That rejoicing you hear. It’s all the video geeks I know reacting to the news that their favorite Website for video sharing, the venerable YouTube, is testing high-quality video streaming that may debut to the public in February.
Loud cheering. High-fiving. Chest-thumping.
YouTube co-founder Steve Chen confirmed at the NewTeeVee conference yesterday that high-quality video streams are coming soon, telling cnet that these vids will be available to everybody within three months.
Chen said YouTube is testing a player that detects the speed of the viewer’s Internet connection and serves up higher-quality video if the user wants it.
Higher quality on YouTube is not as easy as it sounds. YouTube prides itself on bringing free universal upload and viewing access to everybody, and because of this YouTube’s quality is notoriously poor at 320 x 240. While content creators and viewers would like higher quality video, its accessibility is a big issue.
For one, there’s the issue that higher-quality video demands faster connections. This is largely being solved as broadband access and adoption worldwide are increasing rapidly.
Then there’s buffering. One of the things that makes YouTube so fun is that the video streams are almost instantaneous. Higher video quality means greater file sizes and most likely will mean not-so-instantaneous playback.
And there’s the existing YouTube catalog, which mostly looks like crap. How will it appear in high-definition playback?
Finally, higher quality means more expensive bandwidth costs for YouTube, which is expensive to maintain as it is. With even greater bandwidth speeds, the demand without competition for higher quality video might not make sense from a business perspective for YouTube owner Google. (Gizmodo).