YouTube will show off 4K streaming at CES next week, using its own VP9 codec rather than the current H.265 commercial codec that most manufacturers use.
This isn't a bad thing though. VP9 uses about half the data that H.265 needs so you should be able to stream without worry of lag or load times. The issue comes from companies invested in H.265 who don't want a change. But Google has said it may introduce H.265 to You Tube at a later date anyway.
Google tried to launch VP8, an earlier version of this codec, last year to no avail. But this year when it shows off the latest version it will have many other companies behind it. LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, Sharp and Toshiba, among others, and even chipset developers like ARM, Intel and Broadcom are supporting the new codec. So things are looking good for VP9 this time around.
Francisco Varela, global director of platform partnerships at YouTube, explained: "This certainly isn't a war of the video codecs." This is simply the first YouTube 4K announcement and may be followed by H.265 support, he said. "By 2015, you'll be surprised every time you see that spinning [loading] wheel."
It might sound a long way off but we may have to wait until 2015 for the hardware that supports VP9 to hit the shelves. By then PCs, mobiles and TVs should be able to decode and play VP9 4K videos. And since that should be around the time 4K prices start to drop, we're prepared for the wait.