YouTube will support 1080P 3.7 Mbps next week
YouTube has just announced that they are going to start supporting 1080P content next week, and they have already posted a 1080P sample here (video source may not be ideal). After downloading the file and measuring the size against the time, I measured the bitrate to be just under 3.7 Mbps which is a step up from Google’s 720P content which average out to around 2.25 Mbps. This is a significant development since YouTube only started supporting 720P content at the end of 2008 and only started supporting 480P 640 Kbps content early 2008. This reinforces the industry consensus that Google has the lowest bandwidth costs on the Internet.
It should be noted that Internet based 720P and 1080P content is much too compressed and low bitrate to be comparable to broadcast 720P and 1080i content which uses 5 times higher bitrate. That’s why the picture above looks blurry even though it’s a 1080P video super sampled down to 532 pixels wide. There is no real substitute for higher bitrates. We can produce good quality images when there is little motion or complexity in the image with low bitrates, but you can’t have them all at the same time. Only higher bitrates will allow for good quality for content in motion.