The New Standard In High Definition

Posted on July 11, 2010


In the not too distant past, HD video on YouTube was but a dream. From 2005 until 2009, YouTube could only support VGA resolution video at a resolution of 640 pixels by 480 pixels, which was not too bad, but amateur YouTube film producers wanted more to work with. In late 2009, YouTube finally allowed support for true HD video in 720p (1680 pixels by 720) and 1080p (1920 pixels by 1080) resolutions. Now it’s 2010, and what could get better quality then 1080p?

Meet 4k.

Just this Friday at Vidcon 2010, YouTube pulled an unexpected move and announced support for videos shot in “4k”, or 4096 x 2304 pixels. This massive resolution provides an amazing 9,437,184 pixels. In contrast, HD 1080p has the ability to display only 2,073,600 pixels. This means that 4k displays about 4 times the amount of pixels that 1080p can display.

“We always want videos on YouTube to be available in the highest quality possible, as creators intend.” YouTube says.

To put this into perspective, the optimal screen size for displaying 4k video is 25 feet. IMAX movies are projected in 4k using two 2k video projectors.

Although YouTube offers support for 4k, most videos that we see will still be in either 720 or 1080p. There are very few cameras on the market capable of shooting video in this resolution, and the prices for those that do are astronomical. For example, the Red One camera can shoot video in 2k, 3k, and 4k. It costs $17,000 for the case alone. The total cost if you get all the accessories could equal the price of a luxury sedan.

However, the lucky few people able to have access to 4k cameras are making full use of it. YouTube has created a playlist showcasing all 4k videos. You can view it here. However, be warned. Even if you have an ultra high speed broadband connection, a 4k video will take a few minutes to load.

Posted in: HDTV, Web Sites, YouTube