YouTube Wants You to Know Why Your Videos Won’t Load
Wondering why that YouTube video isn’t loading? Blame your Internet service provider.
At least that’s what YouTube is saying in a relatively new feature that ranks ISPs based on how easily they stream videos on the site.
Some YouTube users are seeing a blue bar reading “Experiencing interruptions? Find out why,” under choppy, buffering or fuzzy-looking videos, Quartz reported. The bar links to Google’s Video Quality Report, a feature that ranks various ISPs by their video streaming performance.
The blue bar began appearing at the end of May, at the same time Google’s Video Quality Report launched, YouTube spokesman Matt McLernon told The Huffington Post.
“You may be prompted to view the report if you’re experiencing poor playback on your computer (such as frequent rebuffering or fuzzy video),” a Google Help page for the Video Quality Report explains.
If you click through to the report, you’ll find ISPs in your area ranked into three categories. “YouTube HD Verified” providers offer the best video service, followed by “Standard Definition” ISPs, which offer smooth playback for standard-definition YouTube videos. The most shameful designation is “Lower Definition,” which is reserved for providers that can’t even offer reliable streaming for standard YouTube videos.
With this new feature, Google, which owns YouTube, appears to be wielding its might to influence the debate over the future of net neutrality. Providers like Verizon and Comcast have fought to force companies like Netflix and YouTube, which require extra bandwidth to host and stream videos, to pay higher fees for Internet “fast lanes” that make smooth playback possible. Defenders of net neutrality argue that all companies should be entitled to the same level of service, regardless of bandwidth.