May 14, 2015

YouTube in 4K Will be Faster with New HTML5 Developments

For a lot of people out there, 4K video streaming is a terrific idea, but somewhat impractical in its execution. The visual quality is amazing, but there's just so much data required to present such an image that the bandwidth involved is either too high to generate quickly or takes too long to present in the necessary fashion. 4K clips are beautiful, but hard to watch, and that's a development that Google (News Alert)'s looking to fix in Google Chrome.

The reports suggest that Google is building a new video rendering algorithm that makes 4K video more accessible, offering up what's described as “smoother video frame rendering for HTML5 videos.” Those interested in having a look can set up a flag in Google Chrome to enable the new video renderer using the flag chrome://flags/#enable-new-video-renderer, then restarting Chrome. Reports note that, for those systems that were already having a tough time playing higher-definition videos with hiccups every few seconds, the new algorithm should let the videos play smoothly.

Earlier efforts to help drive the 4K push had been seen bringing at least some help, particularly as far as things like the VP9 video codec were concerned. But between that and this new rendering algorithm, it might well be the start necessary to help drive the push into 4K. Of course, there will be other issues involved; the algorithm and VP9 codec alone won't be enough to take an old PC from a few years back and turn it into a 4K video viewing machine, but for those with reasonably upscale hardware, the new material should be enough to help out.

Image screencap via YouTube

This is good news for a lot of reasons; while for most people the HD world was doing just fine at 1080p, a lot of people have been discovering that 4K video is some really impressive stuff. That's getting the early-adopter pool started, and eventually, getting us all to a point where 4K video isn't just a thing we see when we go shopping at Best Buy (NewsAlert), but rather a thing that's in all our homes. It's going to be a good while yet, of course, before 4K really lands with any kind of force; it's not just a matter of streaming video, but rather a matter of major motion pictures as well. We'll need 4K video recording equipment to come into vogue as well, and basically everything that we use to get involved with video right now will need to take a step up to come into the 4K generation. A lot of that is still a ways off, particularly in terms of the network requirements needed to send and receive 4K video; those bandwidth caps so often seen today aren't going to be much help.

Still, this is where it begins, and this is how it begins. In fits and starts, bits and pieces, as new developments arrive and are tried out and as the early adopters become the first wave of new users. One day, and maybe not too far from now, we'll all have better access to this impressive new technology. Until then, though, most of us are already pretty happy with what we're getting from 1080p video, and can stay there a while longer.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino


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