YouTube Adding H.264 Format

    June 8, 2007

While the jury is still out on whether anyone actually needs an Apple TV, the iTunes streaming device is getting a new feature: YouTube. Sometime in the middle of this month, a software update to the device will add wireless YouTube streaming.

While YouTube will be added to the device this month, the entire YouTube catalog will not be available until the fall. Why?

Apparently, Google is re-encoding every single YouTube video into H.264 format, which will allow playback on devices that do not support Flash and Flash Video, like the Apple TV, the iPhone, and many other portable devices. That’s amazing news for everyone, even those who don’t own an Apple TV, because it should mean the ability to download YouTube videos, probably in higher quality, and without any sort of hack. It’s a big move for YouTube, and I can’t wait to see the transition.

When I upload videos, I put them on YouTube and Google Video, and the only reason I use Google Video is that you can download videos from there. Uploading to Google Video can sometimes fail for no reason, so it’d be great to upload to YouTube and be done with it. Hopefully we’ll know more about this next week.

Also, YouTube signed a deal with EMI for allowing their music on YouTube, giving them all four major record labels. Now you can upload music and music videos without worrying much about it.

And RealPlayer is adding a feature that allows you to download YouTube videos, save them, burn them, watch them offline. Seems kind of redundant if the H.264 downloads happen, but we’ll see.