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YouTube Releases the Google Video Quality Report 66

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-do-you-stack-up? dept.
mpicpp (3454017) writes "YouTube has released a tool that can show you how your video-streaming quality compares to your neighbor's. 'The Google Video Quality Report is available to people in the U.S. and Canada, where it launched in January. It compares your streaming video quality to three standards: HD Verified, when your provider can deliver HD video consistently at a resolution of at least 720p without buffering or interruptions; Standard Definition, for consistent video streaming at 360p; and Lower Definition, for videos that regularly play at less than 360p or often are interrupted."
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YouTube Releases the Google Video Quality Report

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  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @10:06PM (#47125837)

    "Results from your location are not yet available. Please check back soon."

    Translation: You don't live in one of the 3 metro areas we tested, but we hired some bloggers to crow about our new "service".

    • "720p"
      • by JMJimmy (2036122) on Friday May 30, 2014 @12:51AM (#47126529)

        Don't get too excited - the data is garbage. My 25/10mbps connection wouldn't stream over 320p despite my ISP hosting a cache. I installed the Youtube HighDef addon and sure enough I can stream 1080p easily. Reports on dslr show that they've got serious issues with their cache servers in specific areas and if you bypass them (ie: block their IPs) you'll get better streaming results from other areas further away which further skews the data.

    • Same thing in Surrey, BC (south-east of Vancouver).
    • by ModernGeek (601932) on Friday May 30, 2014 @02:13AM (#47126781) Homepage
      Link to the tool instead of sifting through several lame blogs: http://www.google.com/get/vide... [google.com]
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday May 30, 2014 @02:15AM (#47126795)

      The reason is the categories, specifically the "YouTube(tm) HD Verified" one. Sounds like "Do what we like to get official cred or else."

      Also seems to be what is happening in my area. We are on their results list. However Comcast Xfinity is the only "HD Verified" ISP. Cox is listed as SD...

      But then you look at the results and you see that Cox's graph looks basically the same as Comcasts in terms of HD/SD video plays. Also my informal surveys of people seem to support that Cox does a better job around here. I find way more people who hate Comcast than Cox.

      And of course it highly depends on package. Cox has everything from a "ultimate suck cheapy" service which maxes out at 5mbps, and thus might have poor streaming, up to a 150mbps service that I have for which Youtube streams are less than 10% of available bandwidth. Anywhere you can get their service in town you can get those two or anything in between so people's experience can vary greatly.

      Heck even Century Link, which is fairly crap service as phone companies often are, has many more HD than SD views and still qualifies as an "SD" provider.

      So something smells fishy. Unless there's clearer definitions as to what it means to be "HD Verified" I'm wondering if this isn't more of a "pay us and/or do what we want to get verified" kind of thing. Otherwise, what's the deal? Like at this time period, they claim Comcast has 93% HD streams and Cox has 90%. Shit that is easy within a margin of error accounting for differences in speeds of connections, computers, and even choice of video (I watch a number of videos that don't have HD). Yet somehow that 3% is enough for a difference in classification?

      I'm all for better streaming video, but I am a little suspicious about this.

      • by non0score (890022)
        So...Google is strong arming ISPs to deliver the bandwidth they promised (which you paid for), and that's bad all of a sudden? And I think you can't fathom the amount of traffic that YouTube gets, so your sense of "margin of error" is probably orders of magnitude off. And at the end of the day, if I don't get my HD stream, then I don't have an HD cat video stream. I don't fucking care if it's within your "margin of error".

        If you don't like this tool, well, go find something else that is reasonably objecti
        • So...Google is strong arming ISPs to deliver the bandwidth they promised (which you paid for), and that's bad all of a sudden? And I think you can't fathom the amount of traffic that YouTube gets, so your sense of "margin of error" is probably orders of magnitude off. And at the end of the day, if I don't get my HD stream, then I don't have an HD cat video stream. I don't fucking care if it's within your "margin of error".

          If you don't like this tool, well, go find something else that is reasonably objective, not "optimized" by the ISPs, and comes even close to the confidence of this data. Good luck with that.

          Wrong.
          This is the exact same shit Netflix pulled with "Super HD". It has nothing to do with the capability of the ISP to provide the connection to the user or to a peer. It has everything to do with whether or not the ISP has agreed to run caching servers for Netflix/Google within their network. Netflix used the "Super HD" horse shit make users bitch to their ISPs, who in turn ended up accepting Netflix's shitty agreements about hosting their boxes. Google will be doing the exact same thing.

          It's got NOT

          • by swillden (191260)

            This is the exact same shit Netflix pulled with "Super HD". It has nothing to do with the capability of the ISP to provide the connection to the user or to a peer. It has everything to do with whether or not the ISP has agreed to run caching servers for Netflix/Google within their network.

