youtube-logoOver the last few months, interest 4k TVs, monitors, and content has increased dramatically. YouTube has been streaming content in 4k for a while now, but using Flash. GigaOm is now reporting, however, that at CES next week, YouTube will introduce 4k streaming using its new VP9 codec. This is a new royalty-free codec developer by Google as an alternative to H.265 video codec used by other 4k video implementations.

Back in 2010, Google tried to gain traction with its VP8 codec, but due to tough competition and a lack of hardware support, those plans didn’t exactly pan out. In order to avoid the same issues with VP9, Google has already lined up a large number of hardware partners. At CES, LG, Panasonic and Sony will be demonstrating 4k content with the VP9 codec, while 19 other companies have agreed to support the codec, including ARM, Intel, Broadcom, Marvell, Toshiba, Sharp, and Samsung.

Of course, YouTube makes it cleat that VP9 is not the only codec it plans on supporting 4k content. This certainly isn’t a war of the video codecs,” Francisco Varela, global director of platform partnerships at YouTube said in an interview. He also notes that it is possible for YouTube to support H.265 video as well.

As you would expect, Varela says the ultimate goal with VP9 is to reduce the amount of data required to stream high-resolution video by half, in addition to improving load times. “By 2015, you’ll be surprised every time you see that spinning wheel,” he said.


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Chance Miller


Chance currently writes for both 9to5Google and 9to5Mac, in addition to 9to5Toys.