Has Your YouTube Video Playback Quality Increased On Your BlackBerry?

By Bla1ze on 17 Mar 2010 07:45 am EDT
Has Your Youtube Video Quality Increased On Your BlackBerry?

One gripe often heard about BlackBerry smartphones anytime, anyone mentions YouTube and BlackBerry together is that YouTube streaming on BlackBerry looks like crap. At some point, last week Youtube seemed to increase the quality on their mobile site for BlackBerry devices. Many others have noticed this as well, in the forums and even on Twitter. I've seen this mentioned on more than one occasion in my Twitter stream by different individuals.

Some are attributing it to some optimization made through their YouTube accounts as described in the forums. However, having not tried this method myself I'm quite certain that isn't all there is to the story. Especially since my videos are looking much better without having done anything. Let us know in the polls folks.

Reader comments

Has Your YouTube Video Playback Quality Increased On Your BlackBerry?


Only slightly, only slightly. Still would like them to add more of the music videos to there mobile site , but have noticed faster load times. 73. I'm on sprint w/curve 8530.

I definitely think it's faster but quality is still bad. Maybe it'll help to know who is experiencing good video quality, like from what carrier and from what area.

what is RIM going to do about it? RIM isn't letting anyone get away with anything. Other companies are simply far ahead of RIM. RIM just seems to watch the world go by.

I can finally watch a vid for longer then 30 seconds on my 9000.
No crashes, works perfectly for me now!!

definetally better. Ever since I recieved the update to 5.0 from Sprint. Xenozu even displays it better on my Tour.

Also, after the 5.0 upgrade, I have noticed that the naitive browser, as well, seems to render pages more acurately and html dropdowns have been working. Even games like Mafia Wars isn't refreshing the screen. It takes a while, but it works almost like on a computer.

Hopefully this is the direction the new webkit browser is going in.

I'm on Sprint in NYC.


There is a "HD" option at the video launch page; when picked the video is higher quality and fills the entire width of the screen. It probably requires the video to actually be available in this format. The Tron Legacy trailer pictured is one such video. It does come at a requisite bandwidth cost, though.

you need to click on the "movie link" instead of just clicking on the picture to play it, then you you see the [ HQ | Norm ] under the preview picture.

Just tested it out and it has improved slightly and looks a lot better than it did before they tweaked it. As for the people complaining that it still looks bad, "unless you are smart enough to invent a graphics card for optimal performance on phones, quit your complaining and be greatful already that someone is trying to fix things".

It still looks like crap. kinda sad cuz on my wifes i pod it looks like a hi def movie :-) i downloaded that youtube player for bb and boy does that app suck. atleast it was free...

I can't nor ever have been able to play youtube vids on my BB Tour. My carrier says they don't block it but I'm starting to beleive they are.

So nope, it looks exactly the same to me

"An error has occurred attempting to play media"

I have a Storm2 and not sure where I downloaded the official app, but I had one until yesterday. I found a link to download, and it did, but it was a youtube web shortcut, not the app. I uninstalled it, but it somehow removed my official app. Now I cannot fine a place to download - m.google.com sends me to the mobile site and google searches are frustrating me. My app actually pulled up my account, had favorites tab...it was nice, but I cannot find where to dl it again. Google's site says there isn't one for blackberry but I had it till yesterday. Help!!

Try this. Open up the google main site, then go to more. it should bring up apps you can download from google. There SHOULD be a youtube one there if it recognizes your phone as the Storm--which it should--unless they took it away. I know what you are talking about, it used to think my Tour was a Storm and gave me the app, but I could only get so far before it was useless becuase you needed a touch screen to continue.


I got the app a while ago but went back a couple weeks ago to try and find it again, but couldn't. Kinda sucks, because I have to make sure I don't lose it. I love that app.

Using the mobile site (and the "HD" link to the video) I do see a noticeable and welcome improvement in the video quality. It was so bad before that now I feel this improvement is "acceptable", but it really needs one more step up to be high quality.

