Wired's Meghan Keane, YouTube is testing stereo sound as a default option for videos and is also offering very high quality HD versions of a small selection of clips. We weren't able to find a lot of videos that were encoded in the 720p HD format, but it is important to note that this is different from the 'watch in high quality' option YouTube already offers, which only features a resolution of 480x360 and which doesn't look half as good as the 720p option.According to a report by
It would not surprise us if Google was adding these options to give professional content producers and TV networks more of an incentive to upload their content to YouTube instead of using Google's competitors.
Competing for High Quality Content
As HD cameras are pretty much already becoming standard in the consumer electronics space, it would make sense for Google to start supporting this format. Also, a lot of YouTube's competitors like Vimeo already offer HD playback with a resolution of up to 1280x720.
We also know that Google is trying to get more professionally produced TV shows and movies onto its service. In this space, YouTube is competing with Hulu, which already offers some shows in HD, as well as the offerings of individual TV networks like ABC, which streams a large selection of its primetime shows in HD.
This February, we already wondered why Google was allowing YouTube to fall behind its competitors by not offering HD video, but now it looks as if Google might be catching up again. The question that remains, however, is when these 720p videos will become a default option for content producers.
To see these HD videos, you have to add "&fmt=22" to the YouTube URL, but we haven't been very lucky in finding a lot of videos where this option was enabled yet. If you find any, let us know in the comments.