YouTube Video Quality Settings (Explained!)

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Most people reading this will either want to know more about the YouTube video quality setting or have run into an issue.

In this article, we will look at the following:

  • What are YouTube video quality settings
  • How to access and change the settings
  • Ways in which you can troubleshoot issues

What are YouTube video quality settings?

Streaming content on YouTube allows you to access the video quality settings from the YouTube player.

These settings allow you to change the output of the video quality that is being streamed.

YouTube has an expanding array of video options, recently allowing 8K resolution content and 60fps video.

We love that users are given the most excellent video quality control and wish more streaming services would follow YouTube’s lead.

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.

Video quality output options on YouTube

8k7680 x 4320 pixels
This is the highest resolution available.
4k // 4k 603840 x 2160 pixels – There is also an option for 60 frames per second content
1080p // 1080p 601920 x 1080 pixels – There is also an option for 60 frames per second content
720p1280 x 720 pixels
480p640 x 480 pixels
360p480 x 360 pixels
240p320 x 240 pixels.
144p192×144 pixels. This is the lowest available output from YouTube.
AutoAutomatically detect the quality of your internet connection and determine the best output possible without YouTube lagging.
A comparison table of YouTube video quality options

What YouTube video quality setting should I use?

To answer this question, you should output to the highest resolution that your display devices support without encountering YouTube playback being choppy.

Common YouTube video quality issues

You can occasionally run into issues with your video playback on YouTube.

Let’s look at some of the most common complaints.

YouTube picture quality is blurred or pixelated.

If you run into this issue, I recommend increasing the video quality output through the settings.

Auto settings outputs low-quality video on Chrome.

I ran into an issue on my Chrome web browser where videos would always appear pixelated or blurry, presumably because the video quality output was still too low.

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

YouTube keeps buffering

Buffering is a common problem when streaming content online.

If you are YouTube constantly buffers, it may be a result of trying to output a video quality that is too high for your internet connection.

There is a guide for YouTube lagging issues beyond the video quality settings.

Contacting YouTube Support

If, after following this guide, you still have YouTube video quality questions or issues, then we recommend contacting YouTube support.


YouTube video quality settings allow you to change the video output when streaming content.

You should choose the best quality available as supported by your display device that your internet connection can support without buffering.

Having your video quality settings set too high can lead to playback issues.

We hope that this guide helps you in enjoying on YouTube.