YouTube in the living room

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Yesterday Steve Jobs announced that his Apple TV will be updated in June to include YouTube. At first this might not sound too exciting. After all, who is going to watch these mediocre quality home made videos on a large 42″ HiDef LCD television? However, if you look a bit closer, this small update might well be the fist babystep towards something big.

Remember the takeover from YouTube by Google? Remember that Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, is now part of Apple’s board? You might also recall that Google made agreements with broadcasters such as CBS and BBC. Yesterday in the news: YouTube signs deal with EMI (yes, the one from the DRM free music). Also, YouTube (or Apple?) will encode all videos in the superior quality H.264 codec, especially for the Apple TV. Therefore not all videos will be playing on the Apple TV immediately, but Apple promised that in the fall the entire catalogue will be encoded. Question is whether YouTube will now encode in two qualities, or switch entirely to H.264 (hint: the iPhone can play H.264 as well…)

All very obvious signs something interesting is about to happen. Apple with his superior user interface and knowledge about user desires and trends, Google with a truckload of money and power for negotiations and YouTube with the content…

Soon I might follow Paul Colligan’s initiative of the Year of Digital Living.

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