Edit: Tour on Verizon, leaked 5.0

I am not seeing any improvement. I tried the app and the mobile site and am watching an HD video I uploaded. However, I'm also not finding the HD option on the mobile site, either. Can anyone help point me in the right direction on that?


you need to click on the "movie link" instead of just clicking on the picture to play it, then you you see the [ HQ | Norm ] under the preview picture.

Ah - there was a missing step. Thanks, Cerebrum! On the You Tube page you have to click on "Help" at the bottom, then scroll to the bottom of that page for "Optimization."

Then follow the instructions on the link you kindly provided.

Amazing quality difference. Thank you so much!!

Not like you'd want to or need to, but I was unaware that you could stream youtube and play music simultaniously on your BB.

This may be old news for some, but I just stumbled across this recently when I was listening to music and logged into youtube from Opera brower. I though youtube by default would override the music player, but it didn't and they each worked independent of one another.

Has anyone else come across this?

So about 2 days ago all my videos looked high quality, and after I did a reset on my phone, none do.

I'd like to try the "optimize" option, however, whenever I scroll to the bottom of the page, there is no "optimize" link or selection whatsoever. Perhaps I am doing something others aren't? Say changing the browser or not putting a setting to see this magically hidden option everyone is talking about?

They had an app for the Storm1 but it doesn't work for the Storm 2 I don't understand why. Video looks like crappola so maybe that's the reason behind it.

Its definitely loking better. I use youtube quite a bit and this is like HD compared to the quality before. The only bad thing is it pauses to buffer during the clips, which im not a fan of.

But on the Storm it still doesnt look that great. The video quality stinks and downloading is slow. Oh well

I followed the "optimization" guidance below, which enables the HQ (high quality) option and the video is marginally better. Kinda sucks to have the storm 2 and expect all this advanced technology they tout to produce clear images only to never really get delivered on that promise...even if it is Google messing with the storm to make the android appear better. Still, images look great on the iPhone, why not the storm? Maybe BB should stop pushing BING and Microsoft and let us use google as the default serch engine.

In order to watch clear videos, if have 5 bars under, its going to be rubbish. Oh and also need the best browser cods
i have a storm 9530 vzw and other than .533 cods i can't watch
videos.so everything has to be perfect on your OS to watch clear vids.

If you have 5 bars under, not going to have the best image, it is high quality. i have a storm vzw and i noticed when i installed
.328 the other day it sucked, so i installed the hybrid that i build and looks much better no rubbish looks.

The quality of video from youtube sucks. I have seen it on a iPhone and it way above what I am seeing on my Storm2. It does not seem as though this would be such a tough fix, but apparently pushing a better quality video to BB users is not at the top of the list for youtube, till they do I dont use them.

Are we talking about the one through the mobile browser? It switched me to WAP and I tested out a YouTube video, and it still looked like crap. Kinda frustrating hearing RIM brag about who well they "compress" their data to save spectrum, yet BB owners get crappy, hyper-pixelated video streams. We also need a real app for this...we have Google Maps and 20 other ones, why not YouTube?

Actually, something changed on my Curve 8330 recently that doesn't allow me to view YouTube videos at all. I try to click on the screen shot or the "Watch Now" link and nothing happens; the BB browser doesn't even try to open a link.

Not sure if Verizon changed something or what, but it's pretty annoying.

I just noticed today, that the mobile site (only one i use) no longer gives me the option to play videos in HQ, so that really BLOWS~

Alright I should of checked youtube today cuas just the other day was looking great but now it looks like crappy ?
What's going Google "under maintenance" or what?

Its love all over again. I gained a new appreciation after that hack!!! Its not really a hack, just choosing a few choices. Remember, to get to the options click help at bottom of mobile youtube page and then optimization on next page at bottom of page. In the forums posted in this article is the choices. Wow, its really close to the iphone quality!!!

And the sound is Awesome!!!


