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YouTube to demo 4K video at CES

Google-owned YouTube is to demo 4K streaming at the CES show in Las Vegas next week. 

The video content website will use its new VP9 codec to display the demo content. VP9 is a new royalty-free codec developer by Google as an alternative to H.265 video codec. Most other implementations streaming ultra high-definition content use H.265. 

VP9 uses about half the bandwidth of H.265 so lagging shouldn’t be as much of a problem for users. 

YouTube to demo 4K video at CES
4K Tube: YouTube prepared to crank up the pixel count

This won’t be the first time Google has tried to promote a open-source, royalty-free alternative to licenced codecs. Its VP8 codec was launched in 2010 with the aim of becoming the default format for plugin-free video streaming over the internet. But these plans were foiled by lack of hardware support and companies with investment in commercial formats. 

According to reports by GigaOm, Google has amassed an array of hardware partners this time to launch the codec. YouTube will demo 4K streaming at the booths of LG, Panasonic and Sony. 

The firm has also released a list of 19 hardware partners that will support VP9, such as Samsung, Sharp and Toshiba and chipset vendors ARM, Intel, Broadcom and Marvell. 

Francisco Varela, global director of platform partnerships at YouTube said the launch would not lead to a format war and left open the possibility that YouTube might add H.265 support at some point. 

YouTube’s announcement comes after Netflix said it will allow some viewers to watch the second season of House of Cards at full 4K resolution when the new episodes stream later this year. 

Image: LG

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