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OK, Ashton might have more followers on Twitter than we do, but we're not going quietly into the night. Let's take a friendly celebrity tussle to Facebook, shall we? where we've got the 12th most popular Product/Celebrity fan page (thankyouverymuch). With 3.1 million fans, we're hovering above Mr. Demi Moore, Rihanna and, er, potato chips (Pringles). That's not too bad, but our sights are on you, Will Smith, Megan Fox, Lady Gaga, Adam Sandler and Vin Diesel. You stand in our way of leaderboard glory so it's time for a good old fashioned Internet showdown.
You heard it here: we're going to pass these celebs in the next 60 days and if we don't, we'll eat humble pie and spotlight video(s) on our homepage for the nonprofit or non-commercial cause of their choosing. It's a stretch goal, to be sure, as we'd have to gain approximately the following numbers of fans to beat...
Think we can do it? Help us get there by joining our Facebook group now. Because we so want to be able to say that we're stronger than Vin Diesel, cooler than Will Smith and hotter than Megan Fox.

Hunter Walk, Director, Product Management, recently favorited "J.J. Abrams: The mystery box."

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The world's premiere action sports event, X Games 15, starts today in Los Angeles with a slew of competitions, including street park and vert ramp skateboarding, BMX, motocross, rally car and more — and we'll have all the jaw-dropping, mind-exploding moments on YouTube, courtesy of ESPN.

Bonafide legends and legends-in-the-making will be competing, with big air masters like skateboarder Danny Way, BMX rider Dave Mirra and Moto X rider Todd Potter putting it all on the line. What's at stake for these athletes? A lot more than prize money and titles...


While the Mega Ramp and vertical events always draw the oohs and aahs, many skateboarding industry watchers are hotly anticipating the skate park and street events, thanks to a field stacked with YouTube heroes Mike Mo Capaldi, Paul Rodriguez, Andrew Reynolds, Ryan Sheckler and (Wallenberg and Maloof Cup winner) Chris Cole. The women's field is also highly competitive this year, with young stars Leticia Bufoni and Marisa Del Santo slated to skate.

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of X Games and to whet your appetite for the event, ESPN put together a greatest hits playlist with the best moments from each year, including Travis Pastrana's gravity-defying motocross double-backflip in 2006 and Tony Hawk's epic 900-degree spin ("The 900") from 1999.

ESPN will be uploading daily highlights, interviews, features and behind-the-scenes video to their channel and to a XG15 playlist. Subscribe to make sure you don't miss a beat.

Andrew Bangs, YouTube Sports, recently watched "Real Madrid vs Universidad de Quito."

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Update (7/29): Thanks to everyone who voted. Here are the final results of the poll.
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Among other things, YouTube is a place for healthy and vigorous debate. In that spirit, we're introducing a monthly blog entry embracing a popular question that never fails to elicit a colorful response: Who would win in a fight? Each installment, we'll be pitting two characters from YouTube Shows and Movies against each other in a no-holds-barred, free-for-all battle royale. To kick things off, we've got Juggernaut vs. Incredible Hulk.

vs.

For a truly expert opinion, we defer to mrtennessen, who has already mapped out what a possible deathmatch between the two titans might look like.



More importantly, what's your opinion? Vote in the poll at the top of the blog, or post video responses or comments to the X-Men and Hulk shows and movies to express a more in-depth point of view. If you can think of a good battle between characters from the YouTube Shows and Movies pages, post it in the comments below - the best idea will be featured in the next edition of "Who Would Win in a Fight?"

Nate Weinstein, YouTube Film, recently watched "Gowanus, Brooklyn."

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YouTube offers many different routes to self-expression, with countless individuals sharing their lives on our site every day. While creativity can be its own reward, it never hurts to receive a little recognition for your efforts. HP's You on You project challenges YouTube users to tell your stories in a rather unusual way, in a minute or less, without showing your face (a theme of HP's most recent ad campaign). The best entries will be voted on by the community over a five-week period, and there are substantial cash prizes to be won, in addition to the opportunity to showcase your talents in an online video gallery.

