CrunchGear spotted YouTube has finally added a High Quality mode to its embedded videos. As you can see on the screenshots below, the HQ mode offers a tremendous update in picture quality.
One can only assume that they decided they were ready for the blast of traffic that will certainly result from the huge amount of embedded high-quality videos to come. Doubtless the stream pipe has to be a lot fatter for the HQ videos, but advances in compression efficacy have ensured that doubling the image quality doesn’t double the size of the video. The downloadable version whether you’re watching HD or SD is the same — that is to say, it’s the HD version no matter what. For Obama’s inauguration, it’s 95MB, which at 21 minutes long is about 600kb/s if my rough calculations are correct, just fine for streaming.