YouTube to get high-def 1080p player

YouTube exec announces another bump-up in available YouTube resolution. The new resolution, as well as a new full-screen player, will roll out to all users within days.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
2 min read

SAN FRANCISCO--At the NewTeeVee Live conference on Thursday, YouTube director of product management Hunter Walk announced that the video-streaming service is getting a new high-quality streaming option: full HD, or "1080p" resolution. The current "high-quality" option, when available on YouTube videos, is 720p, referring to the number of horizontal scan lines that make up the image.

Walk said the new resolution, as well as a new full-screen player, will roll out to all users within days.

YouTube co-founder Steve Chen announced high-quality YouTube viewing at NewTeeVee 2007. He also said, then, that YouTube stores all video it receives at the resolution it's uploaded at. So when YouTube ads a resolution option, as it did then and is doing now, it simply needs to re-encode videos for the new player, not get new raw content.

Walk said that about half of the 1080p content in the YouTube database has been re-encoded so far.

Only about 10 percent of playbacks on YouTube are now in the high-quality player. Walk said that this is due in large part to the fact that for many viewers, hardware or bandwidth limitations prohibit high-quality viewing. Also, more content is coming in from mobile devices than ever. "We've seen about a 2,000 percent increase in mobile uploads this year," Walk said. Update: A YouTube spokesperson contacted me with this correction: "This is incorrect. It's HD uploads that have grown from 1% to nearly 10% over the course of 11 months."

Other changes afoot at YouTube: The team remains interested in a non-Flash video player. "We're interested in broad accessibility," Walk said, reminding the NewTeeVee audience that the company has demonstrated an HTML 5-based YouTube player. "We keep an open mind," he said.