Back in July, YouTube told us to expect several picture quality improvements. Yesterday, they started rolling out support for 48 and 60 fps – frames per second – in HD videos, and it looks great.
60 fps on YouTube
Every YouTube user can now upload videos in 60 fps. The picture quality improvement is very noticeable, especially in gameplay, timelapse and similar fast-motion videos.
To enjoy 60 fps on YouTube you need to select either 720p or 1080p HD playback. You can force the video to go to HD from the small gear logo in the bottom right corner, but YouTube will also automatically select HD if your internet connection is fast enough. The "Stats for nerds" option reveals that YouTube is using around 14,000 Kbps bitrate for at least some 1080p60 videos. Not all browsers support it at the moment, but the latest Chrome and Safari version do.
YouTube has also added support for 48 fps, the same frame rate which was used for The Hobbit movies.
YouTube has continuously improved picture quality over the years, and in many cases a YouTube video can now look better than broadcast TV channels, which demonstrates a shift in technology advantage.
The majority of YouTube videos are still watched on a PC or mobile devices, but Google is determined to bring the YouTube experience to the big screen. They recently released a new TV app, and with the release of the Android TV platform Google is expected to step up its efforts.
The next step for YouTube is to implement better and more effective video codecs instead of mpeg4 (H.264). Next-generation codecs include HEVC and Google’s in-house VP9. Both codecs can bring significant improvements to HD and 4K picture quality and reduce the required bandwidth by up to 50-60 percent. Google has already vowed to implement VP9 on YouTube, but they also recently added HEVC support to Android 5.0, which indicates that they intend to support both.