Recently YouTube announced that they would be supporting 1080p HD playback on all of their videos, and a music video that featured The Muppets singing Bohemian Rhapsody was one of the first to showcase this new ability:
While it’s exciting to see what a bunch of puppets look like in a higher quality high definition (YouTube has provided 720p HD for a while) it’s the implication of this announcement that really has me excited: streaming 1080p HD television.
Now I’m sure there are plenty of YouTubers out there who would like to think that this change was made for them, but it’s going to cost YouTube a fortune to stream all that extra data (even with the help of Google’s massive server farms) which means they’ll need to be monetizing their content more then ever before. And while Jonny’s birthday and Jane’s recital will surely look better to the grandparents in 1080p HD, it’s the TV networks and the movie studios that will be willing to shell out the big bucks to get their content in front of the millions of YouTube users. Thus, don’t be surprised to see YouTube make a big announcement in the near future of a premium subscription service that takes on the likes of Hulu and Netflix with streaming TV shows and movies in the highest of high definition. (There are already a few older and straight to DVD movies on YouTube, but 1080p should open the door to newer and better content.)
Heck, maybe we’ll even get lucky and Google will announce a 1080p compatible, YouTube enabled set-top box that brings all that new content right into your living room. (And to show Apple what their Apple TV should have been from the very beginning…)