Posted November 15, 2007 10:04 am by with 7 comments

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image CNET has word from YouTube co-founder Steve Chen that the online video company is testing streaming videos at higher resolutions.

Although YouTube’s goal, he said, is to make the site’s vast library of content available to everyone, and that requires a fairly low-bitrate stream, the service is testing a player that detects the speed of the viewer’s Net connection and serves up higher-quality video if they want it.

I find it interesting that YouTube would take this step, especially when you consider most of the videos currently uploaded are low-res and wouldn’t look any better anyway. So why is YouTube making the move to offer higher quality videos? The way I see it, services such as Joost and Hulu–while not direct competitors–will start to change our expectations of online video quality. The more high-res videos you watch online, the more you begin to find YouTube’s video quality to be unacceptable. Don’t believe me? How many of you have HDTVs? How many of you now think non-HD signals look like a YouTube video? I know I do.

Of course, the biggest hurdle is getting video creators to upload better quality videos to start with–you can’t polish a 320 x 240 turd–but that’s starting to happen as video camera video qualities improve and pricing comes down.

YouTube plans to bring high-res videos to your computer within 3 months. It might take 3 years before all video quality–and home broadband–catches up, but it’s a smart move to plant the seed now.

  • If YouTube wants to remain the leader than I think offering higher resolution videos is a necessary step. Hi-res is becoming the norm and viewers will begin expecting this type of quality from YouTube, especially if it is provided by other sites.

  • A friend of mine came back from japan, and all she could talk about was the quality of online video their. Apparently, their broadband is 20x (not an accurate number) faster than ours, and HD video opens full screen on their computers in .01 seconds.

    Maybe this is where we are heading, IF we can ever get the speed and bandwidth.

  • I’d love to have that kind of speed. I checked out Hulu recently and was pleasantly surprised at the quality and lack of stalling.

  • Zen

    Youtube is gonna have to step up their game if they want to compete with Divx’s Stage6.

  • J

    Right on. The quality of videos on youtube is not good at all. And they are going to have a bit of a problem because the videos the users upload will not change significantly very soon but definitely a step in the right direction.

  • I like to view videos in full screen mode, so this upgrade is a must. Also, YouTube may integrate ads into videos rather easily this way.

  • I can only begin to imagine the kind of storage/hosting that sites like YouTube must have to be able to keep all the content online – even moreso if it has to store low-res and high-res?

    The top cable ISP here in the UK is currently offering 20mb broaband and is supposedly trialing 50mb. Some ADSL offerings are also pretty quick but we are limited by an ageing telephone network – if you live more than 5km away from an enable exchange, you may well be stuck with dial-up.