YouTube has been gradually introducing higher definition video streams for some time, in spite of ISPs’0 insistence of buffering them. And now, they’re teaming up with RED to provide 4K Videos on select YouTube Channels, which will be encoded with Google’s open source VP9 Codec.
We recently worked with YouTube engineers to enable 4K VP9 encoding, and we are very happy that all new 4K videos uploaded to select YouTube channels will now be encoded with the updated VP9 Codec. You guys need to try it out, it is a considerable improvement. – Jarred Land Land, REDUser Forums
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RED has its own 4K network that streams through their REDRAY video streaming players, but it looks like they are going for pushing market saturation here, and are growing a bit impatient with the development of H.265, which seems to have been taking its dear sweet time to come to market. And with Google’s own open source VP9 ready to go, RED seems to have consulted on the codec and it’s now ready for prime time.
So RED is launching their own SHOT ON RED channel, which will feature select ultra high definition (UHD) video streams that can be submitted and highlighted on the channel.
“If you would like to be considered to have your footage in the channel spotlight,” Land adds, “email us at email@example.com with a link.” Users also need to join the RED channel in order to gain access to the new codec. “… if you want to check out the new codec. If you have something great you wanna test, just email a link and if its good we will upload it for you,” Land says.
RED is also conducting special classes in 4K through their REDucation initiative, and they are being held every other month at YouTube Space in Los Angeles, with plans to expand to YouTube's London, New York, and Tokyo spaces later this year. Developed by Google for use on YouTube, the VP9 codec has some heavy support from camera manufacturers. In addition to RED, there’s been support and consultation from Panasonic, Sigma, Sony, and many others. According to Google, the codec is able to offer 50% better image compression over existing AVCHD H.264 streams and can do it at 15Mbit/s without losing any image resolution. And because it’s open source, it doesn’t come with licensing fees like H.264 or H.265 will.
According to YouTube’s Peter Salvia, here are some of the benefits of VP9:
VP9 makes YouTube play faster, smoother and better in quality VP9 has improved buffering by 25% in developed markets & 100% in emerging markets VP9 represents 60% of Chrome video playbacks on desktop VP9 has increased YouTube HD delivery by over 25% in emerging markets VP9 has reduced HD playback latency by 15% everywhere VP9 is enabling YouTube reach the next billion people in emerging markets VP9 gains across the board more pronounced in emerging markets VP9 has broad industry adoption with now over 20 major TV, mobile & PC partners supporting it in their products starting 2014.
And while H.265 is still the heir apparent for UHD, Google has a serious impact with streaming on YouTube, and with RED, Panasonic, Sony and others getting behind it. Canon, meanwhile, has gotten behind H.265, so we may end up with yet another format war on our hands as we move into ultra high definition. And with RED getting into the front lines with this new streaming channel, it looks like they’re looking to sign up more and more shooters to the cause. Will this affect how they save video while shooting? Probably not. But for streaming online, it’s going to offer some pretty solid benefits.