As the prices of professional quality video equipment continue to drop and the number of people with high-speed internet connections continues to increase, online video sites have been scrambling to keep up with their users' desires to deliver higher quality content to their viewers.
YouTube is no different. Today, they announced the latest enhancement to the YouTube platform - a widescreen video format across the site - which they hope will provide users with "a cleaner, more powerful viewing experience."
The new YouTube format increases the traditional YouTube layout to 960 pixels to make space for the widescreen player - which now carries a 16:9 aspect ratio. Videos uploaded at the 4:3 aspect ratio are also presented in 16:9, but to prevent additional distortion, those 4:3 videos will be bracketed by vertical black bars.
And while the widescreen feature - although a dramatic change to the YouTube player we're used to seeing - doesn't really give rise to speculation, the combined series of recent upgrades to YouTube certainly do. First there was the high-definition video, then the live streaming, and now the widescreen. You have to wonder what Google has up their sleeve for this property. Or maybe you don't. Maybe it's obvious.
Clearly, Google can't be putting all of this effort into YouTube simply for bringing MGM movies to the Web. Can it? Isn't there likely something more happening? I would think so. But what does YouTube have in store? More movies? Television? Live sports? Hard to say. But it doesn't take a great deal of imagination to conjure up images of another room in which YouTube's widescreen HD content could be living. Keyword there being "living."