You can view the video here and switch between 720p and 1080p at any time. While perhaps not dramatic or always obvious, there's a definite difference in quality noticeable in the finer details. Switch between the videos in full screen to see what we're talking about, or take a gander at these screenshot comparisons Gizmodo posted.
Have you found any other 1080p videos on YouTube worth watching? Hit the jump and drop a link!
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye: to YouTube’s API access. From now on, it’s through the front door or you’re not getting inside.
The word comes from Syabas, the maker of the Popcorn Hour set-top box. They, along with pretty much every set-top box maker, used YouTube’s API access to video’s which provides a neater integration to video than the regular Flash-based web interface. Besides better video, advertisements were also avoided. Good deal all around.
But no more. Google has changed the agreement for using API access--which it has a right to do. Google has decided to cut off access, except perhaps to a few of the powerful set-top makers, like Sony or Nintendo. Could be Google has figured out a new way to generate revenue, which certainly wasn’t coming from those who skipped the ads.
Google is striving to make YouTube friendlier for deaf and hard of hearing people. It today announced the launch of machine-generated automatic captions. But it has chosen to limit the technology to a few YouTube channels for now.
The auto-cap feature has been built on top of the YouTube caption system, and uses the same speech-to-text technology as Google Voice. Though the auto-cap feature is only meant to work with English-language speech, it is possible to automatically translate these automatically-generated captions to 51 different languages.
Another new feature has been added to YouTube in the form of "automatic caption timing." Captions are created using the transcript (text file) uploaded by the user. Google's automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology helps ensure that each word hits precisely the right mark on the timeline, making it easier for users to manually create captions.
In recent years, 1080p camcorders have found their way into more consumers’ hands. Now YouTube will allow people to take advantage of all those pixels. Starting next week, the HD options on the popular video sharing site will include both 720p and 1080p, provided the original source allows it.
There is a test video already up here. Performance seems to be good, but it doesn’t look tremendously different from current YouTube HD offerings. If you have an HD camera, YouTube would like you upload some 1080p video. They will be highlighting some of the best footage on the front page soon. If you shoot HD video, will you take the extra time to upload your videos in 1080p?
YouTube has launched what it terms as “a small test of skippable pre-rolls.” But don’t be misled by YouTube’s humble choice of words for describing its latest experiment. After all, it is something that could shape the advertising strategy of one of the most popular sites on the internet.
YouTube wants to test the viability of optional pre-roll ads. Such ads will not only give more freedom to the viewers but also force those responsible for creating the ads to come up with more informative, entertaining and compelling ads.
“We've learned from Promoted Videos that advertisers are often willing to pay more money for an engaged opt-in view, as opposed to a forced view like an in-stream ad, so this also has the potential to increase CPMs,” the company said in a post on the YouTube Biz Blog, which it uses to make advertising and business related announcements.
YouTube first flirted with in-stream ads in 2007. But that experience proved to be far from perfect as it found the abandonment rate to be as high as 70%. It then went on to realize that in-stream ads work best with longer videos.
You got to hand it to Google, they are one for novel ideas. And, in this case, perhaps an idea that makes sense. Piracy is a tough thing to combat. A lot of effort goes into anti-piracy efforts, and little benefit seems to emerge. Rather than copyright owners fight with Google’s YouTube over the posting of their material, Google is proposing they try to make a buck from it instead.
Google’s proposition is quite simple. Making use of a ‘fingerprinting’ system Google has developed (Audio ID and Video ID), copyright owners could tag and track their content on YouTube. The content identification system, already in use on YouTube, allows to see where and how often their material is viewed. Rights holders could use the system to block their content, or they could take a small cut of YouTube’s advertising revenue, based on the how much viewing statistics.
It would seem like a win-win situation. Copyrights holders would have to take responsibility for their content on YouTube, making sure it is properly tagged for tracking, and blocking what they see fit. YouTube would be relieved of the burden of lawsuits by copyright holders, and would be better situated to generate advertising revenue that is currently shying away from the site because of its legal issues. Both sides would get to wet their beaks in a bigger pot of advertising revenue. And YouTubers will be still free to watch all their favorite, currently tainted, copyrighted material.
Freaky? Yeah, says the Times. Each social networking service develops its own culture. When culture boundaries are breeched, as when Flicker mingled its vital essence with that of Yahoo, Flicker diehards freaked-out--the reason they were at Flicker was because they didn’t want to be at Yahoo. Would the same be true for YouTube users?
Possibly, but we may never know. The Times later corrected itself. Only those YouTubers who have a Google account associated with their YouTube account will be affected. And only to the extent they’d have to use their Google password. They can still use either their YouTube or Google username. If you don’t have a Google account associated with your YouTube account, then nothing happens, so there’s no reason to freak out. Basically, only those who have already co-mingled their vital essence will be affected, and they probably don’t care.
For the record, the Times “apologizes[s] for getting the story wrong.” Some solace, I suppose, to those who had gone off the deep end after reading the initial report.
For some unknown reason YouTube has decided to make possible real-time searches of comments. Seriously? Comments are the thing you avoid on YouTube, expressing either gross immaturity or venting some real, and ofttimes inappropriately placed, anger. If there is a good thing about YouTube comments is we’re subjected only to a few of them--and they are easily ignored.
After reading some of searched comments I’m not so sure companies would want to know what people are saying. Not the people posting on YouTube anyway. Give it a try. Type in any innocuous term. Count down how many entries until you read something obscene or vulgar (or worse). In my few searches I didn’t get past the top five.
Western Digital has announced the second iteration of its TV connected media player. The new WD TV Live HD takes all that was awesome about the old, and adds some new tricks. The box still has wide codec support for playing files from USB drives, but it now also streams content from Youtube, Pandora, and Flickr. Users can also connect network drives to the new version to view files.
The WD TV Live HD, as the name would suggest, outputs 1080P HD video via a HDMI 1.3 port. Composite and component are also available. If you need to get video off that USB drive and on to your TV, the WD TVs provide an attractive alternative to media center PCs. The new WD TV device has an MSRP of $149.99.
One billion views a day? That’s a whole lot of the Evolution of Dance, Susan Boyle, and Tron Guy. But it all depends on who’s doing the counting. Officially, according to comScore, YouTube in August had surpassed 10 billion views which, no matter how you slice it, is a whole lot of views. Miguel Helft, of The New York Times Bits blog, notes that this total is only for the United States. If foreign views are tallied it is estimated that the 10 billion number would double. While that leaves YouTube a bit short of the 30 billion that 1 billion a day would produce, it still beats the pants off of second place Microsoft, which played a mere 547 million videos during the same period.
Where does the 1 billion views a day number come from? YouTube itself. In a YouTube blog titled “Y,000,000,000uTube”, Chad Hurley, CEO and co-founder of YouTube, claims YouTube is now the “burger kings of media,” serving up well over a billion views a day. Hurley also notes that the nature of YouTube is changing: “As bandwidth has increased, so has our video quality. As we've started to see demand for longer, full-length content, we've brought more shows and movies to the site.”
For a bit of perspective on all this 1 billion views a day equates to 11,574 YouTube videos started up each second of the day. That’s a whole lot of bandwidth!