Does the idea of making a face-free video sound daunting? To get your creative juices flowing, HP invited some YouTube personalities to create sample videos. From the digital animation of filmmaker mdotstrange to AmazingPhil's stuffed toys and clay stop-motion, these are compelling examples to get you thinking about the challenge.



You don't need to be a painter like BrittaniLouiseTaylor or ValsArtDiary to strut your stuff. Catch ndtitanlady putting her sewing skills in the spotlight or italktosnakes simply talking about her passions. Check out this playlist to see all the samples. With these diverse storytelling styles to spark your thinking, we hope you'll be inspired to show us something new, via HP You on You. 

Posted by Mark Day, YouTube People & Blogs

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If you're a fan of superheroes, blockbuster movies and eye-popping sci-fi costumes, San Diego's ComicCon is something of a big deal -- big enough that YouTube users Charlieissocoollike and communitychannel traveled all the way from England and Australia, respectively, to see the annual pop culture extravaganza for themselves. For cash-strapped fanboys and fangirls, the good news is that with today's homepage spotlight collection, you can join them.

ComicCon gets bigger every year, and our coverage of the show doesn't stop with fan-on-the-event-floor reports. We've got the showbiz mavens of EW (that's Entertainment Weekly) checking in, gaming-oriented coverage from Machinima, and some classic ComicCon footage from the vaults of Current and the official ComicCon channel. You can find all things ComicCon by clicking "view all" on the Spotlight module on today's homepage. If you like what you see, why not favorite or playlist a few clips, and add them to your own collection?

Mark Day, Comedy Manager, recently watched Wired's roving ComicCon report.

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Recently, we announced that a new set of features was in need of your loving care. Over 50 of you heeded round 1 champion thecomputernerd01's call to help -- that is, to make a video explaining to the YouTube community how annotations, tags, Quicklist, mobile uploads and/or the customized homepage work. Almost 50% of the group chose to "adopt" annotations, and tags and Quicklist also received a decent amount of attention. You even made videos about a few features not on the list, like captions, the new channel design and widescreen viewing. So far, the videos submitted for this round have been viewed over 34K times and already there are some choice tutorials out there, such as...

...MikeandToneRP's explanation of tags, starring Megan Fox (um, not):



...LaughingLeaf's video on Quicklist, complete with a blooper reel:



...AJCShow's fast n' easy overview of sending a video from your phone to YouTube:



We'll be showcasing some of the best submissions on the homepage on Thursday, July 30, beginning at 6am PT, so it's not too late for your moment in the sun. Simply make a video about any or all of the features listed at the start of this blog post, and include the name of the feature and "adoptafeature" in the tags. Share your video far and wide -- our autoshare feature will help a lot with that -- and try to build views for it. It's one of the factors we'll use to decide who makes it to the homepage and who takes the crown for this edition of the program.

Anyway, it's almost the weekend, so go forth and adopt (a feature)!

Hunter Walk, Director, Product Management, recently watched "Remix Culture: Fair Use is Your Friend."

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In May, we asked you to participate in our first-ever Video for Change program, the Enough Project's Come Clean 4 Congo contest, by making short videos that illustrate the tie between the minerals in cell phones and the ongoing war in the Congo.

You responded by submitting many excellent videos that increased public awareness of this important, but under-exposed, issue. In the end, our panel of judges (actor Ryan Gosling, director Wim Wenders, and Lost actress Sonia Walger) narrowed the entries down to three semi-finalists. Now, as Walger notes, it's up to you to choose the final winner:



The winner will receive a trip to Los Angeles where his/her video will be shown at the Hollywood Film Festival's first Human Rights Symposium. Please take a look at the semi-finalist entries below and vote for your favorite at www.youtube.com/enoughproject.



