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YouTube Now Transcoding All New Uploads To WebM 267

Posted by timothy
from the rising-flood dept.
theweatherelectric writes "According to the YouTube blog, YouTube is now transcoding all new uploads to WebM, whereas previously the focus was on 720p and 1080p video. Google's James Zern writes, 'Transcoding all new video uploads into WebM is an important first step, and we're also working to transcode our entire video catalog to WebM. Given the massive size of our catalog — nearly 6 years of video is uploaded to YouTube every day — this is quite the undertaking. So far we've already transcoded videos that make up 99% of views on the site or nearly 30% of all videos into WebM. We're focusing first on the most viewed videos on the site, and we've made great progress here through our cloud-based video processing infrastructure that maximizes the efficiency of processing and transcoding without stopping. It works like this: at busy upload times, our processing power is dedicated to new uploads, and at less busy times, our cloud will automatically switch some of our processing to encode older videos into WebM. As we continue to transcode the remaining inventory, we'll keep you posted on our progress.'"
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YouTube Now Transcoding All New Uploads To WebM

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  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @05:43AM (#35878494) Homepage

    When you have critical mass, use it. Microsoft and others can bitch about their patent encumbered format 'til they are blue in the face, but Google knows when it comes to video on the web, Youtube is the first thing people think of and the first place they look.

    If no other move makes a difference in this html5 format war, this move is the blitzkrieg that will pretty much end it quickly and definitely.

    • by Spad (470073)

      Step 1: All videos available as WebM
      Step 2: HD videos only available as WebM
      Step 3: All videos only available as WebM

      • by mjwx (966435)

        Step 1: All videos available as WebM
        Step 2: HD videos only available as WebM
        Step 3: All videos only available as WebM

        Step 4: Profit (cmon, this is the one time this meme is appropriate, Google want to make a profit from YouTube).

      • Indeed. But, for it to work, there's also another needed step :

        Step "1 1/2" : Widespread hardware availability.

        It's already on the way.
        WebM is basically H264 with the patented bit swapped out, so just like lots of prior knowledge could be leveraged to code a WebM codec, lots of prior hardware blocks in dedicated decoders could be leveraged to make WebM hardware support.
        Also, lots of modern embed platforms feature much more than just a RISC CPU core : vector units, DSPs, and Compute-capable graphic cores are

      • In the last few days, I've found that increasing numbers of videos will work ok at 240, maybe or maybe not at 360, and fail at 480. The failure mode is that the image is a big blob of green, maybe with a few red pixels around the edges.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      If no other move makes a difference in this html5 format war, this move is the blitzkrieg that will pretty much end it quickly and definitely.

      The format troops will be home by Christmas.

      Unfortunately I dont share your optimism here. Google may have launched a veritable operation Overlord with WebM but the Axis of MPEG wont give up that easily.

      Apple and MS will fight this tooth and nail on the mobile front. Lets just face it, not being able to watch a video in the browser and having to open a separate application is just a pain in the butt, even on Android with supports true multitasking. Apple wont permit WebM to be in the browser and I'm n

      • by Bert64 (520050)

        MS are not really relevant in the mobile market right now, meaning it's pretty much a battle between Google and Apple.

        • And on that front (mobile, that is), Google seems to be currently winning, and win or lose looks to remain at least a substantial chunk - and supposedly as of "Gingerbread" (Android 2.3) and later, WebM support is supposed to be provided. Granted, it's likely done in software rather than hardware-accelerated on current devices, but it means that the format will at least hypothetically work for quite a few mobile devices.

          (I haven't tested it yet on Cyanogenmod 7, so I can't confirm that it works there, but

      • by pla (258480)
        Apple and MS will fight this tooth and nail on the mobile front.

        "Hey, let's deliberately prevent our users from accessing the single largest content provider in the world as part of our pissing contest with Google over meaningless more-or-less identical (to the end user) media formats - That should boost our market share!"
  • It's been established that WebM's only real advantage is in being supposedly patent-free, with H.264 still offering significantly more room for higher quality at lower bitrates.

    But YouTube doesn't care about efficiency, really. They care about speed and compatibility, which significantly reduces their options. I wonder how x264 fairs compression-wise against YouTube's WebM encoder when tuned to run at the same speed. I'd guess probably still better, but I haven't seen anyone do this sort of test.

    Based on

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Of the tests that are floating around the internet, WebM is comparable to H264 base or main, but not high (the different profiles are almost like different codecs, requiring more features as you get higher). Considering pretty much no phones can play high, or maybe even main, the quality comparison is kind of moot, unless you roll multiple versions of the video for different devices.

      But no, the one of the advantages of WebM is that it is patent free (there is always a chance of submarine patents though, sam

  • I noticed this week that YouTube videos will now make my old laptop overheat and shut down. I can't get through a 4 minute video anymore. I took it apart, cleaned the fans/heat sinks, made sure the fans still ran, and tried a few different video sites, but YouTube seems to be the only one with a problem.

    Is this a freak coincidence (or not so freak, it is a 4 year old laptop and my test was far from scientific), or is WebM more processor intensive to decode than the old encoding?

    • It's more intensive in terms of software decoding than the current best H.264 decoders. I am not aware of any software that can do hardware decoding of VP8 video on current, common GPUs.
    • by amn108 (1231606)

      On my setup the situation is opposite - Adobe Flash heats my laptop (IBM Thinkpad T43) to the point where even with the highest fan speed the CPU temperature climbs to 70C degrees and I either have to lower the frequency ceiling or pause/stop playback. Fullscreen is infinitely worse, if there is such a thing. And an interesting thing: even with videos that don't have much motion or use a static image, it'sWebM is much less resource intensive there.

