out video consumption times within the area as well as compare their ISP service with other potential options. The best service providers are labeled “YouTube HD Verified”, while others are classified in Standard Definition and Lower Definition categories.
Google, who owns YouTube, says that these ratings represent the video streaming quality you can expect (at least 90% of the time) when you watch YouTube on an Internet service provider in a specific area.
According to the search giant, HD Verified means that you should be able to consistently watch HD-quality video (at least 720p) without buffering or interruptions, Standard Definition means that you should be able to watch videos in Standard Definition (at least 360p) without buffering or interruptions, while Lower Definition means that the video will play back in resolution lower than 360p, will load slowly, and may stop to re-buffer.
The news comes a couple of months after Netflix started displaying similar in-player video messages, naming and shaming a user’s ISP whenever a video had trouble loading quickly or wasn’t able to display the highest quality stream. Although the subscription service stopped showing the messages shortly after Verizon threatened legal action, it continues to display the results of average streaming speeds for all ISPs.
A YouTube spokesman told Re/code that the new warning messages are about educating people, and not meant to shame ISPs.