Posted by Ramya Raghavan, YouTube Nonprofits & Activism

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When you discover videos on YouTube, we try to provide you with useful information about what it is you're watching -- like total views, the number of ratings, and other metrics that make the site more transparent and the videos themselves more interesting. Uploaders can find even more information about their videos via our free analytics tool, YouTube Insight, including stats about their popularity, geographic audience, and viewer demographics. But most of this information is hidden from the view of the millions and millions of people who've never posted a video to the site, and who therefore don't have access to much of the data we make available to uploaders.

That's why today we're giving you the ability to make some information collected in Insight available publicly to anyone watching your videos on YouTube. Now when you watch a video, you can learn even more about it and its audience: on the watch page, under the "Statistics & Data" section, you will be able to see metrics about a video's views over time, its popularity in different parts of the world, the top drivers of traffic, and the video's top three audience demographics.


If you've uploaded a video, you will be able to choose whether or not you want to make this information public. (You can turn this feature on or off for any or all of the videos you upload, by adjusting the privacy settings for your videos under "My Account.") But we think that providing your audience with more information about what they're watching can help you drive views and sustain a more engaged audience. And of course, for those of you who are partners, allowing statistics to be displayed with your videos is actually a great way to attract advertisers.

We hope this feature, like others we've launched this year, will help us further open up analytics on the site, making it easy for users to play with YouTube information across different platforms.

Posted by Kenny Stoltz, Product Manager

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First there was 1953's 3D thriller "House of Wax," thenthere was the Michael Jackson adventure "Captain EO," and this summerthere are at least three major motion pictures in 3D. The format isexploding in popularity, and already there are countless 3D videos on YouTube. Wewanted to make it easier for you to watch and enjoy them in a varietyof formats, since having a 3D experience usually requires specialglasses or viewing techniques. Here's a brief overview video.

This is a new feature and many of the kinks arestill being worked out (for instance, 3D videos cannot be embedded).But as with most things on YouTube, we need your help. We are lookingfor you to show us the real potential of this feature by making afascinating, funky 3D video of your own. Tag it with yt3d:enable=true,and leave the link in a comment on this blog. We'll feature a smallselection on the homepage in an upcoming 3D-themed spotlight.

Some basics around shooting 3D videos (this isn't easy, so patience is key):
  • Use two cameras arranged like a pair of eyes.
  • Start both cameras recording simultaneously.
  • Inyour video editing program, place the footage for the left and righteyes together in the frame side by side, with the right eye on the leftand the left eye on the right.
  • Upload your video! Edit your videos tags and add yt3d:enable=true. If video is widescreen, add yt3d:aspect=16:9 too.
For user discussions around 3D video, visit the YouTube forum.

Have fun!

Posted by Peter Bradshaw, Software Engineer

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When just $200 purchases a high-definition (HD) camera, you know the world is changing, and YouTube has changed with it. Thanks to more affordable equipment on the market, increasing bandwidth available to consumers, and better video codec support in web browsers, we have been improving our site to keep YouTube the best home for high resolution content. We increased the file size limit to 2GB, so you can upload bigger files straight from an HD camera. We also raised the resolution and quality of our standard video format, which makes all new YouTube videos look better, not just those uploaded in HD.

The average video resolution of files uploaded every day to YouTube has jumped nearly 30% in the last eight months (as shown in the graph below), which means that you are uploading increasingly better quality videos to the site. Earlier this year, CNET crowned YouTube as the best site for HD, and from our stats we can see users are sending us more: For every one thousand uploads in June, twice as many are from HD sources compared to samples of the same size in December, and this rate is increasing.




Another way to think about it is to look at the same video at different resolutions, to see the variation and evolution in quality. In honor of the 40th anniversary of the moon landing on Monday, we've chosen a video from NASA's channel to demonstrate this, with thumbnails shot at 1:12 in the video. (Click on an image to see full size.)