            I know some of the engineers working on this, and what you say is not true. Google does offer (and provides and pays for) caching servers for ISPs who want them, but they actually don't do much to help achieve HD verified status, because Google is so heavily peered with everyone that that is almost never the bottleneck. This is all about getting ISPs to fix the last mile.

            • And I know the smell of bullshit.
              This is about naming and shaming to get advantageous agreements regarding hosting Google's shit on the ISPs network, in their physical space, on their power, and on their dime. Peering does nothing to reduce bottlenecks, it reduces your bill to your peers. Caching shit closer to the destination reduces bottlenecks, and for Google, costs. Youtube uses TONS of bandwidth, and they don't want to pay for it. It's as simple as that.

              The last mile is not the issue. If that were

  • by by (1706743) (1706744) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @10:07PM (#47125841)
    • by MobyDisk (75490)

      That's not actually a report. It is a marketing page + a tool that tries to tell you your own results.

      A report would contain a chart of various ISPs, their results, and other factors such as geographic location. None of that information is available.

      • by Anaerin (905998) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @10:45PM (#47126037)
        I guess you're not seeing the "Compare providers in your area" tab that shows at the bottom-right under the results graph? 'cause that showed for me, and listed both ISPs available in my area.
        • by MobyDisk (75490)

          Correct. The tab is disabled so there is no results graph, and the hovertext tells me that "Results from your location are not available."

      • I'm fairly sure it is available.

        At a price, of course.

      • I agree. The so-called "Report" doesn't tell me my current video quality at all, it just gives the average over 30 days over all the customers in my area using my provider (so how does this compare me with my neighbor???). The only one who benefits from this is the ISP who will no doubt tout it in endless commercials. (And by the way, I'm in the 29th largest metropolitan area in the US, and it has results for here).
        • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday May 29, 2014 @11:11PM (#47126157) Homepage Journal

          The only one who benefits from this is the ISP who will no doubt tout it in endless commercials.

          They will if their rating is HD Verified. If they're not doing so well... not so much. And if your area has multiple providers (unfortunately not as common as it should be) you can click on the "compare providers" to see if there's someone who can do better for you.

          Google's clear motive here is to push the ISPs to provide consistently high bandwidth, so that YouTube works better.

          • by Rich0 (548339)

            Google's clear motive here is to push the ISPs to provide consistently high bandwidth, so that YouTube works better.

            Consistency is the key. I use FIOS and going back a year or two I can't say I was thrilled with Youtube performance. It would frequently pause/buffer. I got into the habit of preloading everything with youtube-dl and then just playing it back from my HD as a result, but that isn't so convenient if you're on a tablet/etc.

            Things seem to have gotten a lot better since then. My plan hasn't really changed in that time.

            ISPs love advertising bandwidth to the last mile, and then they inevitably oversubscribe ev

            • by swillden (191260)

              Google's clear motive here is to push the ISPs to provide consistently high bandwidth, so that YouTube works better.

              Consistency is the key.

              Yeah, that's what this report is: measuring how consistently an ISP can deliver HD bandwidth.

              I use FIOS and going back a year or two I can't say I was thrilled with Youtube performance. It would frequently pause/buffer. I got into the habit of preloading everything with youtube-dl and then just playing it back from my HD as a result, but that isn't so convenient if you're on a tablet/etc.

              Things seem to have gotten a lot better since then. My plan hasn't really changed in that time.

              What got better was YouTube. They've switched to an approach that dynamically adjusts playback quality based on bandwidth available. However, that's only a band-aid over the real problem, which is lousy ISPs that don't consistently deliver what they promise. What YouTube really wants is ISPs that can always deliver HD streams with low latency.

              This initiative is clearly focused on enabling consumers to demand bette

    • Pretty tricky. I loaded it (from overseas via VPN) and it gave me results. I then disabled my VPN and tried again - I get a marketing page, with no hint that results could ever be obtained. Pretty slick on Google's part, there.
  • I love how everybody raves about how Comcast is faster than DSL, yet, I've never had a problem torrenting with DSL, streaming Netflix or other videos in HD, etc. People need to wake up and smell the lie that is Comcast. My internet connection isn't limited either and my connection remains a consistent 25 mbps (in an area where Comcast wouldn't be that much greater anyway despite claiming seemingly significantly higher speeds).

    Yea- I'd rather have a 5-10 mbps internet connection over 'faster' Comcast connect

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I already know how my YouTube speed results compare to my neighbor's.

    THE RESULTS ARE THE SAME BECAUSE THERE IS NO GODDAMN COMPETITION IN BROADBAND.

