YouTube has finally moved to a default widescreen player with an HD-friendly 16:9 aspect ratio.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the announcement follows the video sharing giant’s recent decision to start hosting full-length Hollywood movies.

Not that anyone will be complaining.

YouTube has long lagged behind competitors such as Vimeo and

They have offered HD and widescreen players for some time now – but they don’t have the audience figures of YouTube.

So this certainly opens up the options for video fans that steadfastly refused to compromise on quality by submitting to YouTube.

A YouTube spokesman said that by expanding the page width to 960 pixels the new, wider player would provide viewers with a cleaner, more powerful viewing experience.

The change does mean that since the majority of videos on the site were uploaded as 4:3, they will now appear with black bars on the sides.

Quite why YouTube hasn’t either given users the option to select a player depending on aspect ratio or, better still, to auto-detect it, is anyone’s guess.

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