YouTube is going to roll out 1080p high-definition video later this week, as the video portal steps up its quality to compete with other sites. (That’s 1,080 lines of vertical resolution or horizontal scan lines, a notch above the current highest level at 720p.)
“For our content creators, we want it to look as good or better than the source’s quality,” said Hunter Walk, a director of product management for YouTube, at GigaOm’s NewTeeVee conference in San Francisco today. High-definition video now makes up about 10 percent of uploads on the site.
Walk revealed a few more interesting tidbits at the conference — mobile uploads are up 2,000 percent this year thanks to a raft of smartphones including the iPhone and an oncoming wave of competitive Android-enabled devices like the Droid.
“Everyone is going to have a camera in their pocket at all times,” Walk said. “Every time a new device rolls out like the iPhone 3GS, we see a new spike in mobile uploads.”
Walk said YouTube is also working on refining its personal recommendations.
“I don’t think the future is many channels. I think the future is just one channel — it’s a personalized experience,” he said. That perfect channel, as he envisions it, would blend the content a user knows they’re looking for with great search quality, and mix it with content they wouldn’t have known they’d be interested in. YouTube is also bringing more professional content providers in with revenue-sharing deals to show movies and short films.
“We’re not a media company — we’re a media catalyst,” Walk said. “What we really try to do is connect content creators with content viewers. We focus on doing a better and better job of serving those two constituencies.”