YouTube is one of the most popular online platforms for sharing and watching videos. Many people also use it to listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks, and other audio content. However, some users may wonder how the video quality settings affect the audio quality of the videos they watch.
Does changing the video resolution from 360p to 1080p also improve the sound quality? Or does YouTube use the same audio stream regardless of the video quality? Here, we will explore the answers to these questions. Let’s dig deeper!
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How YouTube Handles Audio and Video Streams
If you’re wondering whether changing the video quality on YouTube affects audio quality, you must first find out how YouTube handles audio and video streams.
YouTube separates the audio and video streams of a video and uses different codecs and bitrates for them. A codec is a method of compressing and decompressing data, while bitrate refers to the amount of data transferred per second. Higher bitrates result in better quality, but also increase the file size and require greater bandwidth.
YouTube uses different codecs and bitrates for different video resolutions and formats. For example, VP9 or AV1 codecs may be used for high-resolution videos (1080p or higher), while H.264 or MPEG-4 codecs may be used for lower-resolution videos (720p or lower). The choice of codec also depends on the device and browser being used, as well as their compatibility and performance.
Similarly, different codecs and bitrates are used for audio streams. The most commonly used audio codec on YouTube is Opus, which is capable of supporting a bandwidth of up to 20 kHz. Depending on the video codec and resolution, AAC or Vorbis codecs may also be used for some audio streams.
To check the audio and video codecs and bitrates of a YouTube video, right-click on the video player and select Stats for nerds. This will show a pop-up window with various information about the video stream, which is a code that identifies the codec and bitrate combination.
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Does YouTube Video Quality Affect Audio Quality?
When you watch a YouTube video, you can click on the gear icon in the lower right corner of the player to change YouTube video quality from 144P to 4K. However, does video quality affect audio quality on YouTube?
The answer is not very straightforward, as YouTube uses different audio codecs and bitrates depending on the video quality and the device you are using. Generally speaking, the higher the video quality, the higher the audio quality as well. However, YouTube also states that the audio playback bitrate is not related to video resolution. Therefore, you may not notice any difference in audio quality when changing the video quality settings.
Another factor that may affect the audio quality is the original video that was uploaded to YouTube. If the video has poor audio quality from the start, changing the video quality will not improve it. YouTube does not enhance or modify the audio quality of the uploaded videos. It only encodes them to different formats and bitrates for streaming purposes.
To summarize, YouTube video quality does affect audio quality, but not in a linear or consistent way. It also depends on factors such as the audio codec, bitrate, device, the quality of the original video, and more.
Does YouTube video quality affect audio quality? The answer is not quite simple. Although changing the video quality can sometimes improve or worsen the audio quality, it may also have no effect. It’s also affected by some other factors.