A couple of months ago YouTube made the news when they announced that they now supported full, 1080p HD video on its site. This was great news for many people, as nearly all PC’s and Laptops now a days come with HD screens and with YouTube being built into more and more HD TV’s it was welcomed by the masses.
But now, last Friday, YouTube announced that it’s player now supports 4k. Now most of you probably have no idea what that is. Well the resolution of full HD is 1920×1080 pixels, the resolution of a video shot in 4k is 4096×3072 pixels. So it’s nearly 4 times the size of standard HD videos. It’s even bigger than iMax, which projects films in 2k with a 2048×1080 resolution.
YouTube have even put up a special playlist of 5 videos that you can watch in their original 4k quality which you can watch here.
However I don’t think any of you will be able to enjoy the full experience of 4k just yet anyway. Firstly, you need a mega fast broadband connection to even consider streaming the video in the first place. I have a 7 mb connection and I couldn’t get decent playback when I tried to watch them. Secondly, how many of you have displays that support 4k resolution? Very, very few of you, I think would be the right answer.
In order to watch 4k video properly, you need a 4k compatible projector or a super large screen with a resolution of 4096×3072 pixels, neither of which will you find cheap, in fact you’ll struggle to find them in your local electronic store.
What’s more, streaming 4k video still means it has to be compressed like standard HD and since they’re so much larger, you’ll be watching playback at a much lower bit rate than the original. So once you blow up the video onto the big screen, you can notice compression artifacts fairly easy.
So it’s great that YouTube are looking to the future and gearing up for 4k, but could you give us a chance to all catch up to HD first? 4k videos are only going to choke up our bandwidth and nobody has the right gear to experience them properly. You wont notice any difference between them and standard HD unless you blow them up a million times and look at them through a magnifying glass!
The ideal screen size for a 4k video is 25 feet wide, and 4k cameras cost 100,000′s of dollars and so do the projectors which are the size of a refrigerator. I don’t think we’re ready to experience 4k just yet somehow.