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YouTube Revamp Imminent? 297

An anonymous reader writes "YouTube's latest blog post indicated that some changes are on the way. Google has opened up a call to submit and vote on ideas. HTML 5 open video with Free formats has dominated the vote, maintaining over twice as many votes as the next-highest item almost since the vote opened up. You may vote here (Google login required). Perhaps we don't even need to since their blog post comes suspiciously soon after their revised merger with On2. Could these improvements be a completely overhauled YouTube 2.0?"
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YouTube Revamp Imminent?

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  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:05PM (#30760254)

    Open Source fans including Mozilla support it, while owners of other video codecs of course think they shouldn't be locked out.

    Isn't it ironic that owners of other video codecs who are renowned for locking the public out of their formats, by keeping them secret, or trying to charge fees for their use, now don't "want" to be locked out?

    If they want their codec to be one included by an open standard such as HTML5, then the absolute requirement should be that they open their codec's specifications and make implementation of the codec gratis of any royalties, and just as free and open as the HTML recommendation.

    I don't want to exclude any codec who will do that.

    But the standards bodies owe it to the internet to exclude any codec who refuses to do that, and to recognize the popular codecs who will do that, by choosing the most suitable ones for inclusion as a critical element for video-enabled HTML5 renderers.

  • by Vyse of Arcadia ( 1220278 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:11PM (#30760286)
    Standards are good... but we're still in a format war over HMTL5 that makes it nearly impossible to implement it right now.

    I think that, given Youtube's weight, any codec Google chose would probably win the format war.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:11PM (#30760296)

    At all things interface.

    1) YouTube: look up the term "aspect ratio". One would think somebody at Google would have heard of this. Many of their videos are uploaded in the wrong ratio. Let us override the specified ratio so we can watch videos in the correct proportions.

    2) Multiple monitor support. It turns out that some people these days have more than one monitor. Some of these people might want to do something else with their computers while using one to watch a full screen video. So don't minimize the full screen video unless we tell you to. Bonus points for supporting more than one screen of video.

    3) The More From and Related Videos boxes should scale to take advantage of big screens, both horizontally and vertically. Since often one is searching for other videos in a series, put them in some kind of order-- alphabetical would be a nice option.

  • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:13PM (#30760316) Journal

    This is like the open source proponents who mentioned Ogg Vorbis a few years ago as a solution to DRM, and it's clear now that DRM-free watermarked MP3 is the winner in the marketplace today.

    Missing the point. Vorbis is not, and never was, about DRM. It's about having a patent-free codec. It's about having a format that works out of the box on something like Ubuntu, legally, anywhere in the world.

    Contrast with MP3 -- it's actually very likely not legal to include mp3 support in open source software at all, at least if you're going to keep it free (as in beer).

    The only technical reason to prefer MP3 to Vorbis is device support. The way to improve device support is to raise awareness about these issues and get people to actually use Vorbis.

    Even worse, it's the same people behind it...


    that's still under debate.

    Actually, the debate is pretty much over. HTML5's <video> tag specifies codec and format precisely as much as HTML4's <img> tag specifies image format -- that is, not at all.

    HTML5 doesn't solve Google's problems with YouTube.

    Which problems would those be?

    Using HTML5 without calling for a codec is like an incomplete function call.

    Wow, even worse than BadAnalogyGuy. Really?

    You need to say which codec you want YouTube to use,

    No, I really don't.

    I mean, yes, it might help to do so -- but that's unlikely to get anywhere. There currently isn't a free video codec that matches the proprietary ones, technologically, and even if there was, it seems incredibly unlikely that YouTube would go to the trouble of transcoding all of their video -- again.

    If YouTube were to implement HTML5 support with, say, h.264 in an mp4 container, they'd have to do no transcoding, probably not even re-encapsulating. It would Just Work on Chrome and Safari, and there's no technological reason it couldn't work on Firefox -- only political assholes who refuse to implement such support, even in countries which don't respect software patents. If IE ever decides to support HTML5 at all, I very much doubt that Microsoft doesn't have h.264 licenses. Only Opera really has an excuse here.

