YouTube’s relationship with HD video gets serious

YouTube is introducing an expanded high definition video section today. It’s an obvious move, improving the viewing experience and the ability to target advertising; until now HD content was mixed in with videos encoded at YouTube’s regular resolution.

YouTube has been offering a limited selection of HD videos over the past few weeks, with links indicating which ones were available in high definition. Clicking the “watch in HD” link beneath any HD-enabled video will now open the video in a widescreen, much larger player, according to the YouTube blog, Widescreen is a feature that YouTube has been rolling out since last month. You can check out this larger player with HD content such as the famous “Where The Hell is Matt?” dancing videos here.

YouTube is also funneling its huge selection of videos into three main landing pages, news, music and movies, making it easier for users to find what they want. Each section pulls the most popular YouTube videos for each category, with the movies page getting a chance to compete with Hulu by offering full-length films from partners like MGM and Lions Gate.

By separating the content into these categories, YouTube may be able to attract more advertisers. The distinct pages could entice more companies to run targeted ads since they’re so specific to an industry — for example, it would be more valuable to run an ad for the latest summer blockbuster on the movie page than on a page featuring random videos. However, there’s still the issue of user-generated content mixed in with more premium offerings, which has kept advertisers wary of YouTube.


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