There's a lot of funny business taking place on the web's back end these days. Just ask Netflix, the popular streaming video service, which reluctantly inked a mulit-year agreement
with Comcast to ensure that its video would be delivered to Comcast's subscribers without a speed degradation
. Prior to inking the deal, Comcast subscribers would complain of long buffers, poor quality video, and dropouts. Is your ISP playing hardball like Comcast? There's a way you can find out.
"Starting today, if you’re in the U.S., you can use the Google Video Quality Report to see the level of video quality your Internet service provider can play YouTube. If you’re regularly seeing videos buffer, this report can give you a better idea of why, as well as tips to make YouTube play better," YouTube announced in a blog post.
The report will also show you what kind of video quality other ISPs in your area are delivering to their customers. It's based on three levels: The first is whether your ISP can consistently deliver HD video of at least 720p without buffering or interruptions. Secondly, the report indicates if you can watch standard definition video at at least 360p. And lastly, it shows if videos load slowly or frequently buffer, even at resolutions lower than 360p.
If you receive a negative report, it's not necessarily your ISP's fault. There are multiple factors that can affect video quality, and to help ensure you're enjoying the best experience possible, YouTube outlines seven steps to improve video quality. Most of them are obvious, like checking to see if your roommate is hogging all the bandwidth, while others involve updating plugins.
In any event, you can read more about Google's testing methodology here
, and generate a report for your ISP by going here