    Now, technically, if they went with Theora, it could be supported everywhere -- every browser which supports HTML5 supports Theora out of the box, except Safari, and it's trivial to install a QuickTime plugin. But the question then becomes whether it's worth it for Google to do HTML5 at all, if they have to transcode everything to get the best browser coverage.

    we could just see HTML5 + Flash on YouTube while other sites use other codecs....and not make much of a change.

    Surely you're joking.

    There may be legal hurdles, but any browser that wants to could simply hook into a third-party codec library. On Windows, that's DirectShow. On OS X, it's QuickTime. On Linux, it's GStreamer, Xine, or ffmpeg. All of these support every codec that's even being considered for HTML5, and many more.

    It would basically make it as easy to embed videos as it currently is to embed images. After all, <img> doesn't specify a format -- why aren't you waging a "codec war" about image formats?

    It would also get us the ability to use purely open source software for our web browsing again, or at least for our YouTube -- no need for Flash. It'd also give us the ability to right-click and do something like "save video as", or click+drag a video to our desktop, or email. It'd also greatly simplify anything else which just wants the video -- for example, any sort of set-top box, etc, now only needs a web browser, or even just something that can scrape the YouTube HTML, instead of a web browser and a Flash port.

    Do you honestly believe that HTML5, even without specifying a codec, would change nothing? Do I have to explicitly

  • by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) * on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:15PM (#30760340) Journal

    I loathe it with all my being, please for the love of god do this, somehow!

  • Likely to be x264 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nemesisrocks ( 1464705 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:28PM (#30760414) Homepage

    Youtube has a large (and ever-increasing) following on mobile devices -- iPhone, Symbian, etc. These low-powered devices are generally able to play video using hardware acceleration.

    One guess as to which codec is likely to have more widespread hardware acceleration.... Youtube is unlikely to alienate mobile users by picking Ogg Vorbis.

    On the up-side; since Internet Explorer is unlikely in the near future to support HTML5 (let alone <video>), I predict that if Youtube does go the HTML5 path, there will still be a Flash fallback.

  • I'm curious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Whuffo ( 1043790 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:31PM (#30760448) Homepage Journal
    How many of you logged in and voted? Out of those, how many looked at the address bar to determine if you were on a Google site?
  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:31PM (#30760450)

    You get the point. Flash is a patent-encumbered format that is slowing down the growth of YouTube... new players are coming out that don't want to implement flash such as TiVo and iPhone, so YouTube has got to re-encode videos to play on this, and that's a mess they'd rather have a better solution to.

    So, really it's a codec war. If there's something more universally accepted than flash... please stand up.

  • I have an idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ClosedSource ( 238333 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:37PM (#30760492)

    What about improved content? Junk is still junk even if delivered via open standards.

  • by freaker_TuC ( 7632 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:43PM (#30760542) Homepage Journal

    It's their job to get all content online ; It's your job to filter through all the junk ... .. Not theirs .. We don't need a Youtube quality police; just like we don't need any fashion police.

  • by gig ( 78408 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:48PM (#30760562)

    Google already said that they can't do YouTube in Ogg because the Internet does not have enough bandwidth. The back end of YouTube is MPEG-4 H.264. No matter what format you upload your video in, it's converted to H.264 and that is the primary copy. The upcoming YouTube redesign has also been revealed to be essentially porting the mobile version of YouTube to the desktop. That means HTML5 and MPEG-4, which is what mobiles all use.

    An ISO MPEG-4 audio video player is already built into EVERYTHING, there is no opportunity to change it now. Blu-Ray, set-top boxes, smartphones, iPod and other media players, GPU's, Adobe Flash, Apple QuickTime, iTunes, game consoles, Safari, and Chrome all have H.264. If you don't publish MPEG-4, you might as well send your video encrypted with AES-256 and don't send the key. Nobody can play it if it's not MPEG-4. Ogg is a hobbyist format, suitable for ripping your CD/DVD onto a Linux box and watching them yourself, not suitable for sharing. Sharing requires that you use the community codec, which is what MPEG is all about for 20 years now.

