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28 May 2011, 17:46

YouTube 3D videos to be transcoded to WebM format

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YouTube, in conjunction with Nvidia and Mozilla, has announced that YouTube 3D videos will be available to view in the HTML5 player using the WebM video codec. Users will need Firefox 4 running on hardware with NVIDIA 3DVision support and appropriate drivers and active shutter glasses; it can also be displayed over HDMI 1.4 to 3D TVs when using NVIDIA's 3DTV Play software. Currently, Firefox 4 is the only browser to support the relevant hardware and encoding, although the YouTube 3D Team has mentioned that work is in progress on Chrome support.

According to a blog posting from NVIDIA and the WebM developers, 3D videos require that a "StereoMode" flag is set in the WebM container to a value higher than 0 (Mono). Only side-by-side and top-bottom 3D, either with left eye or right eye priority, is supported. This is a subset of the modes supported by the Matroska container on which the WebM container is based. At encoding time, the flag can be set using the --stereo-mode parameter of the sample VP8 encoder or through FFMpeg's parameters.

There are already several thousand 3D videos on YouTube, currently using the Flash Player to display 3D content using either vertical or horizontal methods of interlacing and a variety of glasses for viewing. All of these videos will, in future, also be transcoded and be displayable in the WebM format and the HTML5 player.

Examples of some of the more notable YouTube 3D videos have been hosted by NVIDIA on 3DVisionLive. The system warns you if your hardware and software do not meet the necessary specifications. Further information on how to use this technology is available online for both web developers and users. The latter link provides a check for both browser and hardware compatibility.


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