The awesome folks at YouTube want you to enjoy your fave videos in the best possible quality. So they've set up a way to test it.
1. What does this mean? By analysing anonymous “watch” results each month, YouTube has built a scoring system for video quality. Users will get to see the video quality scores of different mobile providers as well as a map of the areas with advanced or improving video quality.
This is what it’ll look like:
2. What do those Stars/Scores mean? The scores represent the video streaming quality you can expect when you watch YouTube using a specific mobile provider in a specific area. These scores are based on the streaming capability of the mobile provider at standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD) resolutions, as measured by YouTube mobile applications in the past 35 days. The scores and associated descriptions should give you a good indication of expected video quality and buffering.
3. Wondering what devices/users contribute toward the scores? Scores are computed using measurements from 4G-enabled users only (need a new phone? Check out one of these here OR are on a given 4G SIM card (need a FREE SIM upgrade? Visit a store near you.
4. What videos/apps contribute toward the scores? Video requests from official YouTube applications on Android (e.g. YouTube, YouTube Kids, YouTube Gaming, YouTube Music) contribute toward the scores. Only videos served in modern video formats (e.g. DASH,HLS, WebM) are included in the computation. Legacy video formats (e.g. non-adaptive progressive playbacks, RTSP) are excluded due to lack of measurement confidence in older streaming delivery mechanisms.
Similarly, measurements from phones running very old versions of OS or app software are excluded due to limited measurement and reporting capabilities. This is done to maintain a high degree of accuracy in measurements and computed metrics.
5. Do users need to watch videos in HD for a network to be labelled “high definition”? No. The rating is a measure of the capability of the network based on observed pings and is not a measure of actual served video resolution to viewers (which could vary based on device constraints, source content availability and viewer settings).
For example, if a video is played in 360p resolution (SD) but achieved a ping of 3 Mbps, it would be categorized as “HD” since it is above the HD threshold (2.5 Mbps).
6. Are roaming users included in a provider’s metrics/ratings? No. Roaming users are excluded.
7. In places where YouTube offers the ability to download certain content, do the downloads contribute to the scoring? No. YouTube apps’ video downloads do not contribute to the scoring since the video data transfer rate does not directly impact the user experience of video playback (video bytes are downloaded to local storage and watched later, i.e. not in streaming mode).
8. What does “No score” mean? “No score” means there was insufficient data to compute a score for the given location. If the observation volume or the device volume is below certain thresholds, no score will be assigned for that location.
9. What about privacy? Scores are centred around mobile providers, not users. User identity like email addresses or usernames are never collected or reported as part of measurements. All observations are anonymous.
10. What’s with the Maps? Maps provide an easy way to browse and explore points of interest. These maps were constructed using video performance data from YouTube mobile Google Confidential and Proprietary applications based on real-world usage. The data points are based on quality measurements collected from YouTube usage by 4G-enabled users in a given geographical location over the past 35 days.
The individual data points are aggregated to a coarse location (like city or neighbourhood) and drawn on the map. Scores are shown only for locations that meet the necessary privacy requirements. The map won’t provide scores for locations where there is insufficient data.