    Also, aside from the players, there is the whole professional toolchain of cameras, recorders, editing suites, encoders, servers. All of it is MPEG-4 because it's the standardization of QuickTime and that was already built into all the tools. Tools that supported proprietary QuickTime were upgraded fairly easily and quickly to support open ISO MPEG-4. Audio video is bigger than the Web. Audio video standardization is more successful than Web standardization. The idea that the W3C is going to tell Pixar and Dolby and such how to make audio video is insane. Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, not the entire world.

    And if we want to close one eye to professional content producers, we can open the other to amateurs who have, for example, a Flip camcorder that creates MPEG-4 H.264, or an iPhone camcorder that creates MPEG-4 H.264 and emails clips right from the iPhone. Users are not going to do a round trip through a PC so they can convert that MPEG-4 to Ogg before they share it. Especially not when all their video players have H.264 in their hardware already. That is why an iPod can play more hours of MPEG-4 H.264 than many laptops: the iPod has an "MPEG-4 CPU" so to speak, a dedicated chip that decodes the video with maximum efficiency. It doesn't have a big general purpose CPU like a PC. Multiple codecs is an AUTHORING side thing, not a consumer side thing. You use various codecs on a workstation to get your editing done, you don't demand that the consumer have a dozen codecs in their video player, it's not practical. The community agrees on one consumer codec and we all use it, just like CD/DVD, and everybody wins. Not the Linux community, the free software community, or the Web community ... the audio video community: MPEG.

    This whole debate happened 10 years ago already. You're way too late to change the consumer audio video standard to something other than MPEG-4 H.264/AAC. And you certainly can't change it to something that isn't at least technically superior. Consider that Adobe Flash was the de facto HTML4 video player that is being replaced by the audio and video tags and associated JavaScript API's in HTML5. The video codec in Flash is ISO MPEG-4 H.264/AAC for some years now. The Web is already an ISO MPEG-4 player in HTML4. It will continue to be in HTML5 because that's the format all the video is stored in. Including YouTube, iTunes, Blu-Ray, and all the movies people are shooting with their camcorders.

    In short, Ogg is out for technical reasons: it requires too much bandwidth, it doesn't exist in the players, it doesn't exist in the cameras, it doesn't exist in the editing tools, it is not in the game at all.

  • by MadUndergrad ( 950779 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:50PM (#30760578)

    Adobe Flash is a Youtube issue.

  • DMCA Reform (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarkHelmet ( 120004 ) <mark@seventhc[ ] ['ycl' in gap]> on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:51PM (#30760582) Homepage

    How about calling for reform of the DMCA system on YouTube?

    Currently, it's possible for a content creator to have his or her video taken down for copyright infringement from what is functionally an anonymous party. While YouTube's DMCA claim form DOES ask for name, phone number and address, none of these items are verified before YouTube goes ahead and takes these videos down.

    Because of this, there's a lot of False DMCA action on the site from people who are only interested in suppressing others viewpoints.

    Since people on slashdot for the most part care about Freedom of Speech, I urge you all to upvote the DMCA reform issue on there.

    Thank you.

  • by DJLuc1d ( 1010987 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:51PM (#30760584)
    Don't forget how out of hand the DMCA notices have gotten. Videos that are clearly fair-use are have their entire audio tracks wiped out, even when audio is a major component of the video.
  • by Nimey ( 114278 ) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @12:09AM (#30760692) Homepage Journal

    Youtube is a byword for horrifyingly stupid and banal comments. The best Youtube comments still make Slashdot seem like a collection of Nobel prizewinners.