    Ahem. Move along, citizen.

  • Hmmm. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ColaMan (37550) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @10:44PM (#47126027) Homepage Journal

    "HD Verified" sounds suspiciously like a way to extract more money out of someone.

    "Oh, you want to watch youtube? No, no, your standard account doesn't have that level of service.You need to get a Youtube HD Verified account. Only $9.95 a month extra!"

    • Re:Hmmm. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2014 @11:36PM (#47126245)

      Or ammunition for the net neutrality fight. Not sure exactly how this data does that but it feels like it. If so, go Google. The more hard data available (like the Level3 congestion blog post), the better.

      • Or ammunition for the net neutrality fight. Not sure exactly how this data does that but it feels like it. If so, go Google.

        Just dont forget the rest of world Google (eg: != USA || Canada). We do exist.

    • by Animats (122034)

      "HD Verified" sounds suspiciously like a way to extract more money out of someone.

      NicoNico [nicovideo.jp], the big Japanese video sharing site, already does that. "Premium Members get access to speedy video playback, priority seating for live broadcasts, and more! Seamless video playback even during heavy usage! 540 JPY/month!"

      It's a bit late to be charging people extra for 720p, but charging extra for 2160p ("4K video") may be something the industry tries.

      • by paziek (1329929)
        I see nothing wrong with that as long as video streaming service does that, not my internet service provider. This is what has been in place for most porn sites, so whats new? I think GP is worried about ISP charging extra for such "service".
  • This is a really great tool!!!

    You can look at your ISP and determine by using this tool which hours your ISP's network is running into a bottleneck(peak hours), and as well look at other ISP's to determine bandwidth/bottlenecks. Also, see if other ISP's may offer better deals if you like to have a good connection at peak hours. You can actually see how the ISP's are performing throughout the day, rather than being advertised as X-Mbit connection, only to find out those speeds are only reachable at 3A.M.

    Th

  • by kiddygrinder (605598) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @11:25PM (#47126201)
    but i find this less tool a lot less useful than if they'd just let videos buffer to the end
    • by Anonymous Coward

      > let videos buffer to the end

      That is frustrating. Because I live in Seattle, there are no options for fast Internet access so my typical YouTube viewing experience is to let the video buffer for a few minutes, watch thirty seconds of the video, alt-tab back to my browser for a few minutes to let the video buffer, then alt-tab back to watch thirty more seconds, and repeat. Watching even just a two minute video usually takes me more than half an hour with the distractions. It's a terrible experience.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah it's shitty, but you can imagine the enormous impact on bandwidth if they let every video buffer to the end. I'm sure 95% of youtube video views only watch the first few seconds before they realize what they're watching is shit. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if the licensing agreements or streaming laws only allow a certain amount of buffering before it's considered downloading and not streaming.

    • by amaurea (2900163)

      I recommend youtube-dl [github.io]. It's an easy-to-use open source command line tool for downloading videos from youtube and many other sites. It's a part of the package repositories of most linux distributions also. I usually start a download (youtube-dl link-to-video-page), and then immediately point mplayer at the in-progress file. So there's no delay compared to watching it in the browser, but seeking is much faster, and you get to use a decent player. And if the connection is slow, you just wait a bit.

      If you pref

      • Then there is also MiniTube [tordini.org], a dedicated YouTube desktop app for Win/Mac/Lin.
      • by Rich0 (548339)

        Can't endorse that enough. Youtube has improved on FIOS quite a bit, but my browser doesn't always consistently keep up with HD, so I routinely pre-download stuff using youtube-dl. For longer content I can also store it and then watch it in the living room via MythVideo (or whatever you want to use).

      • There's SMPlayer Youtube (smtube?) that doesn't require to use a browser and is easy to use.

      • i have youtube dl set up but it pushes the effort vs reward barrier pretty hard
    • by argStyopa (232550)

      If you rightclick on the video itself, go to settings, and allow it to cache unlimited, it DOES buffer like it used to.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Or if it wouldn't throw away all buffered data just because you go back a few seconds because you missed something.

  • The article does not contain enough information for at least for me to understand completely about how this thing is going to work. Although it sounds interesting that we can compare our speed to our neighbors even if we don`t know them. Just think about what the ISPs are going react to this.
    • Probably just geolocates your IP, does a bandwidth test and, then shows how it compares to other users.
  • So if I type in small-town Saskatchewan, it will show me the local "Access Communications" and "Yourlink", both very small regional ISPs, but not Sasktel or Shaw, the two province-wide ISPs?

    And if I type in Winnipeg (75% of the pop of all of SK), it says there's no results available?

    What?

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