YouTube for Apple TV uses H.264, not Flash

normalkidThe reason for the delay is that Youtube will be encoding all of their videos into a “H.264 streaming-efficient compression format” specifically for the Apple TV. All of Youtube’s videos are currently encoded in Flash Video (FLV) format…. Interesting coincidence: both the iPod and iPhone can play H.264 encoded video, but not flash.[…] Thanks to normalkid for providing this nice story on Digg (more than 1980 Diggs).

What other user say about this:

Ranguvar: Okay, before more people get this wrong…

YouTube’s old video codec was NOT Flash. Rather, Flash is a streaming media standard. The codec used by Flash was Intel/Sorenson H.263, aka VP7. However, VP7 is proprietary.

So, they used the default Flash standard of VP6. They could have used H.264 if they so chose, but then it would have taken much longer to encode each video as it entered their servers, too much to be worth it. Now that H.264 is more optomized and I bet they’ve upgraded their servers a few times, and Apple is pushing for iPhone/Apple TV/iPod compatibility, they’r ready to jump.

The main point is the added compatibility. Video quality won’t be too much better. Not much you can do to spruce up ~300kb/s content, except using AVC High profile with 16 reference frames, full trellis, exhaustive motion search, 3 passes… you get the idea.

(From “In August 2005, Macromedia announced they had selected VP6 as the flagship new codec for video playback in the new Flash Player 8.”)

Ranguvar: Even with H.264 instead of the old Sorenson H.263, YouTube cannot catch up to Stage6.

Even H.264 cannot beat out Xvid/DivX when one is at 320×240 and the other can reach up to 1920×1080. And also, one is at ~300kb/s, and the other is upwards of 2MB/s.

This is good news, but not as good news as it will be when Stage6 announces DivX 7, wwith AVC encoding, and updates Stage6 to support AVC. Then I will jump for joy.

addicted68098: Dugg and buried, it was kind of obvious that apple wan’t going to be using Flash, but at the same time who ever tried to make this post tried to make a conspiracy out of it.

richardhenry: How about YouTube on Frontrow too? That would be pretty sweet.

LeeSoong: H.264 is a standard.

Flash is proprietary.

This is a big step up for YouTube – good job!

ptacnik: @nreisan

welcome to the digital world. You are an idiot. Take note.

prelude619: Why I don’t get is why we need so many GOTDAM formats! Almost every type of media player (i.e. PSP, Ipod, Zune…blah blah blah) all play different media. Everyone is always trying to push their own format. That’s the reason I sold my PSP. (the games sucked anyway) Do you know how time consuming it is to keep converting to different formats for different players??? You can’t just download from mininova and take it with you, you have to download, then convert for the player you own. SCREW that! and I don’t see it getting any simpler.


zetsurin: “Interesting coincidence: both the iPod and iPhone can play H.264 encoded video, but not flash.”

Well, virtually EVERY gadget these days supports H.264 but not flash. I know where you are trying to go with that but because the this fact there is nothing to read into.

windwaker: Interesting coincidence: HD encoded video is encoded in H.264. HD video content must be coming to the iPod!

naio: Crapple is a shitty company.

crash128: misfire, ignore.

peestandingup: This is true. Every video I upload to youtube is ALWAYS encoded in H.264. Mainly for youtube’s size limit, but also because it looks so damn good.

crash128: Ok, 264 for cells, VPx for inet instant play. But yea, what will gootube select for standard-def tv download (tivo, appleTv, xbox), or even hd? So many options…

I’d go mpeg2/4, but divX might do. Both cost $, though.

Interesting how close yt/goog and appl are getting.

fpssledge: ….am I the only one here that DOESN’T know what H.264 is? just thought I’d ask.

mikedaul: Why FLV uses on2 vp6 instead of h.264:

“All in all the On2 VP6 codec stood out on most of these points. We did not drop H.264/AVC because Macromedia is an evil company who likes everything to be proprietary, on the contrary. We were looking for the best balance on all of the above points. If the choice we made was the right one remains to be seen, but overall I am extremly happy, the video quality is really outstanding. Give it a try.”


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