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I uploaded a 1-minute 1920 x 1040 test video yesterday to YouTube and the highest resolution it's offering for Chrome on my PC is 1080p. Shouldn't there be higher resolution options like 1440 or 2160? How do I get YouTube to produce higher resolution videos?

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    Why would it show 1440 or 2160 when your (vertical) resolution is less than both of them? – Mokubai Jul 5 at 18:35
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    Trying to figure out the disconnect here. Would you expect the higher resolutions if you uploaded for example a video that was 320x240 pixels? Where would the missing pixels come from? – pipe Jul 6 at 6:19
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    1040 is not 2160. – Boann Jul 6 at 13:44
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    @pipe @Mokubai♦ The video is showing in a boxed smaller window on YouTube. 1440 x 790. The text is smaller and I lost pixels from the original 1920 x 1040. I thought by going higher in resolution than 1080p, it would display the original resolution. While 1040 is less than 1080, the video doesn't need to fill the whole height. Show the 1040 plus a gap. Does this make sense? – Tony_Henrich Jul 6 at 19:12
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    @Tony_Henrich - can you share a link with us? If the viewport is less than full resolution (i.e: 1440x790), then downscaling will be happening in the browser / player. Have you checked out the "stats for nerds" as mentioned in my answer? – Attie Jul 6 at 20:25
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The highest resolution it's offering for Chrome on my PC is 1080p. Shouldn't there be higher resolution options like 1440 or 2160?

No. Bear in mind that the 1080p terminology refers to the vertical resolution (1080 pixels / lines) and the fact that it's progressive (i.e: not interlaced).

If it's offering 1080p for your 1920x1040 video (vertical resolution of 1040 pixels / lines), then that seems like a reasonable offering - many players will take a "closest match" when attempting to categorise media into one of the common buckets (360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p, etc...).

You could also look at the "stats for nerds" and check what resolution the streamed media is actually coming in at, and I'd expect that it's also 1920x1040 when you pick the "1080p" option (i.e: not scaled up to 1080p, but it may be re-encoded).

How do I get YouTube to produce higher resolution videos?

1440p and 2160p (aka "4k") are higher resolution formats, and there would be no sense in YouTube (or anyone) offering a version of your video that has more pixels than you originally provided... that would be a waste of storage and bandwidth, and would require upscaling to achieve (where would the missing data come from?). To get YouTube to serve higher quality media, you'll need to deliver that in the first place by uploading a higher-resolution file.

One reason you might want to upload media that is a higher resolution than your sources (e.g: upload 1440p from 1080p sources) is to make use of the higher bitrate permitted for higher resolutions and potentially trigger use of a better codec.

YouTube for example will swap from AVC and use VP9 for videos that are 1440p and above (or videos that have higher frame rates). Additionally, if your channel or video has a lot of traffic, then this may also trigger the use of VP9 (or even a re-encode after publishing) to reduce YouTube's bandwidth requirements... but these rules may change at any time, are often determined by probing (rather than being explicitly listed somewhere), and other streaming services will behave differently.


None of these "standard" formats (360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p, etc...) are actually prescriptive or specific with respect to their actual resolution.

Consider "4k" or "2160p", which is commonly one of:

  • 4096x2160 (256:135 - Full Frame Cinema)
  • 3840x2160 (16:9 - UHD TV and PC Monitors)
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    "there is no point in [upscaling your video]" - Actually, there are two very good reasons. The first is that most/all streaming sites use higher bitrates for higher resolutions, so the final encoded video will be higher quality even for the same original input resolution. The second is Youtube-specific: except for high-subscriber channels, YouTube will only use the good VP09 encoder on 1440p+ videos, and instead uses the significantly worse AVC1 encoder for videos at 1080p and below – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Jul 6 at 10:07
  • Interesting details, thanks - hopefully my edit conveys this – Attie Jul 6 at 12:03
  • See my second comment above. The idea is to be able to display the original resolution and not lose any pixels by degrading the resolution. – Tony_Henrich Jul 6 at 19:14
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1920x1080 non interlaced is 1080p. 3840x2160 is the 2160 you referenced.

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  • See my second comment above. The idea is to be able to display the original resolution and not lose any pixels by degrading the resolution. – Tony_Henrich Jul 6 at 19:14

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