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.
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).