What compression does YouTube use

Actions by YouTube

We want to make the internet faster for all users. Here you can find out what we're doing about it.

High quality streaming whenever possible

(adaptive bit rate)

  • With adaptive streaming (Adaptive Bitrate Streaming, ABR), each video is divided into various segments, usually only a few seconds long. This happens for every available video quality.
  • YouTube recognizes how smoothly a video is playing and adjusts the quality accordingly in the event of temporary fluctuations in bandwidth or data congestion. There are a number of real-time decisions that need to be made to figure out how to play a single video.
  • For example, if you move away from your wireless router and the signal gets weaker, the video may switch from 720p to 480p.

YouTube is getting even closer to you

(Networks and caches)

  • We have invested billions of dollars in bandwidth and the necessary infrastructure to be as close as possible to your internet provider - and for free.
  • We use open peering on our internal network. This means that we establish a direct connection with all Internet providers who have free access to our 70 nodes (Points of Presence, POP) worldwide.
  • We often provide servers in the Internet provider's network in order to reduce the distance that a video has to cover during transmission and to prevent the risk of data congestion.
  • We are continuously scaling our infrastructure and use advanced algorithms for traffic control, through which the traffic can be quickly rerouted in the event of failures, capacity bottlenecks or reduced performance.

Better video quality with fewer bits


  • Like all other providers, we also compress video data for efficient transmission on the Internet.
  • At YouTube, we work tirelessly to increase the streaming quality of videos and to transfer them with as little data as possible by optimizing existing compression technology and developing new approaches.
  • We are developing new video formats such as WebM, which allow a higher resolution with a lower bandwidth.
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