I have the Google YouTube app for the Storm and after reading this, I decided to compare videos from the YouTube vs playing video from the YouTube mobile site and I did notice a difference. Another cool thing is that you can select a HQ(high quality) option on the YouTube site (something you can't do on the Google App). I watched several video game and movie trailers and noticed the text was much sharper when viewing on the YouTube site and there was hardly any pixilation or funky shadows that I used to get when viewing videos. So far, the videos have looked pretty good. So whatever YouTube did, THANKS and thanks to Crackberry for mentioning this otherwise I wouldn't have known about it.

Maybe we'll really test it out at work. I have said for a long time, the only thing I somewhat care about that the iPhone does better is youtube, but now it looks decent on my Curve. We can compare the Storm to the iPhone.

I have seen an increase in the quality of youtube videos ever since I upgraded my Storm 9530 to the VZW official.Also, after upgrading to the official I have an HQ youtube option on all videos. My girlfriend has a Tour 9630 on VZW running and not only is her video quality much worse but it lacks the HQ option. Perhaps this is the cause of the quality differences?

This "hack" works on older phones, as well. I tried the optimization on a couple of 8330s as well as my Tour, and OMG, the youtube is so clear, even on the Curve, that you can see the little letters when watching music videos and such.

I'm surprised that this isn't getting looked at with only sixty some odd comments since this morning.

I had downloaded Xenozu, and it did look better after the original Sprint 5.0 upgrade, but after doing this optimization, I'm going to have to delete that app, because the videos it pulls are NOTHING compared to the youtube vids in the native youtube off the mobile site.

Oh, and I've found that if you optimize in Opera Mini, it will work on there too, because that browser utilizes the Blackberry browser to view the youtube vids.


Well, quality has certainly increased. Former blackberry user I went through the Android g1, and now I am back to bb with the bold 9700. Id say It loads much faster and looks very good on the 9700 no lag
UI could be a bit better , but with 3G capability I am damn well satisfied with this bb.

almost left the Blackberry world. Or at least just thought about it. And I admit it, the Iphone had a big part in it, well, the iTouch I have. But i'll be honest, nothing is like the push on BB and the messaging. And now that I know how to watch these high def vids, man, i'm back. Now i'm just waiting for that slider to come to Sprint, and i'm set. Because a touchscreen is almost close to my perfect blackberry. Skyfire, or just flash on the browser, and a decent browser at that, are all i need to make my experience complete. Oh, and wifi wouldn't hurt. lol.


I had not looked at many videos on YouTube on my 9700 after I saw how it squished 16x9 video to fill the screen. Now it displays 16x9 video as letterbox in the correct aspect ratio. I'm happy now!

Something to think about: Up until this point we didn't know that the BB could handle this. Now, I did that Optimization thing on two 8330s last night, so it goes back a bit. If they knew it could handle this level of quality, why didn't they ever advertize it??? I think a lot of the reason people are wanting to jump ship and such is becuase of the media and youtube capabilities that were thought to be crappy.

Either way, I just hope this isn't a dream that ends abruptly. And, furthermore, I hope that this means they will release something more official in the way of a YouTube app with a nice UI.


Just for reference, I'm using Sprints BB Tour 9630 with the official 5.0 OS, no hacked/leaked stuff and the stock BB browser to achieve this so I have no idea how this will be handled by Opera Mini or Bolt. Nor do I know how this will be handled on slower models (non-3G & pre-Bold 9000 models)

Note: Credit goes to the previous original posters who came up with this. I'm just compiling what they said into steps to help out.

Before I start, just letting you know, my history/cache/cookies/push content was all cleaned.

1. Go to www.youtube.com on your browser.

2. Scroll to the bottom and click the "Help" link.

3. Scroll to the bottom again and you should see a link called "Optimize" and click on it.

4. You should see a button called "Start optimization" and click on it. If you don't see that button, you might see 2 other button's that says, "Rerun optimization" or "Undo optimization" if you see that, click on "Rerun optimization"

5. It'll ask if you see a grey heart, click "Yes"

6. Then it'll ask if you see an image of a dog, click "Yes"

7. Next question, it'll test if you have Flash Lite and ask if you see it, click "No"

8. It's then going to test if it supports accesskey and it'll say that if nothing happens, click the "Click Here" button. Go ahead and click on it.

