YouTube WebM Transcoding Complete for 30% of Videos Which Make up 99% of Views

YouTube WebM Transcoding Complete for 30% of Videos Which Make up 99% of Views

Some sites are reporting that WebM is the most used format at YouTube, but that's not exactly what the blog post says. It says that they have finished transcoding the most viewed videos to WebM and all new uploads are automatically transcoded to it. It's all in the wording… and the reading comprehension.

Somewhere around 30% of all videos on YouTube are transcoded to WebM, which, as we all know, is a lot of videos. YouTube has been automatically transcoding all new videos with WebM for some time now and work is progressing on transcoding the whole catalog of videos there, but I imagine that's some years of work. I mean, 6 years of videos are uploaded there daily.

What Google said is they have transcoded the videos that make up 99% of all views and that's where the 30% of videos comes from. They did not say that most users are using WebM, just that a lot of videos are available in the format.

Basically, they have their cloud prioritizing new uploads and when uploads slow they work on the older stuff in the background until all the processing power is again needed to keep up with transcoding the new stuff.

James Zern, a Software Engineer posted this all at the YouTube blog and said they're still working to build out a full-featured HTML5 player and that H.264 support will continue so that videos still get to as many people as possible.

Patience is key in things like this as HTML5 is an emerging technology that hasn't even been fully standardized yet. Many people fail to remember that so I'm just dropping a reminder. I imagine that YouTube will be working on their HTML5 player for some time to come and the WebM format will continue growing as well.

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About the Author -
Christophor Rick is a freelance writer specializing in technology, new media, video games, IPTV, online video advertising and consumer electronics. His past work has included press releases, copy-writing, travel writing and journalism. He also writes novel-length and short fiction as part of Three-Faced Media . View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • http://www.VideoLeadsOnline.com/ Ronnie Bincer

    So break it down for us would you… If the videos are transcoded into WebM format but there is no player for them, then how do I see them?

    Is it the fact that there is no "embed" player for them yet, but if my browser supports WebM video then when I watch a video on YouTube with my WebM-ready browser, then I am going to see it as a "WebM" video? Is that how it works? Sorry if my questions seem very basic but I feel like I'm missing something here!

    • http://www.gamersdailynews.com Christophor Rick

      Hey Hound,

      Here's how I see it going down, if you opt-in to the HTML5 beta they're currently running then their video player will probably do this:

      Check browser
      If HTMl5 ready – check for WebM presence
      If WebM playable – Play video (FF4, Chrome, Opera 10.6)
      else check for H.264 (which is almost guaranteed)
      If H.264 – play video (Safari, IE6-9)
      else check for Flash capability
      If Flash – play video

      So basically if you've got the HTML5 beta on it will try to play that, in WebM, first, then default to the others (kind of like our examples here at ReelSEO). Here's the link to join the HTML5 beta on YouTube:
      http://www.youtube.com/html5

  • beenyweenies

    If you elect to utilize the YouTube HTML5 beta (http://www.youtube.com/html5) you will see WebM encoded videos. Alternatively, you can append &webm=1 to the end of a video's URL to see the WebM version if it exists.

  • Kye

    When new videos are uploaded, does Youtube encode the WebM versions directly from the uploader's source file, or do they use their own completed MP4 encode as the source for the WebM encode just like the previously uploaded videos that are being transcoded? If quality was the priority they would certainly do the former, but they might favor the simplicity and reduced data storage of the latter, especially in this beta stage.

    • http://www.reelseo.com/about/mark/ Mark R Robertson

      That's a good question Kye. Im not sure the answer and Im sure they wouldnt tell us. I would hope the former but the simplicity and data storage would be a good argument.

  • Kye

    When new videos are uploaded, does Youtube encode the WebM versions directly from the uploader's source file, or do they use their own completed MP4 encode as the source for the WebM encode just like the previously uploaded videos that are being transcoded? If quality was the priority they would certainly do the former, but they might favor the simplicity and reduced data storage of the latter, especially in this beta stage.

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