YouTube announces 1080p video on the way

NewTeeVee Live: Hunter Walk of YouTube talks the future of the online video giant

Technology trends and news by Chris Caceres
November 12, 2009
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So how's YouTube going to make money?  Apparel of course, see the new line of socks? 

All kidding aside, YouTube's Director of Product Management, Hunter Walk took the stage at NewTeeVee Live in San Francisco to discuss what the company is working on.  

For starters, Walk announced that very soon, YouTube would enable all its users to upload and view videos in 1080p High Definition.  This is a significant step up from it's current limitation of 720p HD, (which is still pretty sharp.) This 1080p feature will be available to everyone, for free in the next few days, said Walk.

But the question arises, is YouTube nothing but a mere machine of massive amounts of servers?  Can the company keep up with the costs for storing all this video along with streaming it to its hundreds of millions of users worldwide?  

Well, it sounds like a resounding YES. Walk stated firmly that YouTube knows exactly what its doing business-wise.  At the moment, fewer than 10% of playbacks across YouTube are in HD but the company believes it will be able to scale gracefully.  Walk reaffirmed, "It's a challenge we've taken on quite enthusiastically."  

Since its inception around five years ago, YouTube has gown to be a media catalyst, a platform to connect video creators with their viewers.  Ultimately it wants to serve as the user's single channel through three different ways: 1. subscriptions, 2. recommendations, 3. and social discovery.  With these three focuses in line, YouTube believes it can create the ultimate personalized single channel for its users.

As for bringing YouTube to the television.  The company isn't doing too much that we already don't know.  Walk said YouTube has several set top box and television partners and of course, it's also experimented with YouTube XL, an optimized version of YouTube for the big screen.  It's well aware that around 10 million people have attempted to plug in their CPU's to the television, (whether it be successfully or not).

Ultimately, YouTube said it needs to put more ads in its embeddable player to build a business.  But sounding just like an early stage startup founder, Walk shared, "First you build traffic, than you experiment with monetization."