  • by Urza9814 ( 883915 ) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @12:16AM (#30760738)

    Half of your argument is that things are recorded in MPEG-4 and people aren't going to convert before uploading. But that doesn't matter. Youtube _already_ converts your video when you upload if it's in the wrong format. Hell even if it's in the right format I think they still convert it to make sure it's the right size and bitrate and such. So why does it matter if they're converting MPEG-4 into MPEG-4 or MPEG-4 into Ogg?

  • by ClosedSource ( 238333 ) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @12:35AM (#30760854)

    "It's your job to filter through all the junk"

    From a business perspective, we are youtube's "product". If that product isn't delivered to advertisers, it will fail. So yes, to be successful for Google, it's their job to deliver the content we want.

  • There currently isn't a free video codec that matches the proprietary ones, technologically

    Sure, Theora is no H.264, but it handily beats the H.263 that YouTube currently uses for downlevel Flash Players and comes close to MPEG-4 ASP (e.g. DivX, Xvid).

    there's no technological reason it couldn't work on Firefox -- only political assholes who refuse to implement such support

    You appear to have just called the members of MPEG-LA "political assholes".

    even in countries which don't respect software patents.

    How much would it cost to move Mozilla Corporation and Mozilla Foundation out of the United States?

  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Thursday January 14, 2010 @12:45AM (#30760902)
    The resulting file size. YouTube already helped spark Internet speed increases because we were "clogging the tubes" with MPEG-4 video implemented in Flash. Ogg's file size is larger, so it requires more bandwidth. Do you want more usage caps?
  • The homepage. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Akira Kogami ( 1566305 ) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @12:59AM (#30760964)
    How about they fix the bloated, slow-to-load homepage and replace it with something clean and simple like the Google homepage?
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {}> on Thursday January 14, 2010 @01:10AM (#30761002) Homepage Journal

    If it's a series, it should be uploaded in order.

    That's not always possible, especially in the case of videos that get replaced with a newer video containing revisions.

  • by ianare ( 1132971 ) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @02:05AM (#30761304)

    What do you mean? I'm watching youtube on my open source OS right now.

  • by Shimmer ( 3036 ) <> on Thursday January 14, 2010 @02:10AM (#30761338) Homepage Journal

    Using HTML5 without calling for a codec is like an incomplete function call.

    That doesn't make any sense to me. The <IMG> tag doesn't specify a particular format (JPEG, GIF, PNG, etc.). Why should the <VIDEO> tag specify a format?

  • by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @02:34AM (#30761454)
    "Done?" I don't think you understand this "technology" thing.
  • by Mr_Plattz ( 1589701 ) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @02:42AM (#30761470)

    After going to vote, it's extremely obvious that slashdot crowd has taken reign over this voting page.

    Can you PLEASE STOP posting specific highly technical changes that the average user will not understand.

    Sure, blabber on about H.6969 decoding formats while you're in your basement with your friends. BUT LISTEN PEOPLE. If you want Google and Youtube to change, and change for the good of the Open Source and Freedom of speed world, lets keep our suggestion to "Use HTML5 for video, not flash". or something similar. The next "please use \this\ codec" I'm going to vote no.

    All I want is to be able to download a free and open source Linux distribution, Install it and watch a video on Youtube. Couldn't care less if it's HTML412.80211g or H.2342333(revision9).

  • by tsj5j ( 1159013 ) on Thursday January 14, 2010 @04:26AM (#30761866)
    The above author clearly did not read the post fully, for it's clearly not "half-his-argument". The main argument is that Youtube probably can't/won't convert their existing video collection, which is likely t be huge. The second argument is that many viewing devices only support H264. The third argument is that OGG uses more space and hence bandwidth, increasing pressure on ISPs and depleting your bandwidth cap faster. The fourth argument is that it's already a standard adopted by many commercial devices, with shooting devices being one of them. Well, sure, YouTube can convert them all, but isn't that a huge waste of CPU cycles on their part? No point insisting on a format that cannot deliver in performance, compatibility and popularity.

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