Standard Quality (SQ)



High Quality (HQ)



High Definition (HD)



Nice, right? We'll do everything we can to continue providing you with the best quality video for maximum creativity, impact and enjoyment. After all, you are driving this transformation: by uploading more high-quality videos to the site, we've made it a priority to adapt with you.

For more about YouTube myths exposed (low video quality is Myth #2), click here to go to the Biz Blog, our partner and advertiser blog.

Posted by Billy Biggs, Software Engineer

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There's something extra special about the U2 global premiere on the homepage today: it was directed by David O'Reilly of Octocat fame, which spawned thousands of tribute videos on YouTube. Since then, O'Reilly has gone on to win animation festivals with such oddball shorts as "Please Say Something". His most recent success? Being tapped by fellow Irishmen U2 to create the video for their latest single, "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight."

In addition, we've got a few rare live performances from U2's "secret" sold-out club appearances that were filmed earlier this year, plus an interview with the band from Fez, Morocco, where they recorded their 12th studio album.

Enjoy these Music Tuesday exclusives!

Posted by Michele Flannery, Music Manager

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Filmmaking is all about dreaming big. From taking a flicker of an idea, fleshing it out into a script, getting it in the can, and shepherding it from the editing suite to the big screen; it's a harrowing process often driven by a filmmaker's vision and ambition.

That's why today, we're proud to announce a brand new, six-week YouTube Screening Room program in conjunction with the Sundance Director's Lab and sponsored by Honda, celebrating the power of dreams. To start, we're bringing you four short films from celebrated directors Peter Sollett ("Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist"), Joshua Marston ("Maria Full of Grace"), Tamara Jenkins ("The Slums of Beverly Hills"), and Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden (Half Nelson), all of whom attended the Sundance Director's Lab on their way to making critically-acclaimed independent films.



Stay tuned, because in two weeks we'll be bringing you exclusive footage from inside the 2009 Sundance Director's Lab, where some of the world's most promising young directors are developing and fine-tuning their dream projects with leading industry consultants.

Posted by Sara Pollack, Entertainment Marketing Manager

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Notice something different about the YouTube logo on the homepage today? It's been made over to honor the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's small step into the history books, with Apollo 11's landing on the moon. Four decades ago today, millions of people crowded around flickering black and white television sets -- or listened in via radio -- nervously waiting to see and hear the crew of Apollo 11 make good on President Kennedy's pledge to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, which he made on May 25, 1961. To coincide with this event, key moments from those live TV images have been partially restored by NASA and can now be seen online by billions of people around the world. And if those iconic glimpses of Apollo 11's lunar landing give you goosebumps, you'll find this classic long-form NASA documentary from the U.S. National Archives to be a real treat; experience the story of this historic mission through the eyes of the people who made it happen:



Space fans have more opportunities than ever to keep tabs on footage from the archives and present-day missions via YouTube channels like NASAtelevision, Houston's ReelNASA, and NASAexplorer out of Goddard, Maryland. If you want to get even closer to the lunar surface, take a trip with Moon in Google Earth and explore Apollo 11's landing site on the Sea of Tranquility with the same ease with which you might have used Google Earth to take a tour of your own neighborhood. (For more about Moon in Google Earth, click here for the launch announcement in the Google LatLong blog or here for the official Google blog's post.) While today's space fans impatiently await the next era of space exploration, at least we're spoiled for choice when it comes to revisiting the giant leaps that took place 40 years ago.

Posted by Mark Day, YouTube Science & Technology

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Those of you with long memories may remember user gatherings stretching as far back as February '07, with the "As One" meetup in San Francisco. Last weekend, in New York City, the latest generation of vloggers, viewers and playlisters got together for 789, a get-together that took place over several days in the Big Apple. While regulars like Nalts and Zipster were on hand to capture scenes of people getting acquainted, the event seemed like it belonged to first-time gatherers like BeanerLaRue, who reels off an impressive list of in-the-flesh meetings:



Also hard to miss were rising stars like Mitchell Davis (a.k.a. LiveLavaLive, seen below in the Apple store with a posse of female vloggers) and the always energetic Supermac18:





Photographers StylistBrighton and Bucknik captured some impressive still shots which they've posted here and here.

