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YouTube for Apple TV uses H.264, not Flash


YouTube for Apple TV uses H.264, not Flash
June 2nd, 2007 by stanley:

Earlier this week, Apple announced that videos would become available on the Apple TV after a software update that will be made available in June.

iLounge spoke with Apple’s Vice President of Worldwide Mac Hardware Marketing, David Moody, who provided more details about this upgrade.

According to Moody, not all of the Youtube catalog will be available on day one. Instead, “thousands of videos designed for Apple TV” will be available at launch, but that the remainder will become available by the fall. The reason for the delay is that Youtube will be encoding all of their videos into a “H.264 streaming-efficient compression format” specifically for the Apple TV. All of Youtube’s videos are currently encoded in Flash Video (FLV) format.

While no official reason is given for the mass transcoding of Youtube’s entire catalog, believes it has to do with the iPhone.

As far as I know even now, Flash content per se might not play on the iPhone from day one. But Apple clearly doesn’t – indeed, shouldn’t – care, as YouTube is for many people the most critical site that uses Flash.

Indeed, both the iPod and iPhone can play H.264 encoded video, and so it seems the entire Youtube catalog may also become available to those devices later this year.

In an early iPhone FAQ, Jobs described this exact scenario:
Markoff: “Flash?”
Jobs: “Well, you might see that.”
Markoff: “What about YouTube–”
Jobs: “Yeah, YouTube—of course. But you don’t need to have Flash to show YouTube. All you need to do is deal with YouTube. And plus, we could get ‘em to up their video resolution at the same time, by using h.264 instead of the old codec.”

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4 Responses
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4): gaspah Says
June 5th, 2007 at 2:14 pm :

I know the brilliance of the h264 video codec…. but what’s youtube?

does it run doom?

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H.264 is a pretty nifty codec from what I can tell. Somebody showed me a 720p HDTV movie compressed to single-layer DVD size (~4.3GB). G'damn it looked great! I do wonder if divx/xvid at the same size+resolution would be similar quality, though.

Me too, XviD used at the proper settings is pretty damned impressive.

All this video stuff confuses me, but x264 looks like the codec to use right now (it's an H.264 codec as well).
Doom9's Codec shoot-out 2005 may be of interest if you're looking into video codecs (even though it was posted 18 months ago). Personally I thought the "Ateme" screenshots looked the best overall (I only looked at the Matrix shots). But if Ateme is available to consumers, I cannot figure out how. It seems that it might be included in Nero somehow.


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