YouTube goes hi-res

YouTube is to start support 1080p high-definition videos from next week.

Google-owned YouTube says it will support video playback in the full 1080p HD format, upgrading from the current maximum of 720p. And on the upside, videos already uploaded at 1080p will automatically be converted to play back at their original quality, says YouTube.

YouTube director of product management Hunter Walk says that half the existing 1080p content has already been re-encoded.

Uploaded videos will still be subject to a ten minute maximum, but the maximum file size will almost certainly need to be increased from the current two GB. 

A YouTube spokesman says the company has tested the higher-quality files extensively and is ‘not worried’ about infrastructure problems or the increased cost of supporting larger files.

But Walk added that only about 10 percent of YouTube content is watched in the existing hi-res format and that, for many, bandwidth limitations preclude viewing at maximum quality and most content is coming in from mobile phones: “We’ve seen about a 2,000 percent increase in mobile uploads this year,” he said.