YouTube turns on WebM transcoding, 30% of video already done

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Once Google bought WebM, it was speculated that YouTube would also switch to the new royalty-free codec. Well, today YouTube has announced that it will now transcode all videos uploaded to its site to WebM, allowing those who watch it on their HTML5 player to watch it natively on Firefox, Opera and (of course) Google Chrome.

Google has also confirmed that it has already transcoded 30 percent of its entire catalogue of video, which represent 99 percent of views on YouTube. And it is working on upgrading all of its videos to the new codec, thanks to its new video-processing infrastructure.

“It works like this: at busy upload times, our processing power is dedicated to new uploads, and at less busy times, our cloud will automatically switch some of our processing to encode older videos into WebM,” Software Engineer, James Zern, wrote in a blog post.

Don’t worry. Unlike Google Chrome, YouTube isn’t ditching the already-used H.264 codec, mainly due to support for the iPhone OS, which will not support WebM due to Appe’s support for the other codec, and in order to be played with its Flash Player (Adobe has confirmed that it will support WebM, but it’s unknown when).

In order to see the video in WebM, then you need to be a member of Google’s opt-in HTML5 Player trial, which can be linked here. Alternatively, just add “&webm=1” to the video’s URL will do the same.