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YouTube has revealed that video buffering is no longer a thing. Thanks to the VP9 video codec, which is the default codec for YouTube’s HTML5 video player, YouTube claims that its users have already watched more than 25-billion hours of video, and all of these in HD.
The VP9 codec is designed to bring HD and even 4K (2160p) quality at half the bandwidth used by other known codecs, making watching movies or videos on YouTube an awesome experience. Videos have always been compressed on YouTube because it is not possible to play them at the rate in which the videos are recorded. The compression has not always been the best, often, one is forced to play the video at its lowest rate thus losing detail and wasting the original quality at which the video was recorded on.
With 4K video uploads having tripled on YouTube in the past year, according to the statement, VP9 has played an important role in enabling both users and content creators to upload the maximum 4K, quality that not many years ago would have been impossible to view on the internet. Though 4K video is not distinguishable in a normal computer screen, those who have 4K enabled screens can enjoy it is superior quality.
“VP9 prioritizes the sharpest image features, and the codec now uses asymmetric transforms to help keep even the most challenging scenes looking crisp and block-free.” Say Google.
The VP9 codec can reduce the bandwidth needed to play a video by up to 35 percent, said the statement. With VP9, it is possible to play silky smooth 720p video whereas before users would have to play videos at 480p to avoid buffering, in places with weaker internet speed, users would have to play even lower than that, 240p, compromising video quality even more.
VP9 decoding support is available today in the Chrome web browser, in Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S6, and in TVs and game consoles from Sony, LG, Sharp.