YouTube Goes High-Def - InformationWeek

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Mobile // Mobile Applications
Commentary
12/19/2008
11:16 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary
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YouTube Goes High-Def

I recently uploaded a video to YouTube and noticed something different. Once my video was processed, the video player showed my 4:3 aspect ratio video set into a 16:9 frame. High-definition videos have finally arrived on YouTube.

I recently uploaded a video to YouTube and noticed something different. Once my video was processed, the video player showed my 4:3 aspect ratio video set into a 16:9 frame. High-definition videos have finally arrived on YouTube.YouTube has allowed users to watch videos in "better quality" for months. You simply click a button below the video and you can see a clearer, sharper version of it. This "better quality" was not high-definition, though. This new improvement, in comparison, goes (almost) all the way.

Google's YouTube team says, "if you click the 'watch in HD' option below any HD-enabled video, the video will automatically play in widescreen. As part of this launch, we have created an HD Videos area where you can browse videos uploaded in the HD format."

It supports 1290 x 720 (16x9 HD). No 1080p. Some things to keep in mind for the video and audio, according to Google:

  • There is no required minimum resolution -- in general, the higher resolution the better, and HD resolution is preferred. For older content, lower resolution is unavoidable.
  • Because bit-rate is highly dependent on codec there is no recommended or minimum value. Videos should be optimized for resolution, aspect ratio, and frame rate rather than bit rate.
  • The frame rate of the original video should be maintained without re-sampling. In particular, pulldown and other frame rate re-sampling techniques are strongly discouraged.
  • H.264, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 preferred.

I haven't uploaded any HD video yet (because processing it takes an eternity), but I aim to soon. In the meantime, I've watched several videos that were prepared in HD, and they look fantastic. You can find some here. I'd recommend a really fast Internet connection, though.

Other changes on YouTube include new video landing pages. Google says, "In a bid to smooth your path to the perfect video, we are testing three new video landing pages: youtube.com/news, youtube.com/music, and youtube.com/movies. The news page will be populated with breaking stories from around the world as well as news drawn from the Google News service; music will feature rising videos alongside playlists dedicated to different genres; movies will showcase some of the most popular short and full-length movies on YouTube today."

This is all good news for the YouTube aficionado.

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