YouTube Video Quality Bad (Fix It Now)

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I was watching some videos and noticed that the picture was pixelated and poor. I asked myself, why is my YouTube video quality bad?

I managed to find some answers, so I wrote this article which covers why your YouTube video quality is bad and how you can resolve it.

Why Is My YouTube Video bad?

Usually, your YouTube video quality is bad due to a slow internet connection or an error in your video quality settings.

If you notice that Youtube is blurry when streaming, this can suggest that you have an internet connectivity issue with your router.

A screenshot of a bad qaulity video on YouTube
A screenshot of a bad-quality video on YouTube

By trying other streaming services, you can see if this problem is just limited to YouTube.

If the bad picture quality only occurs on YouTube, then this may be caused by YouTube video quality settings issues.

Here are some tips on what to do when the YouTube video quality is bad:

  1. Improve your router performance
  2. Change your YouTube video quality settings
  3. Do this if you are using the chrome web browser
  4. Restart your streaming device or web browser
  5. Update YouTube and your source device
  6. Disconnect other devices in your home from the internet.
  7. Close some apps
  8. Use an Ethernet cable rather than a Wi-Fi
  9. Upgrade your Internet Connection
  10. Disable VPNs and Ad blockers
  11. Check the Server Status of YouTube
  12. Contact the YouTube app Support

How to fix bad video quality on YouTube

Method 1: Improve your router performance

It’s a good idea to restart your router when trying to fix bad video quality on YouTube.

How do I start my router?

Rebooting your router is easy, and you can perform this task by unplugging it for 30-60 seconds before plugging it back in.

Unplug your router, can help stop bad quality YouTube videos
When you reboot your router, you give it a performance boost that can improve your video quality on YouTube.

Upon rebooting your router, try another YouTube video to see if the bad picture has been resolved.

Why does resetting your router improve YouTube video quality?

The bad video quality on YouTube may be caused by a slow internet connection.

A slower internet speed and bandwidth can occur over time when more devices and connection are added to your home internet route, this can cause YouTube to show a sub 720p video output..

Just like a PC, when you restart your router, it improves the performance by removing unnecessary device and connection from it’s workload

Method 2: Change your YouTube video quality settings

There are known issues with the video quality settings which causes YouTube video quality to be bad.

When your video quality settings are lower, this can result in a bad video quality.

What are YouTube video quality settings?

YouTube allows you to control the quality of video being streamed.

How do I change the YouTube video quality settings?

Step 1: Access the settings option

When streaming content, look for the settings cog icon.

YouTube settings
YouTube Settings
Step 2: Select quality

After selecting the settings icon, you will see a new menu appear.

Select the Quality prompt.

Youtube quality settings
YouTube quality settings
Step 3: Choose the video output
Youtube reduce video quality when freezing occurs
Different video outputs on YouTube

You will now see a selection of the different video outputs available for your streaming content.

Selections that are lower than 720p can make your video image look bad.

Video quality output options on YouTube
8kSharp but not supported by many displays
4k // 4k 60Sharp, clear image
1080p // 1080p 60Sharp clear image on most devices
720pGood, but it can start to look blurry, especially on 4K+ displays
480pIt will look blurry on most display devices that are larger than your phone
144pThe lowest-quality output
AutoAutomatically detect the quality of your internet connection and determine the best output.

It can cause issues of a bad picture if there is a conflict with your web browser.
A comparison table of YouTube video quality options

Method 3: Chrome web browser users

There is an issue on the Chrome web browser when videos always appear pixelated or bad.

Presumably, it was not correctly detecting my internet speed and was automatically outputting a bad video quality.

To fix this issue, I installed a YouTube chrome extension called Auto Quality for YouTube™, which was able to resolve my issues.

Method 4: Restart your streaming device or web browser

You should restart the device or web browser where you are streaming YouTube when your videos appear bad quality.

Perform a power cycle of your streaming device by unplugging it for 60 seconds before plugging it back in.

Doing a restart allows the complete installation of any updates while also clearing the system cache.

Method 5: Update your YouTube app

I recommend updating the app when using the YouTube app on a device such as a Firestick or Smart TV.

There may have been an issue with older YouTube applications causing the bad video quality.

Method 6: Disconnect other devices in your home from the internet

A way to prevent YouTube videos from being bad quality is to disconnect non-essential devices in your home from the internet.

When people in your home are downloading, streaming or gaming, this can also lead to bad quality videos on YouTube.

Each device you disconnect from the internet will give you a better performance when streaming on YouTube.

Method 7: Close some apps

To reduce that chance of bad video output by closing any running apps.

How does having open apps cause the bad video quality playback?

When you have lots of applications running, especially ones connected to the internet, it degrades both the system and internet performance.

Method 8: Use an Ethernet cable rather than Wi-Fi

Use a wired internet connection can help alleviate issues when you have bad video quality output when streaming on YouTube.

Wi-Fi is generally slower and can be impacted by interference and the distance from your internet route.

The issues with Wi-Fi can lead to a bad picture quality if your internet speed drops significantly.

Method 9: Disable Ad blockers and VPNs

Ad blockers and VPN can negatively affect YouTube’s performance, manifesting itself in bad quality video playback.

Turn off these items to see if this resolves the video issues.

Method 10: Upgrade your Internet Connection

If you have access to fast internet connections in the area in which you reside, it may be worth considering upgrading your internet connection.

A 10mbps connection will stream content slower than a 1gbps connection. Could the YouTube bad video problems be caused by the internet speed you have purchased?

Method 11: Check the YouTube servers

Although it is unlikely, you should check that there are no problems or outages with the YouTube platform causing the bad quality video playback.

Check the YouTube servers when the picture quality is bad
The Down Detector website monitors the YouTube network for any issues

Method 12: Contact YouTube Support

If, after trying the tips above, YouTube continues to output a bad-quality picture, you can contact YouTube support for help with troubleshooting.


When you experience bad video quality on YouTube, the cause is usually an unoptimized connection or incorrect video quality settings.

I hope that the tips in this article have restored a clear picture when streaming.