YouTube goes high definition with 1080p videos

YouTube says next week it will start to deliver 1080p high definition video

YouTube says it will start supporting 1080p high-definition video in full resolution starting next week. The Google-owned video-sharing site will add support for viewing videos in 720p or 1080p resolutions, depending on the resolution of the original source.

YouTube has been supporting HD videos for over a year now, and the maximum resolution output today is 720p. But the video-sharing site explains on its blog that as resolution of consumer cameras increases, this will give users a better way to enjoy high quality content.

The YouTube 1080p HD mode is targeted mainly at users with big monitors and a fast computer, as even the 720p HD mode on YouTube can put a strain on many of the regular PCs out there. For those with less capable computers, the 720p HD mode will still be offered as an alternative to the higher resolution mode.

YouTube also said that videos that have already been uploaded in 1080p (but are only displayed in 720p at the moment) are halfway through the process of re-encoding and the video-sharing site will start rolling out the higher resolution versions in due course.

Hunter Walk, director of product management at YouTube, said in an interview with NewTeeVee that the site has seen a tenfold increase in 1080p video uploads from users, from 1 percent to 10 percent in recent months. He did not comment on how much strain 1080p videos will put on YouTube's infrastructure.

Earlier this year, YouTube also partnered with Hollywood studios, bringing movies and TV shows to U.S. consumers via its video network. Some of the big partners named were Sony, CBS, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, BBC, and independent film studio Lions Gate Entertainment. Higher-quality content output would also help YouTube better compete with the likes of Hulu and Netflix.

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Daniel Ionescu

PC World (US online)

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