YouTube going high-def with 1080p video playback

YouTube is launching a new 1080p high-definition playback option, a big step up from its current best offering of 720p, software engineer Billy Biggs wrote on the company’s blog. The new player should be available within the next few days. The company currently is in the process of re-encoding videos that were uploaded to the site at the high-resolution.

Biggs, in the blog wrote,  “We want to make sure YouTube is the best home on the web to showcase your content. For viewers with big monitors and a fast computer try switching to 1080p to get the most out of the full-screen experience.”

YouTube is encouraging users to upload videos at the high-resolution, promising to showcase some of the best examples on YouTube’s homepage. YouTube says it has re-encoded half of its existing library of 1080p videos, but notes that those hi-def videos are only a small portion--about 10 percent--of its collection. YouTube said it keeps all submissions at the resolution they were submitted. For now, YouTube will be maintaining its 10 minute limit on video length.

While offering true HD may simply be a consumer marketing play as more and more 1080p devices make their way into the hands of the masses, it's possible that it also may be part of Googles’ longer-term strategy to attract more of the premium content it hopes eventually will be easier to monetize.

For more:
- see this YouTube blog

Related articles:
YouTube loses key content exec 
Google on YouTube: We finally got all the pieces in place