YouTube points the finger at ISPs
YouTube have effectively begun a name-and-shame campaign against internet service providers (ISPs) they claim are responsible for inadequate playback and noticeable buffering difficulties.
Users suffering such frustrations will now see a blue "Experiencing difficulties?" bar pop up beneath their slow-loading videos, which has an attached link that leads to their Video Quality Report.
Video Quality Report released by YouTube
Once users land on the report, they are greeted with a gently worded and attractively laid-out explanation of how videos reach viewers from YouTube's servers.
The report in essence outlines how ISPs - not YouTube - are largely to blame for poor streaming experiences.
After reading this short explanation, users can then go on to find out exactly how well their own internet service provider performs when it comes to YouTube streaming. For each ISP there is a graph which details how well it performs at specific times of day.
Performance is measured on these graphs by colour-coded 'HD' (high definition) 'SD' (standard definition) and 'LD' (low definition) segments. Of course, the latter two are rather indicative of poor performance, so the more 'SD' and 'LD' activity there is on an ISP's graph, the less proficient it is.
Why have they felt the need to do this?
The Google-owned video-sharing giants appear to have taken a leaf out of Netflix's book with this name-and-shame approach, as the on-demand streaming service similarly pointed the finger at ISPs last month.
As opposed to linking to a report, Netflix's equivalent of the "Experiencing difficulties?" bar placed the blame on the ISP in question directly. For example, users of the North American ISP Verizon were plainly told: "The Verizon network is crowded right now. Adjusting video for smoother playback..."
Adrian Mursec, head of development at theEword, has said: "We live in an age in which video content is more popular and important than it has ever been before. As a site with over a billion monthly users, it is understandable that YouTube want to try and explain that poor performance is not their fault, in order to maintain their great reputation."