YouTube slims down bandwidth requirements

YouTube has launched a feature allowing users to download slimmed-down versions of videos in places where bandwidth is tight.

Feather, now out in beta, is described as an “ultra-light watch page” which cuts back on the features available to viewers. Related videos and comments are kept to a minimum.

“A consequence of rolling out higher quality video, HD and, more recently, 1080p, is that playbacks might suffer if bandwidth or computer processing power is low. There are also a few countries where bandwidth is at a premium and videos can take several seconds to start playing” says engineer Chris Zacharias on the company blog.

“Let’s face it: in this age of instant gratification, even several seconds of loading time can feel like an eternity.”

The company warns that Feather is a work in progress and may not work for all videos. But, says Zacharias, “If we see adoption go up along with improvements in latency, we’ll look to roll this out of TestTube and make it more widely available.”

The beta is available here

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