It's been less than a year since YouTube gave the thumbs up to 1080p HD, but they seem determined to never fall behind again. On Friday at the VidCon 2010 conference the streaming video site revealed support for 4K video streams , a resolution that is more than four times the size of 1080p. To put this in perspective they claim the most ideal display for a native 4K video would be a screen measuring more than 25 feet across.
Many agencies reporting on this story have criticized the announcement as little more than posturing given that consumer adoption of 4K is still many years out, but you won't hear any complaints from us. After all, many of us are rocking 30" displays that have far too many spare pixels when watching 1080p anyway.
A sample video collection has been posted to the site for you to checkout, but make sure you come prepared. According to the YouTube blog you'll need a "super-fast broadband" connection, and half way decent hardware to enjoy the sample clips. My initial tests showed satisfactory performance with a 10Mbps cable connection, but it was nearly impossible to detect the difference on a 1920x1200 24" panel between 4K and 1080p.
Now that YouTube offers resolutions far an above everyone's native displays, maybe they could work on improving the bit rate. After all, 4K video is great, but not when it's riddled with compression artifacts. Scroll down to try one of the clips out for yourself. You’ll need to click on the video to access the “Original” resolution.