In a bid to kickstart Google's new royalty free VP9 video format, YouTube will demonstrate 4K streaming technology at the forthcoming 2014 International CES. The 4K format (also called UltraHD) has four times higher resolution than regular HD (3,840 x 2,160 pixels vs. 1,920 x 1,080 pixels).
The ultra high-definition streaming will be based on VP9, which is a new open source codec developed by Google as an alternative to the H.265 video codec. Presently, H.265 video codec is the core of many other 4K implementation.
VP9 powered 4K display will feature on televisions at the Sony, LG and Panasonic booths at the tech fest.
With its support of higher resolution video at a bit-rate that is not beyond the normal connection, VP9 also requires half of the amount of data needed to stream high definition videos. "By 2015, you'll be surprised every time you see that spinning wheel," said Francisco Varela, global director of platform partnerships at YouTube.
VP9 is Google's second bid to establish an open and royalty-free alternative to commercial video format. Previously in 2010, Google came up with VP8 video codecs but it was not much acknowledged, as hardware partners preferred other established commercial video formats available at that time.
However, this time around, Google has managed to line up firms like ARM, Intel, Broadcom, Samsung, Sharp and Toshiba for VP9's deployment. However, "This certainly isn't a war of the video codecs," Varela said.
YouTube's announcement for 4K support follows after video rental and streaming service Netflix revealed that selected viewers will be able to watch "House of Cards" Season 2 at full 4K resolution when they are available.