    • by Skuto (171945)

      It's quite comparable in complexity, but it's less likely to have (full) hardware acceleration support for the decode. Some parts of H.264 decoders would be reusable, though.

      Then again, if your laptop is so old that decoding a video overheats it, it probably didn't have it for H.264 either.

  • by amn108 (1231606) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @06:39AM (#35878724)

    One thing I've been thinking ever since I joined YouTube HTML5 preview, is: do they know how much easier it is to download their videos when playing them back in HTML5? I know that one can also extract Flash video in one way or another, but with HTML5, at least on my setup - Firefox 4 on Ubuntu 9.10 - all it takes is choosing "Save Video" in context-menu. Voila - you can now have whatever you like on YouTube for your own private viewing.

    The definite advantage to this, is that one can skip the page parsings and renderings, and instead simply use say mplayer to launch and watch or listen to your favs. Let's face it - the cloud or web 2.0 applications are too slow, at least for me there is noticeable delay. mplayer handles webm videos in much better way than even Firefox 4, not to mention the monstrocity that is Adobe Flash. I simply download anything I watch more than 5 times in a month to the local storage.

    • I just got this crazy idea for dealing with this problem:
      When people make unauthorized copies of non-free material, prosecute them for doing that.
      I know this goes against the legal mainstream (viz. find out what they used to do that and ban it); I'm just thinking out loud.

    • by TyIzaeL (1203354)
      People expecting any sort of copy-protection from YouTube are Doing It Wrong. The plethora of re-uploaded videos (with their source being other YouTube videos) should be evidence enough of that.
      • by amn108 (1231606)

        I am not talking about the legality of downloading copyrighted content as such, but about how it is far easier doing so with HTML5+WebM than it ever was (at least for me, and I can write C/C++ software _AND_ Adobe Flash Player applications!) with Adobe Flash video player they have. Simply because nobody ever made it big with a sensible, easy-to use thing that gave you a "Download this FLV" button. I've used some Firefox plugins but first, they tended to break whenever YT made changes to their website code a

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      If your watching the flash version on linux, look at the files created in /tmp... Flash downloads the video file into /tmp and gives it a random name, but its there ready for you to copy.

      • by amn108 (1231606)

        Thanks for the tip, i'll check it out. Still, you got to admit - there is no "Download video" button, is there, as is the case with HTML5 video. It's the small and simple things... And yes, one can do a plugin or two, or a script or a launcher or what not, but it's already there with HTML5, from day one. That's the important difference.

        • by amn108 (1231606)

          And of course, for the completely clueless, they won't ever know or care about /tmp, but they WILL (sooner or later) discover the context menu and choose the convenient "Save video" option. And it will spread like wildfire in dry grass :-) Before you know it, it is a fact that YouTube is essentially a video and music installment that lets customers walk out with the content they (YT) put up, without the customers paying a dime for it. Will we get the sort of witchhunts for the average consumers that the Bit

  • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @06:41AM (#35878734)

    cloud-based video processing infrastructure that maximizes the efficiency of processing and transcoding without stopping. It works like this: at busy upload times, our processing power is dedicated to new uploads, and at less busy times, our cloud will automatically switch some of our processing to encode older videos

    Finally, a clear and concise explanation of "the cloud". Its batch processing just like JCL on MVS/360. And to think people thought it was something new...

    • by jank1887 (815982)

      "our cloud"

      doesn't that sort of make it not "the cloud"? I thought the whole point of "cloud computing" was that you're using other people's hardware to do your work. If it's your hardware doing your work on your network, that's now called working 'in a cloud'? So the next time Pixar uses their Renderfarm to produce a movie, they can call it their "RenderCloud"? Heck, I scripted my computer downstairs chop up my audiobook downloads so they play nicely on my older MP3 player. Then it dumps it to a shared dri

      • by slim (1652)

        I don't know how you're missing this. A cloud is a massive cluster of nodes which collaborate to process requests, and can route around failures.

        Yes, you can have your own cloud. Amazon's cloud services came about when they realised their private cloud had become big enough that they had capacity to spare.

        No, a System/360 is not a cloud. Although, for as long as it's working, it might be indistinguishable from a cloud to the client.

  • The only question I have is does it affect me in any way? I'm using Fedora 14 with FF3. It would be very nice to ditch the flash plugin, which I'm only using for Youtube and other video content.

    • by amn108 (1231606)

      As far as I know, FF3 doesn't do HTML5. FF4 does, and does so quite adequately. You won't be ditching the dreadful Adobe Flash pluging just yet though - last time I checked (this morning), a substantial share of YT content is still not available in WebM. Also, if you use Flash for other websites as well, then obviously nothing has changed there. I am a Flash Player developer on occasion, and I also wish i'd disappear. There are some things there is no alternative (HTML5 including) for though - camera and mi

  • I just want to know one thing.
    Have they stopped the RIDICULOUS policy of when switching a video to full screen, it re-buffers the whole damned thing again?
    As an Aussie with mid speed internet links, it's just wasteful in both my time and bandwidth. Not all videos stream faster than you can watch :/

    Yes, I've posted on their forums no response.

    • by Twinbee (767046)

      Well said. It is absolutely ridiculous, and I thought it was just me having that problem. The partial solution I have found is to make it full screen before the video starts, back to small, and then when you next go back to big it should be okay.

    • Well then let me answer it right here. It's not a policy, it's a setting. If you turn it off, it won't happen any more.

      Log in, click your name in the upper right corner, click Account. On the left, click Playback Setup [youtube.com], then select "I have a slow connection. Never play higher-quality video." Save changes, and you're golden.

      Here's a video to test on [youtube.com].

  • by Trelane (16124)
    Errrm, +1. Now, to get Moz to use hw acceleration for webm and to get a webm-enabled crystalhd card for my linu netbook!

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