At NewTeeVee Live this afternoon, YouTube announced plans to improve the quality of video streams available on its site, upgrading the maximum
upload encoding streaming quality from 720p to 1080p.
The site will roll out 1080p video over the next few days, said Hunter Walk, director of product management at YouTube. In addition, the company is in the process of re-encoding all previous 1080p-capable videos, and is about halfway done that process, Walk said.
The move comes as the Google-owned site is attempting to ramp up monetization of videos from premium content partners. But the uploads are not limited to premium content providers; all users will be able to upload videos in the highest-quality format, Walk said.
The number of high-definition videos that are being uploaded to YouTube has increased dramatically since the company enabled 720p videos. A year ago, about 1 percent of videos were uploaded in HD; that has grown to about 10 percent in recent months, Walk said.
Walk wouldn’t comment on how many viewers currently watch content in HD, but said that the company has been an aggressive promoter of HD video, optimizing for viewer preferences and defaulting to high-quality video when it finds that users have chosen HD over SD streams.
Walk also wouldn’t comment on the effect that the move to 1080p video uploads would have on the company’s cost structure, both in terms of storage and bandwidth. “There’s a lot of speculation about our infrastructure. We make these decisions in an intelligent matter, and we’re able to scale quite gracefully,” he said.
Corrected: 1080p is the new maximum streaming quality.