YouTube Unveils 1080p High-Definition Video

Dennis Faas's picture

Tired of watching grainy videos on the ideal time-waster, YouTube? Then you'll be happy to hear that the Google-owned video-sharing site will soon be releasing content in gorgeous high-resolution 1080p.

YouTube announced over the weekend that, starting soon, users will be able to upload any video for viewing in 1080p, generally considered the highest resolution and thus best picture quality available today. The site has even posted a 1080p test video in case you're curious about how good high-def videos will actually look.

Nothin' Beats 1080p

YouTube first made high-definition video available a year ago when it introduced 720p capabilities to the site. However, even amateur videophiles will recognize that although 720p is technically high definition, only 1080p (not 1080i) is the pinnacle of current picture quality.

It's about time, too, since full high-definition camcorders have been on the market for some time and have witnessed a surprising drop in prices of late. Given that at least a few folks will be lucky enough to have Santa plop one of these things under the tree, the demand for HD video online is undoubtedly ready to rise.

One More Step Towards "Premium" Content?

YouTube's introduction of high-definition video also fits with the site's plans to enter the online commercial content market, currently dominated by favorites like Hulu. Back in March, we reported that YouTube had reached a deal with Disney to bring some of the latter company's work to the video-sharing site in "short form video content," or clips of certain shows from its ABC and ESPN networks.

Many speculated then that this was indication that YouTube would move full-steam towards "premium" content from TV and Hollywood, but to date that hasn't yet materialized. Perhaps this latest step is a necessary one towards streaming full-length, high-definition television shows and films on the site. (Source:

It should also be noted that in September the Wall Street Journal reported YouTube was nearing a deal with several film studios to stream movies on a rental basis. We can only assume those talks are ongoing.

The immediate drawback of the move towards high-definition video will be technology itself. Many computers in cubicles and home offices don't yet boast fast enough processors or Internet connections to take advantage of HD streaming, meaning it could be some time before the hardware is there to make this new unveiling truly important. Uploaded videos are also still limited to ten minutes in length, which some will consider a major drawback/hassle. (Source:

If you'd like to check out YouTube's 1080p test video, then you can find it here.

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