[UPDATE 12/4/08: YouTube has now enabled Widescreen embeds.]
YouTube has officially switched from the default 4:3 ratio to a 16:9 ratio for videos playing on their website. This is definitely great for future web video content. Now there’s a reason to upload videos in 16:9 ratio. Obviously there’s a difference between 16:9 and true high definition, but YouTube is taking it one step at a time.
In the past, YouTube’s user generated videos and professionally produced videos looked practically identical. We’re finally getting to the point where we may see a rift occur between these user generated content and professional content. When YouTube began, it didn’t matter what quality you uploaded the video at because it looked like crap. Earlier in the year, YouTube enabled high quality video streams and now that it has defaulted to a widescreen display, there is a reason for content producers to actually care about the visual quality of their footage!
This will only help the internet web video industry as a whole. If there has been one reason why advertisers have been hesitant to step into the web video market, it has been because a lot of web video shows don’t look and feel like a traditional TV show. By having YouTube, the king website for web videos, shift their focus from low resolution videos to high resolution videos, the web video industry will grow and evolve.
This is a big day for not only web video content producers, but consumers as well. We’re finally getting to the point where quality matters.