How YouTube’s ‘standard def’ setting change affects creators

How does YouTube’s announcement that it’s temporarily defaulting to standard definition affect content creators?

The short answer is that you should still doing what you’re doing.

Whatever resolution you currently produce and upload videos in for YouTube (or any other video hosting service) you most likely should continue to do so where possible.

YouTube is still processing and storing the highest quality (up to 3840 by 2160 pixels as of March 2020) and users can manually switch to watching these if they want.

In addition, most creators will want their videos to be available in better quality once YouTube switches back to using higher quality videos in the future.

In general, if you have the technical capabilities, is often a good idea to upload videos at the highest quality you can. Even if YouTube is showing most of your viewers HD or even SD versions of your clips, you can “future proof” your channel by providing high quality video for once home and office internet connections improve.

All that said, many YouTube creators are reporting slower upload and processing times — likely due to network congestion.

Many residential and commercial internet connections are experiencing reduced performance (though this obviously varies depending on the technology being used) as more people are working, learning and getting entertained via the internet.

Meanwhile, YouTube’s server side processing could also be slowed down for a myriad of reasons.

Of course, creating higher quality content is going increase the amount of time it takes to upload and process the clips — though YouTube generally makes the SD version of videos available first and then works on processing HD and higher quality.

For serious creators producing timely content, having everyone in your home stop using the internet — especially resource gobbling activities such as streaming or uploading files — while you upload content can be a reasonable workaround.