Today, the media giant’s YouTube is showing off 4K video streaming using its VP9 video codex at CES 2014. The 4K format is roughly four times higher resolution than regular HD (3,840-by-2,160 pixels vs. 1,920-by-1,080 pixels). Therefore streaming 4K video is exceptionally data intensive (meaning you need a reliable extra-high-speed Internet connection) and requires a 4K-ready television set. The picture quality, to my eyes, is better than YouTube HD, however, block noise is still rather apparent when the screen is viewed from THX optimum distance… but hey, it’s still much better than YouTube HD.
Google’s VP9 — which it’s showing at CES — is a royalty-free video codex that it created as an alternative to the H.265 video codec that many other hardware and software providers already use for 4K video. The VP9 codex should also help deliver HD content faster, speeding up video streaming.
Since there aren’t many people demanding the 4K format, Google and YouTube have a pretty good chance of getting hardware manufacturers to use VP9. YouTube global director of platform partnerships Francisco Varela also revealed that YouTube has partnerships with 19 hardware makers — including LG, Panasonic, Sony, ARM, Intel, Broadcom, and Marvell — to use the VP9.
Now if YouTube HD will use VP9, then YouTube HD may just look rather identical to actual Blu-ray release.