Dailymotion Brings HD — Do You Want It?

7 Comments

With the battle over high-definition DVDs now decided, the HD debate shifts back to the web, where once again we ask if HD online matters. Re-igniting the discussion is Dailymotion‘s announcement today that all HD content uploaded to the video-sharing site will be automatically re-encoded for 720p HD playback.


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But are people looking for HD experiences on the web? During his Q&A session at NewTeeVee Live, YouTube’s Steve Chen was pretty adamant in his belief in video that’s “good enough” to get more people involved. AOL pulled the plug on its HD-like offering last year after low user adoption and CBS was hesitant to jump into HD content, believing that audiences don’t care so much about video quality.

And in an odd way, Dailymotion’s HD offering may prove the naysayers’ points. The Dailymotion blog concedes:

Word to the wise, however: HD is both bandwidth and processor intensive, so a 1.6 Mbps connection is advised (and dual-cores don’t hurt ;).

In an initial test, I had trouble with one video stopping almost every three seconds. A subsequent video worked fine, though there was still some stuttering. Dailymotion has created a special HD section where you can see for yourself.

HD content is definitely on the industry’s brain. The Flash 9 player started supporting HD. Hulu added HD content. Swarmcast released Autobahn HD for Flash. But until it becomes ubiquitous and easy (we mean, real easy), the ugly truth is that HD’s pretty picture won’t catch on.

UPDATE: PaidContent writes that ESPN360 will start providing HD programming as well (at a bit rate of 2Mbps).

7 Comments

Chris Albrecht

Richard, I’ll see what I can dig up on average connection speeds.

Frank, yes, the new player is quite good and full-screen is a nice touch.

Also, the video embedded in this story has been swapped. The “Bullitt” one I originally posted got taken down.

Eddie G

It uses 40 % CPU for me which is less than the 70 % that Vimeo does. I’m using a 1.86 Ghz Centrino with 1.5 GB RAM. Sitting at work at a media company makes sure that bandwidth is no problem but it’s nice that my fairly old computer can manage the load.

Frank Sinton

It is about giving people choice. Their new player is excellent and one click of the “HD” button switches to normal mode. The embed goes full screen too (can’t get that with the YouTube embedded player either).

Richard O'Brien

Until the majority of web users have high enough bandwidth connections to provide a “stutter free” experience HD will remain in the shadows.

The importance of simplicity to web users far out weighs that of picture quality.

Also, just out of interest, what are the latest stats around web user connection speeds? I’m guessing that there isnt a vast number of people connecting at 1.6Mbps?

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