YouTube seems to have made videos uploaded in HD viewable in HD — an upgrade over a “higher quality” option previously available. Maybe now we know why Google (GOOG) switched its YouTube video player to a widescreen aspect ratio last week.
In the short term, HD will cost Google yet more in YouTube bandwidth bills without any new profits in return. Long term, however, HD could make YouTube a more attractive place for professional content creators, which is good because those are the ones advertisers will actually put their brands next to.
Unfortunately, YouTube won’t let us embed an example. So we had to take a screenshot. Even still, you can see the improvement between normal quality and HD is significant: