YouTube and Google have updated us on its efforts to improve picture quality. More than 25 billion hours of video have been streamed using the new VP9 codec that brings picture quality improvements to everyone.
Better picture quality to the people
YouTube recently ditched its Flash player and switched from using MPEG4 (H.264) to VP9 as the default option. VP9 – like HEVC – can cut bandwidth requirements in half without sacrificing picture quality, compared to current formats. It will help everyone enjoy better streaming picture quality.
YouTube has now streamed more than 25 billion hours of video compressed in VP9. This has enabled many users to experience HD instead of low-quality videos without upgrading their internet connection. YouTube compares a 600 Kbps video compressed with VP9 (left) and MPEG4 / H.264 (right) below.
VP9 will also be instrumental in Google's plan to bring 4K video to the masses. It will let everyone with a 15-20 Mbps internet connection experience 4K in the living room. The first Ultra HD TVs with VP9 support will launch in the coming weeks.
YouTube says that the amount of 4K video has more than tripled in the past year. The company recently introduced a search filter that makes it easier to find all the 4K videos and it is also experimenting with video in 4K and 60fps. You only see 24fps in the cinema.
In the coming years, YouTube will not just match picture quality of broadcast TV, it will surpass it.