YouTube made two announcements Thursday for Web surfers who want high-definition videos. The company has expanded its HD player and is testing three new landing pages that aim to help the video-watching masses find news, music and movies on the site.
"People are beginning to watch more Internet video on their television and they are beginning to watch more long-form video, so it's inevitable that they are going to want to see higher quality than YouTube has normally provided," said Phil Leigh, a senior analyst at Inside Digital Media.
A Significant Difference
Leigh pointed to TiVo as an example of how Internet video is making its way to the television screen. TiVo users can watch YouTube videos on their TVs, he noted, but traditional YouTube videos don't hold up well in that format.
"There's a popular video called 'Where the Hell is Matt?' and it shows Matt doing a little dance in all the places he visited around the world with some background music," Leigh said. "They produced a video in HD as well as the regular quality, and when you put it on the TV there is a significant difference with HD."
Here's how to explore that difference. When consumers go to YouTube and click on the "watch in HD" option below any HD-enabled video, the video will automatically play in widescreen. That means you can find out where Matt is in HD, as well as watch plenty of other HD videos showing up on the site.
As part of this launch, YouTube has created a HD videos area where searchers can browse videos uploaded in the HD format. In anticipation of consumer questions -- including how to encode videos -- YouTube has prepared a FAQ in the Help Center.
Optimizing YouTube Search
"YouTube is a popular destination site, so this is a way of improving the experience even more for people who are beginning to watch YouTube videos on TV," Leigh said. "In a sense, YouTube is creating competition for the TV networks."
YouTube is also attempting to make searching for video content easier. The site is testing three separate landing pages, one for news, one for movies, and one for music.
According to YouTube, the news page will be populated with breaking stories from around the world as well as news drawn from the Google news service. The music page will feature rising videos alongside playlists dedicated to different genres. And the movies page will showcase some of the most popular short- and full-length movies on YouTube.
"We'll keep a close eye on how these pages perform with a view to rolling them out in other categories," YouTube said in its blog." With these developments we are hoping to improve your viewing experience and make it easier to find the content you want to watch."