Over the past decade, as Internet users watch more YouTube videos and video quality improves, people have started to demand more content in high definition (HD). However, watching HD videos requires a fast enough connection from an Internet service provider (ISP), and not all connections allow YouTube users to watch videos with the picture quality they want. If you’re one of the people hoping to watch YouTube in HD, it’s important for you to know what speeds are necessary to do this and how you find them.

The Importance of Internet Connection Speeds

On average, streaming YouTube videos in HD quality requires a minimum of a 5 to 6 Mbps Internet connection speed, but the faster, the better. An Internet connection slower than the minimum could mean a fuzzy picture, slow downloading, or frequent interruptions while the video buffers. When you select an Internet plan from your service provider, the advertised Mbps is the maximum speed the connection provides, but it doesn’t mean your connection is always that fast. For example, a 5 Mbps plan may be enough to stream YouTube in HD when your connection is at its peak, but a 10 or 15 Mbps plan (or higher) may work better for consistent HD access that still streams at or above 5 Mbps even when the connection speed slows down. From there, your home’s ability to receive and share the Internet connection among devices affects the speeds as well. This includes using a cable connection vs. using Wi-Fi; whether you exceed your data cap (if you have one); the types of hardware, software, and software configuration you use; and the number of connected users or devices. If any of these factors are unfavorable for a high-speed Internet connection, then despite your ISP’s ability to deliver HD quality speeds, you may not have access to YouTube in HD.  

Average Broadband Speeds in the U.S.

Ookla, the global leader in broadband testing and web-based network diagnostic applications, produces the Ookla Net Index, a data product that provides millions of verified speed test results from around the globe. The index shows the average download speed for each of the 50 states as well as for countries around the world. The higher the average Internet connection speed in your state, the easier it will be for you to stream HD YouTube videos;  knowing your state’s average connection speed means you’ll have an idea about how readily available this connection is. The fastest Internet speeds in the U.S. center around the Washington, D.C. to Northeast corridor, including Delaware at the top of the country’s Internet speeds (37.8 Mbps), followed by New Jersey (36.4 Mbps), and Maryland (35.3 Mbps). The rest of the highest Internet speeds are from states across the U.S. with no real trend. These states are most likely to support HD YouTube streaming. The slowest Internet speeds in the country come from Maine (13.9 Mbps), Montana (14.9 Mbps), and Alaska (16.9 Mbps). In general, the majority of the slowest Internet speeds come from the Midwest and farthest tips of the country. While HD streaming is possible in these states, because the average Internet speed is above the minimum HD streaming requirement, HD content may be fuzzy or intermittent if the Internet speed drops below this average. You can watch HD YouTube videos without slow download speeds, frustrating buffer interruptions, or a fuzzy picture. Sometimes the answer is simply adjusting your plan with your ISP or changing your Internet habits in your home. If you are having trouble watching the YouTube videos you love in HD, call your ISP to see how you can improve your Internet connection speeds. Find out how much speed you need with our Internet Speed Testing Tool.

Find Jess on Google+ Photo: Eric Fischer/Flickr The Internet has made many people famous, who otherwise would have remained unknown. With the boom of the www, anyone has access to the global stage. Tom Anderson, Chris Crocker, and Rebecca Black took advantage of this stage, but they realized the lights turn off pretty quick. Gary Brolsma didn’t exactly want the stage and Lucas Cruikshank is still looking for it.

Everyone’s First MySpace Friend: Tom Anderson

Then: If you remember MySpace, then you certainly remember Tom. Tom was everyone’s first friend when they joined MySpace. He was some guy whose profile picture was taken in front of a whiteboard, who happened to be a cofounder of the of the whole company. No big deal. Now: Unfortunately in 2008, MySpace began to fall off the map. Facebook began to gain popularity, and soon MySpace became an after thought in the social media landscape. In 2009, Tom left MySpace. So what is he up to now? Besides making a cameo in the 2009 movie “Funny People,” Tom has continued his web savvy ways. He joined RocketFrog Interactive, a media company that creates gaming apps for Facebook. Tom still even has a MySpace page, with his famous whiteboard photo. In his bio, he writes, “Former first friend; I’m not working for the company now, ya’all 🙂 Just a user like everyone else.”

“Leave Britney Alone!” – Chris Crocker

Then: It is impossible to hear these three words and not think of the Chris Crocker, sobbing and screaming in defense of Brittney Spears. Crocker took the Internet by storm in 2007, when he uploaded a YouTube video begging the media and society to stop making fun of Brittney Spears. Now: How could Chris Crocker top this? He couldn’t. Since his 15 minutes of fame, Crocker has tried to become relevant by pursuing and acting and singing career, but hasn’t found his way back into the spotlight. He’s released 13 singles, made a documentary, and even made an adult film. But if you haven’t seen a picture of him since his video, please do. Chris Crocker – then Chris Crocker – now I can honestly say my jaw dropped when I saw it.

What Day is Today, Rebecca Black?

Then: Chances are, if you and your friends were going out on a Friday night in 2011, you listened to the worst song ever. Yes, that is the title music critics gave Rebecca Black’s hit song “Friday.” How can a song labeled the “worst song ever,” get over 200 million views on YouTube? It was simply so bad, it was good. Now: What did Rebecca Black do for an encore? Black released a few new singles after “Friday,” but none were as horribly popular as “Friday.” Her second single “My Moment,” does have 38 million views, but after “Friday” none of her songs were ever bad enough to go viral. The hilarious thing is that her new singles are significantly better musically. It turns out, the now 16-year-old Black is actually a decent singer. However, her viral popularity will forever be linked to how bad “Friday” was, no matter what she does next.

Numa Numa Yay! – Gary Brolsma

Then: Never has lip-syncing and horrible dancing been so celebrated. That’s what Gary Brolsma found out, when he lip-synced “Dragostea din tei” in 2004, dubbed as the Numa Numa song. According to BBC, the Numa Numa Dance video had over 700 million views as of 2006. VH1 also had him as number one on their “Greatest Internet Superstar” segment. Now: Brolsma never wanted the spotlight. His only mainstream appearances have been with the television company Vizio. Other then that, the Numa Numa man is exactly what the Internet thought he was. He is a computer nerd, continuously working on videos and Internet projects. He is also in a band called “Nonetheless.” You can follow his work on his website.

FRED!

Then: Fred Figglehorn was the tallest 6-year-old YouTube has ever seen. The character’s high-pitched voice actually belonged to Lucas Cruikshank, a 15-year-old boy, who created Fred on a whim. In 2009, Lucas became the first YouTube account to get over one million followers, just a year after he opened it. Not too shabby for bored teenager. Now: The success of Fred launched Lucas into a television career. Lucas has made appearances on shows like iCarly and Hannah Montana. Fred even got his own movie, “Fred: The Movie,” along with two sequels. Nickelodeon then gave him his own TV show in 2012, similar to the content of his YouTube videos, titled, “Marvin Marvin.” The show was short lived, only lasting a year. His YouTube account is still going strong, now with over two million subscribers. Photo by:Betsy Weber
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