YouTube launches 4K HD streaming

Google’s YouTube announced last week that that it now supports 4K high-definition video streaming.

Hunter Walk, YouTube’s director of product management, made the announcement at VidCon 2010 in Los Angeles. This means YouTube now supports video streaming ranging from 360 to 4K progressive.

At 4096 x 2304 pixels, 4K is over four times the size of 1080p. The new format’s resolution is immense, takes much longer to stream and can be appreciated only on high-resolution output devices such as a projector or large screen TV.

By selecting the “original” setting, users will be able to watch videos in 4096p resolution. This won’t have much effect on content providers whose cameras don’t go past 1080p, but will as resolution increases. Users of the 4K feature must have ultra fast broadband connections and a powerful computer to handle the file size.

Walk said about 10 percent of all videos currently uploaded to YouTube are in HD quality, which makes it one of the largest HD video sites in the world. The site has already uploaded several 4K videos.

Improvements to YouTube’s annotation feature were also promised, with more customization to come in the fall and winter. “You’ll be able to bring in even more types of information,” Walk said, including the ability to pull in a live Twitter feed into a video. He followed up this announcement with demonstrations of the YouTube Editor tool and the lean-back feature.