updated 12:15 pm EST, Fri December 5, 2008
YouTube HD Videos
YouTube has quietly started regularly putting up content in HD. Searching for videos marked "HD" turns up content that plays natively at 720p, well above the sub-SD resolution clips that make up most YouTube clips. Many of these are also available in the basic resolution but can be upgraded at the YouTube website with a "watch in HD" link that enables the sharper footage, though embedded clips continue to play at the original resolution.
Most of the initial HD clips are trailers for games and movies, though a handful of more typical clips have also been brought up to the newer standard. To support HD, videos have to have been uploaded in at least 720p themselves, though whether YouTube is automatically posting new videos as HD or selectively enabling them is unclear.
The improved quality follows a quiet move to a default widescreen viewer on YouTube and appears part of a larger move towards commercializing the Google-owned site, most of whose content is dedicated to amateur video. MGM has recently announced plans to offer full-length movies, while the effort is rumored to be part of a larger plan to generate revenue by encouraging viewers to watch ad-sponsored official content. [via TechCrunch]