vcu google youtube

Google is banking on a new chip to improve YouTube videos

Google has accomplished a small revolution which has nevertheless gone unnoticed. Indeed, the Mountain View giant has developed a transcoding chip that will optimize the playback and loading of videos on YouTube. A project which required years of research and which today is bearing fruit to the delight of fans of podcasts and vlogs.

A revolutionary chip?

The transition to 4K and soon to 8K was a real challenge for Google. As video files were larger, more resources had to be spent to play these videos correctly. If nothing had been done, YouTube users were exposed to some slowness when playing videos on YouTube.

Google engineers have done everything they can to remedy this problem. In particular, they had the idea of ​​implementing a new VCU (VIdeo Coding Unit) at the group’s data centers. It took the team six years to design this little gem of technology. And against all expectations, the results far exceeded their expectations. The new chip is 20 times more efficient with accelerated buffering and also a significant reduction in bandwidth consumption among users.

Concretely, you can now play 8K videos more smoothly. Under optimal conditions, the playback of these sequences should not be interrupted, even if Google’s servers receive a lot of requests. This device will therefore decongest traffic and allow YouTube to satisfy more viewers. Suffice to say that Google now has all the weapons in hand to compete with Twitch.

An engineering feat

The new chip for YouTube has many interesting features. In fact, a prototype was already launched on a large scale a few years ago. This included the VP9 and H.264 codecs to speed up the encoding of ultra-HD videos.

A lire également  CapCut for Animal Lovers: Enhance Adorable Animal Photos

The new VCU has been designed for encoding and simultaneous broadcasting, all in 4K. Although this feature already existed on YouTube, live videos suffered from a latency of a few seconds when the display quality was increased. From now on, videographers no longer have to worry about this detail and viewers will consume less bandwidth.

Still in the same direction, Google engineers have done everything possible to ensure that the new chip supports the AV1 codec. This change made videos play faster by optimizing buffering. Using this codec will also improve the visual quality of the sequences. Currently, only a few data centers have been equipped with a chip of this type. However, it should soon be deployed across the entire network.

Please note that within these data centers, two chips will be mounted on a VCU card. A dedicated encoding unit will have no less than ten cards. At first glance, deploying this technology will cost Google millions of dollars. However, this is not the case! The company was able to divide costs by 3 by opting for its chips rather than other devices of the same type.