This is easily the best news in weeks for video producers: YouTube is now supporting true HD 1080p. Yes, you read that right. You can now upload 1080p HD videos to YouTube and share the glorious high definition quality with your friends. Previously, the maximum upload encoding was stuck at 720p. So now resolutions will go from 1280x720 up to 1920x1080 which is really considered to be true high-definition. Outstanding.
It's actually even better than you think, too, because they're going to go through and re-encode any previously-uploaded video that was 1080p-capable. NewTeeVee says that last year about 1% of all videos uploaded were in HD, compared to 10% today. It'll probably be 30% or more next year.
Here… you might enjoy watching the video demo/test that YouTube's blog pulls its screenshots from:
Now, if you want to watch a video from YouTube that has been encoded in HD 1080p, add &fmt=37 at the end of the URL. Here is a link to a video in full 1080p where you can really see the difference - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6boDfu_abzg&fmt=37
I remember a couple years ago—it wasn't that long ago, really—when the talk was centered around whether YouTube would or could ever go HD. Then, last May (2008), they started testing HD. Just a short 16 months later and we're already up to 1080p. You have to give them credit for moving quickly on this.
Another new tidbit that came out of that story was that YouTube has started defaulting to the HD version for viewers that have historically chosen HD over standard definition.
I also don't want to think about what this might do to their cost. I'm sure plenty of our readers have dabbled enough in video to know how ridiculous bandwidth costs can be. And while Google may not have to pay anyone for bandwidth the way you and I would—the facilities and equipment they own cannot be cheap to maintain.
Anyway, you'll start seeing 1080p videos rolling out over the next few days. YouTube is openly inviting folks to upload 1080p videos, the best of which they'll spotlight on the hompage. If you're a content producer who has an HD camera, start filming. The quality of your videos is about to improve dramatically.