A few users, including Urgo6667, mattlaw25 and vclamp, joined YouTube's George Strompolos for burgers and a weekend tour of Google's New York office. The group talked about the partner program and, perhaps more importantly, played lots of Pong.

Congratulations to MyAnnoyances, PaulThaAsian and DJTLaC who were the driving forces behind the 789 gathering. Watch MyAnnoyances express his thanks to you for making it a success:



If you attended the event, tell us what you thought in the comments, and let us know about any upcoming gatherings you're organizing and we'll list them in the sidebar of this blog. We're also aggregating videos showcasing your great organizing efforts on the YouTube gathering channel; we've got a playlist from 789 there already, and we imagine there will only be more to come.

Posted by Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager

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Picture this: you've spent your whole life being legally blind. At the age of 24 you get a pair of glasses that brings the world into focus for the very first time -- first you can see the eye chart in the doctor's office; then you turn to your grandmother's smiling face, which you'd never really seen before. Tears are shed, and from then on you just can't drink in your surroundings fast enough.

This happened to Michael Davis, aka volunteerforvision, who's using YouTube to show people what the transformation was like from the inside. His video allows you to see, quite literally, what the world looked like to him before the glasses and after, with things like street signs, stars, blades of grass and book covers sharpening before your eyes:



Recently, Davis ran in his first race, "Journey for Sight," where he placed first among visually impaired runners. Buoyed by this success, he enlisted in a second run, for which he raised $1,000 for the children's hospital where he had 23 surgeries before the age of 13. Naturally, he made a video about the experience.

By using social sites like YouTube to try to find a community of people with similar experiences and to inspire others with his story, Davis is building toward his ultimate goal: to earn a masters degree in accounting and to start a nonprofit organization devoted to informing the visually impaired about the services available to them and how technology can enrich a life.

Posted by Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager

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From Dwight Howard dunks to Skateboarding Twins' kickflips, sports on YouTube has always been big. Today, YouTube sports fans have even more reason to cheer: ESPN clips are now available on our site. The deal, officially announced in March, is part of our new partnership with Disney. And in the spirit of this great new content coming to YouTube, the folks at ESPN have made a YouTube community welcome video in which you just might notice a few characters:



On their new channel, www.youtube.com/ESPN, you'll find Albert Pujols' towering home runs and Peyton Manning's laser passes, Kobe Bryant's turnaround jumpers and Brock Lesnar's haymakers, the hottest breaking news stories and a ton of original ESPN shows. SportsCenter Right Now — a twice-daily capsule of top sports stories — will also live on the channel, as will clips from Outside the Lines, E:60, Mike and Mike in the Morning, Pardon the Interruption, Around the Horn and Kenny Mayne's original digital series Mayne Street, as well as special packages and playlists created around events like the X Games (which is July 30-August 2). All of this is viewable through a special ESPN video player on the watch page and at YouTube's sports hub, www.youtube.com/sports.

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For a long time our blog hasn't used the latest blog technology -- not only was publishing posts a time-consuming process, but you couldn't search through our archives or find posts grouped by subject. Well, we're finally catching up and have migrated over to Blogger, a more flexible blogging platform that heeds the call for better navigation and organization. (But be aware that if you want to comment on a blog post, you'll need an OpenID, or a Google account, to do so. Connecting your YouTube account to your Google account should make the process pretty seamless.)

We're still fixing a few things here and there, and a few posts with large numbers of comments are still migrating over, but overall we hope you will find this to be a better blog-reading experience.

Posted:
Hi there,

We're in the processing of transitioning the YouTube blog to the Blogger platform, so you may see a hiccup or two here while we complete the migration.
Thanks for your patience, and we'll be back soon.

