YouTube just announced that it will soon support 4k video – the next-generation HD format with a resolution of 4096×3072 pixels. At almost four times the size of 1080p, the highest resolution HD format currently available in the mainstream market, YouTube’s resolution for 4K videos goes far beyond what most people will be able to watch on their TVs and computers for quite a while to come.
Nice Tech Demo – But Inconsequential for Users
As a technology demo, this is an interesting gimmick. It shows that YouTube is able to handle this kind of material and will be able to support video producers who want to shoot in 4K.
For users, however, this is an inconsequential move for now. On my own fast broadband connection, I was able to easily download 4K videos (you can find a playlist here), but I neither have a screen nor video card that is able to handle this kind of resolution with any grace.
According to Google, the ideal screen size for a 4K movie is about 25 feet – a bit larger than the screens most of us have on our desks and in our living rooms. And – if course – unless you own a Red camera – you can’t actually shoot any 4K video yourself.
So why is Google doing this? Is it just a technology demo to show off at VidCon? With HD, Google was very late to the party, so maybe the company is trying to stay ahead of the curb here.
What’s interesting, too, is that WebM – the open video format Google supports – can’t even display this kind of video.
So if you have any idea why Google is doing this now, let me know in the comments.