Monday, November 24, 2008

Youtube Unveils New Widescreen Format (16:9)

I was playing a Youtube video tonight at 11 p.m. eastern standard time, then I refreshed the page and the new widescreen format appeared in the Youtube player.

The new default Youtube player size is: 640x360 pixels.

Wow, this changes everything. And, in my opinion, it's for the better!!! With TV going all digital and new TVs being widescreen with a 16:9 format, I think this change in none too soon.

There are a lot of web 2.0 video marketers that are using the new Flip Video HD which uses the new YouTube 16:9 widescreen format which Amazon offering at a discount. The resolution format of the new Flip Video Mino HD is 1280 x 720 so it wouldn't surprise me if that were the new HQ upload resolution for Youtube widescreen players. It has been 640 x 480 for HQ, but now it makes me believe it will be 1280 x 720 because I doubt the Flip video company did this new format on a whim; I'll bet they were in communication with Google/Youtube the whole time because they proudly display the Youtube logo all over their Flip Mino boxes. I've ordered mine and it's on it's way!

Here's YouTube's first official statement I could find on this subject

I saw one person using Divx get great results with these upload settings:

I saw one person using these Divx settings for pretty good video quality in stereo:

Codec: DivX 6.8.3 Pro
Rate Control Mode: 1-Pass
Profile: Unconstrained
Quality Preset: 10
Bitrate: 2000Kb/s
Resolution: 856x482 16:9 Square-Pixel Format
Framerate: 24fps
Running Time: 9:56
Source Filesize: 160MB
256Kb/s 48KHz Stereo CBR MP3 Audio

Another little known secret is that it appears there are now 3 levels of YouTube video resolution. First is the default video that everyone gets to see. Second, one can click on the "Watch Video in High Quality" hypertext link directly under the video. And here's the secret, it appears to me, that some videos qualify to an even higher level of resolution which I believe to be 720 pixels. To get there, you can watch the video in high quality, then add: "&fmt=22" to the end of the HQ url in the browser. It doesn't work on every video because not every video is uploaded at the right settings, but it will for for some. So, that means YouTube is making 3 different videos when you upload them if they qualify.

The evidence can be seen on this video:

Video 1 at default quality:

Video 2 at high quality: (It's the same url, but click on the blue hypertext link under the video for high quality)

Video 3 at 720 pixels:

Video number 3 is delivered on my computer a little choppier, probably because it's a lot more data coming through the pipe. I've got a 16 meg download speed and frames were still a little sticky. I believe the purpose for this level of resolution is for services like videos shown on regular HD TVs through Apple TV which is delivered through iTunes and video podcasts.

This simple demo has me convinced that YouTube now makes 3 copies of your videos instead of one or two.

If you find the best upload settings, please comment. I'm very interested in suggestions!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Google Mobile App with Voice Search for iPhone - Available NOW!

Finally, after unexplained delays by Apple, the Google Mobile App with Voice Search is NOW here and available for download FREE in the iPhone Apps store or on iTunes Apps store. It became available at the very end of the day on Monday, November 17th, 2008.

For me, this is a big deal because it's so hard to dial and drive, now cars around me will have a much needed chance not to meet me after a fender bender.

It's super easy to use, just start the app, then bring the phone to your ear, when you hear the beep, say what you are searching for, then just look at the screen for the results. It's that easy.

I am completely jazzed about this new feature! Now, the iPhone just needs video.