Wednesday , January 26 2022

Twitter says new videos will be less pixelated

Twitter’s poor video quality has been a long-running frustration for users on the platform, but on Friday, the company shared some potentially promising news: videos uploaded to the service will now “appear less pixelated for a better watching experience,” Twitter said in a tweet from its support account.

Twitter removed a pre-processing step in its video pipeline when you upload, the company tells The Verge. After we published this article, the company clarified that this removed step split videos into smaller chunks for ingestion, which could reduce quality because of the additional processing.

App researcher Jane Manchun Wong uploaded a video intended to put the supposed improvements to the test. (The sound on this video is a little loud, so you might want to turn down your volume before you watch it.)

While it might appear better — and it did, in my eyes — Twitter told us after we first published this that the changes announced Friday aren’t yet supported in Twitter Media Studio, which is what Wong used to upload the video.

If you want to see a video that Twitter says does use the improved video quality, check out the video in this reply to Wong (which, I should warn you, is also loud).

This second video does seem somewhat improved, but it’s hard to tell exactly by how much with the mostly-black background. Both videos are clearly not as crisp as a high-quality video that you might watch on YouTube or Twitch, though. And this upgrade only applies to newly-uploaded videos, so older videos won’t see the improvements.

That said, it’s promising to see that Twitter is putting some effort into improving its video experience. And the upgrades may extend past video quality, as earlier this week, Wong’s research suggested that Twitter is also working on video playback speed options.

Update September 24th, 8:33PM ET: Added additional detail from Twitter and a second video that the company says takes advantage of the video improvements.

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