Skip to main content

YouTube to Demonstrate 4K Streaming at CES With New VP9 Tech

According to a report from tech news site GigaOm yesterday (Jan. 2), Google will have on display YouTube streaming 4K resolution video with select technology product partners, including TV makers such as Sony and LG partners. Google will use a new VP9 codec it developed to stream video at lower bandwidths, including current 1080p HD videos and also new 4K videos. 

In response to a request from Tom's Guide today (Jan 3) Google confirmed the information in the GigaOm article, listing 19 companies as "some of the partners" that will be adding support for the new video codec.

According to Google, the YouTube demos will be shown on new devices from LG, Panasonic and Sony at their booths during CES next week. We contacted all three companies for comment, but have not heard back from any of them. 

YouTube has stated there are working with 19 hardware manufacturers to include VP9 support in their new products, including: ARM, Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, LG, M-Star, Marvell, MediaTek, Mozilla, Nvidia, Panasonic, Philips, Qualcomm, Realtek Semiconductor, Samsung, Sigma, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba. Google developed the VP9 codec to be royalty-free, allowing for easier adoption by tech companies. This list represents a wide swath of technology types from software to components to final consumer products.

MORE: What Is 4K TV? 

While YouTube currently has a limited amount of 4K content, the amount is expected to increase once there are more devices able to view 4K video and content producers see there is a viable market for such content. The VP9 codec and its lower bandwidth requirement will also increase the 4K market since it will mean more households will have the capability to stream 4K content.

There is another 4K codec that has gained support, called alternately H.265 or HEVC (High Efficiency Video Codec). This is the tech that Netflix will use for its 4K streams, including the second season of its original show House of Cards, coming later this year. Rumors have it that Netflix will announce its own alliances with TV makes at CES to support its HEVC streaming service. According to GigaOM, Francisco Varela, YouTube's global director of platform partnerships, indicated that YouTube may support H.265 as well. 

Follow Kevin Ohannessian at @khohannessian and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • AKirby
    So when can we start seeing HFR videos on youtube? That seems like a more logical progression considering pretty much everyone has a machine capable of displaying HFR, but 4K is still relatively uncommon.