News by Andrew Kameka on Thursday June 05, 2014.
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YouTube for Android has previously had two streaming options: High Quality and not High quality. Sure, that will probably be all that someone needs if he or she simply wants to ensure HD videos play when viewing YouTube videos on Wi-Fi, but for people on mobile connections who want to want more control in order to balance loading times and picture quality, an on or off switch is simply not enough.
In the latest version of the YouTube Android app, rolling out in stages to Google Play now, a new Gear icon appears when someone accesses the menu of a video. The icon replaces the HQ button and now offers the following quality options: Auto, 144p, 240p, 360p, 720p. Having recently spent some time in a rural area of Jamaica where reliable Internet was spotty, I didn't watch any YouTube videos because they took too long to load. I would have changed that had I been able to set the quality to 260p on a Moto E. Presumably the "Auto" setting also better recognizes the demands of the network and is able to select stream quality based on bandwidth capabilities.
There's sadly no option for 1080p, so definitely don't expect to see Quad HD streaming any time soon within the mobile app. For now, users will have to settle on the 720p cap and enjoy being able to manually select video quality.
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.