9. It'll then ask if you can view the mp4/aac video, click yes.

10. Lastly, it'll ask if you can view the h.263/amr video, click yes.

11. You are now back to the home page and on the top, it'll say that youtube is optimized for your phone.

12. Go to the video you want to go but click on the link on the right of the video first.

13. It should now ask for video quality of HQ or normal, click on HQ.

14. After you do that, you can now watch that video in HQ.

NOTE: Steps 5-10 varies on the question you might received so it might be different from my answers. Play around with it and see how it works out for your phone. On a side note, if you clean out everything in your Cache Operations but your cookies, your settings will be saved. If you delete everything including the cookies, you will have to start all over again on this process. The video quality is higher now, but not stellar. Since I'm running on the 3G only, I'm going to assume it'll be higher quality on wi-fi. I should also point out that this process will drain the battery faster when viewing videos.

I hope this helps and reply back if this works on other phones besides my Tour. Good Luck.

I applied this to 2 8330s and it worked. A friend of mine has an HTC Touch Pro 2 and it worked on that, as well. So it seems this isn't only for Blackberry. It's for every phone that had a crappy YouTube feed, now it's been optimized.

And yeah, it's not a hack, so to say. We'd better stop using that term, lol, or else they'll think something is up, see all this data flowing, and pull some sort of plug on this. AHHH!!!

Thank you mp5wes for posting the steps.


Definitely does look better after doing that little tweak posted. However, gonna need to see a video posted from those people that are saying it just as good as an Iphone.


It seems this is for other phones too.

So far I've optimized 2 Blackberry 8330s Sprint -- and my Tour Sprint, one Touch Pro 2 AT&T, a Blackberry 9700 T-Mobile and a Lotus 1 Sprint.

All of them, even the lower end screens, made even the tiny words clear. Amazing.

Wish I knew about this sooner.


i noticed there has been a slight improvement but there's much more room for improvement to reach ipod touch/iphone standards. i don't know why youtube just doesn't send full out higher quality videos? :(

Verizon Storm 2, just updated last night to the .607 OS. I know this thread is ancient now, but YouTube video quality has been really bothering me on this device. I also have an iPod touch and was absolutely astounded at the quality I was seeing there. Needless to say I was more than disappointed at what I saw on the Storm.

Running the optimization seemed to help but what really did the trick for me was turning off wireless. It wasn't until I did that I was able to get some real quality out of the videos. I'm at work now and don't actually suspect a slow link or bad signal, but it practically doesn't work at all over wireless and it's much much better over 3G. I'll have to try it again at home to see how it compares but I've been wondering for a while now if wireless is in some ways worse than OTA on my Storm, for whatever reason.

I was about to reply here and absolutely blast RIM for having such poor video quality when my little iPod Touch could do so much better but now I'm pretty satisfied with it. I dunno what it is about this wireless but it just flat out appears broken next to the 3G connection.

Unrelated to the article but related to my previous reply...I just tried Orb with wifi turned OFF and it worked like a charm too. For the first time EVER on my Storm. The quality still isn't fantastic but it's certainly passable. At least it works.

I know it's mainly because of Google and Youtube, but the poor Youtube quality on BB devices is ridiculous.

The Droid, iPhone, Pre, Pixi, and pretty much any other Android phone out there all put my Storm to shame with their beautiful high-quality Youtube content. I know it's a Google decision to determine Youtube quality by the type of phone you own, so I blame them more than RIM....but I'm surprised there is STILL no way to circumvent this problem, not even through Wifi on the Storm 2 (I was convinced that youtube is reading the phone's browser and model info when determining playback, but there has to be more to it).