New YouTube tool lets users test their own internet service

Google exposes slow service providers

YouTube Google Video Quality Report verified HD

Paranoid YouTube viewers who suspect their "HD video" isn't really in HD may be able to vindicate themselves with a new tool from Google.

The Google Video Quality Report lets users test their internet service providers to see whether they're really letting them stream video in high-def and see what quality other ISPs in their areas are streaming at.

If you regularly have to wait for YouTube videos to buffer, or your video quality looks worse than you think it should, use this test to find out whether your ISP is the problem.

"When you can't see what you want, when you want, it's important you know why," YouTube Product Manager Jay Akkad wrote in a blog post announcing the feature.

Speed is of the essence

The Google Video Quality Report assigns internet providers with one of three ratings, with "HD Verified" at the top.

The rating means you can consistently stream video at a minimum of 720p without buffering or other interruptions.

Below that are "Standard Definition" and "Lower Definition," which are two ways of saying your ISP sucks and you should start complaining to customer support immediately.

Google Video Quality Report ways to improve
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Alternatively YouTube also made this handy graphic explaining seven ways to improve your video quality, and you can try these methods before placing a call.

You can also learn about the report's methodology and view a fun slideshow about how videos reach you.

The speed test is currently limited to the US and Canada, and it's not available in all regions even in those countries. But Akkad said it will work in more countries "in the coming months."

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