Blame it in YouTube… or let’s say, Youtube parameters are a beast. It all depends on a lot of things. You might be logged in to a YouTube account where you have the option set to never watch in HD mode to save bandwidth, or you might be signed up for the html5 test on http://youtube.com/html5 and that file is now shown to you in the new HTML5 player. In those and other cases, the hd=1 option will not do anything.
You can force the file to be shown in the old SWF player so the hd=1 parameter will have effect in most cases. For example:
While <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ywuAfTsgBg?hd=1">text or image</a> might not be shown to you in HD, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/4ywuAfTsgBg.swf?hd=1">text or image</a> probably will… Notice how /watch?v= changed to /v/ and there is now a .swf behind the file ID.
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