Posted by Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager

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Been a while since your last good scare? Then check out the new round of short horror films in The YouTube Screening Room, our destination for top independent films from the film festival circuit.

This series of shorts, which have played at some of the world's most prestigious festivals, including Sundance, Tribeca and London, have something in common beyond their caliber. From sadistic serial killers to beautiful zombies to tales of romance gone horribly, horribly wrong, these films all take "twisted" to the next level.



This collection comes courtesy of Warner Bros.'s "The Orphan", coming to theaters July 24, which tells the story of a couple terrorized by the seemingly innocent child they adopt after the death of their baby girl.

Posted by Sara Pollack, Entertainment Marketing Manager

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Update (9/16): The remaining items on our to-do list for new channels have been taken care of (with a few remaining bugs expected to be fixed in the next two weeks), so we're planning on switching all user channels still using the older version on September 30 and all partners on October 14. To read about the fixes and improvements that have been made, hop on over to the Channels Beta Blog.

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Update (7/11): We want to give you a heads up that we're changing the day on which we'll move all remaining channels over to the new version. Why? Well, July 15 is almost here, and we realized that we still have a few bugs and things left on the to-do list.

Specifically, here's what we plan to do before we roll the new version out to all remaining channels:
  • Add transparency (now done)
  • Fix some browser-specific layout bugs - in particular, IE6 has a few issues right now
  • Allow you to default your channel to "grid" view
  • Allow you to re-order your uploads & playlists
  • Fixes for some of the other bugs you've helped find (such as grid view not always working in IE), and other small things
So when's the new date? That part's a little trickier, and rather than try to predict it, we'd rather focus our time on taking care of the above list. But we'll announce the new date no less than two weeks before it happens - and yes, it's still coming this summer. Keep an eye out here or on our beta blog. Thanks!

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It's been a week since we announced that a new version of channels is coming, and we wanted to give you an update on our progress. Well over a million of you have now opted in to the beta, and many of your channels are looking really good -- we were just admiring shotscience's and muzik4machines's designs.

Your feedback over the past two months has shaped -- and will continue to shape -- the evolution of this whole site and particularly your channels. We've been hard at work fixing some of the bugs you've pointed out, as well as taking care of some of your top requests. For instance, we're happy to announce that we'll be supporting transparency so that your backgrounds can indeed shine through -- this will be done prior to switching over to the new channel design. And some of the bugs we've taken care of now include reducing the occasional sluggishness that some users have reported, as well as fixing the scrollbar that broke for some when ads appear. (For a longer list of fixes and additions, go to our beta blog.) We'll share more of our progress later, too.

As always, you can learn more about how to switch to the new version of channels by visiting our Help Center, where we also have some tips on setting things up. We also encourage you to continue pointing out bugs in the beta and letting us know how we can improve. Best places to comment are below in this blog, in our beta blog or in the comment portion of our announcement video.

Posted by Brian Glick, Product Manager

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Many of you have been asking for an increase in the size limit of your uploads. We're happy to announce that the size of standard uploads has doubled from 1GB to 2GB. The increase means you can upload longer videos at a higher resolution as well as large HD files directly from your camera.

In addition, the team's implemented some new features to make it easier for you to show these videos off to the world. The changes allow you to share links directly to the HD version of your video, as well as embed the HD version on your blog or website. Here's how:

* To share a link to the HD version of your video, simply append &hd=1 to the end of the URL. This means the video will start playing in HD as soon as someone follows the link. Cool, huh?

* To embed the HD version of a video on a website or blog, click the 'customize' button to the right of the embed box on the video page. Some options will appear; simply check 'play in HD'. The embed code that's generated will cause the video to start playing in HD as soon as a viewer clicks play. We recommend embedding HD videos at the largest size (853x505) for maximum enjoyment.

If you haven't yet started uploading your content in HD, see our Help Center article for more information on how to do so. You can also browse some popular HD videos here.

Posted by Ryan Junee, Product Manager