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YouTube video quality tests to name and shame slow ISPs

by Mark Tyson on 23 January 2014, 13:00

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), YouTube (NASDAQ:GOOG)

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Google has recently introduced a video performance testing and grading system as it hits back at slow ISPs by testing internet speeds with a YouTube Quality Report. The tool is described as a third-party test which gives users a clear vision of how their internet service providers are operating based upon YouTube playback.

Although not yet available in the UK, the project is designed to test the quality and speeds by relying on data related to HD YouTube video playback and how well the ISPs can deal with these streaming demands. The website itself is split into three sections, with plenty of information on how the test works. This also includes a 'Your Results' section, where users will find a collection of graphs for each major ISP in their locality.

The example below is a test result from TekSavvy in Vancouver, as Canada is the first country where the service has been made available so far. But not to worry, as YouTube director of product management Shiva Rajaraman confirmed that the service will eventually expand to other global markets, reports the Financial Post.

Is your ISP 'YouTube HD Verified'?

Your ISP will be graded depending on its performance relative to that area when compared to other providers. Google certifies those ISPs which are able to handle 90% of 720p YouTube videos as "YouTube HD Verified". Networks that can load standard definition (resolution of at least 360p) smoothly are considered to be "Standard Definition" and those ISPs who struggle to load videos smoothly and quickly are deemed as "Lower Definition". The test report lets users evaluate, between providers, the comparative quality of YouTube video streaming all through the day.

The video quality report may seem initially to be aimed at its users. But Google's real intention is to use it as an attempt to get customers to insist that their ISPs invest in making both its and Google's products better. "We wanted to give users a measure of performance that they can truly understand … the other side is we felt this would be beneficial for ISPs too, because now they can describe their service and the various product offerings and price points they might have to their customers in a way that they can truly understand: You can access YouTube in HD on my ISP, or not," said YouTube's Rajaraman.

The firm is also anticipating that its test results will be picked up by ISPs in their advertising campaigns, giving companies a "factual way to present that information to their subscribers." Would readers welcome the arrival of this service quality measurement tool in the UK?

HEXUS Forums :: 21 Comments

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Seems like a good idea - and possibly more relevant than the various speed tests you get…
I'm sure a lot of problems are caused by Youtube and the player rather than the ISP. Like the buffering randomly stopping completely at times, skipping back, quality switching not always working, etc.

I expect this will still be useful though.
tbh, this is fairly ridiculous. Half the issues with internet connectivity have little/nothing to do with your home line speed, and everything to do with the many routing stages the information takes to reach you. In the UK, that means for most people going through openreach's infrastructure, which I'm pretty sure is the biggest limiter in my connection. There's really very little the ISP can do about that.
Good idea, but what it all comes down to is Youtube selling the rights to use it in ads later when it does become popular to check your IPS in this list. Or some kind of money making plan.
It has nothing to do with “doing good” for people that use youtube to watch movies
Seems like a stupid idea, most ISP's in my area can't reach anywhere close to speeds advertised unless is fibre.
Having BT say their 15mb line is YouTube HD Verified will not get me smooth playback when I only get 2-3mb at most.

Then again its not always down to the ISP even if you did get the stated speeds, such as where the video is being sourced from and youtubes own issues.