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Safari Users Unable to Play Newer 4K Video on YouTube in Native Resolution

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Reddit users have recently discovered that YouTube refuses to stream newly uploaded 4K video in its native resolution if the website is accessed through Safari web browser.

The issue was first raised almost a month ago by Reddit user GezimS, who wondered why the option to view 4K videos in 2160p was no longer available.


Other users soon chimed in to confirm the anomaly, noting that it only seemed to occur in recently uploaded 4K video and that accessing the same content in Chrome or Firefox still offered up the preferred 2160p resolution as a viewing option.

After some digging, user themcfly recently discovered that the issue is being caused by a change to the way YouTube encodes video and serves it through its website.

Specifically, YouTube appears to be storing video on its servers using either the more efficient VP9 codec or the older H.264 codec. Safari only supports the latter, which explains why recently uploaded 4K videos are only able to be viewed in up to 1440p.

Funnily enough, the same videos can be streamed by Safari in native 4K as long as they're embedded in another website, suggesting that the VP9 codec support requirement only applies to videos viewed directly on YouTube's website.

Until Apple updates Safari to support the VP9 codec, Mac users who want to access newer 4K video on YouTube in native 2160p resolution are advised to use a different browser.

Article Link: Safari Users Unable to Play Newer 4K Video on YouTube in Native Resolution
 

iamMacPerson

macrumors 68030
Jun 12, 2011
2,855
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*Article regarding macOS Safari*
*Posted on iOS Blog*

Anyway, it's getting hard to use Safari if Apple doesn't start supporting these newer formats. I understand the battery concerns, but it only needs to be enabled when a user wants to watch a video in 4K if done right. Although that might be a little bit more coding needed on YouTube's end instead of Apple's.

Still better then Chrome for battery efficiency.
 
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iMacDragon

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Oct 18, 2008
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Only things I normally use chrome for currently are anything needing flash ( I've refused to install flash plugin into safari since sierra upgrade )
 
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dumastudetto

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2013
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Safari is still the world's best browser. Safari alone is one of the best reasons you can have for choosing to use macOS and iOS.

Nothing compares to Safari when it comes to buttery smooth browsing experiences, world class security, privacy built-in, and obsessive attention to detail that delivers all of us a completely delightful experience every time.
 
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dannys1

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Sep 19, 2007
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V9 is a horrible codec though, I hope Apple don't put it into Safari, and nor Firefox follow suit to prevent this adoption - they should be using the far better H.265, not only is it better quality but it's set to be the industry standard - the iPhone has already decoded it for two generations, many video cards enable efficient processing for it - V9 has none of this, there is no hardware decoding for what is (even if it had it) a worse codec.
 
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AppleWarrior

macrumors member
Sep 9, 2016
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Safari is still the world's best browser. Safari alone is one of the best reasons you can have for choosing to use macOS and iOS.

Nothing compares to Safari when it comes to buttery smooth browsing experiences, world class security, privacy built-in, and obsessive attention to detail that delivers all of us a completely delightful experience every time.

Seriously? I love the look of Safari, no doubt. And it is a good browser, but this adoration is unfounded. Safari stops working a lot. If you go to a website it will get stuck on its way there, and you have to shut the browser down and restart for it to operate normally again. And, if you had other tabs open that you navigated to throughout various searches, you lose them and have to find them again. This is extremely frustrating. Other browsers do not do this to me. So, I wouldn't call Safari a delightful experience every time, and that nothing compares to it.
 
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BornAgainMac

macrumors 604
Feb 4, 2004
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V9 is a horrible codec though, I hope Apple don't put it into Safari, and nor Firefox follow suit to prevent this adoption - they should be using the far better H.265, not only is it better quality but it's set to be the industry standard - the iPhone has already decoded it for two generations, many video cards enable efficient processing for it - V9 has none of this, there is no hardware decoding for what is (even if it had it) a worse codec.

That might explain the battery issue.
 
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d5aqoëp

macrumors 65816
Feb 9, 2016
1,119
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High time Apple leaves antiquated h264 codec behind and move along with times by adopting h265 and vp9
[doublepost=1484312528][/doublepost]High time Apple leaves antiquated h264 codec behind and move along with times by adopting h265 and vp9
 
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dumastudetto

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2013
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4,449
Seriously? I love the look of Safari, no doubt. And it is a good browser, but this adoration is unfounded. Safari stops working a lot. If you go to a website it will get stuck on its way there, and you have to shut the browser down and restart for it to operate normally again. And, if you had other tabs open that you navigated to throughout various searches, you lose them and have to find them again. This is extremely frustrating. Other browsers do not do this to me. So, I wouldn't call Safari a delightful experience every time, and that nothing compares to it.

I've literally never experienced what you describe once in Safari - like ever. Maybe you are using some extensions or allowing Adobe Flash to run?
 
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critter13

macrumors 6502
Aug 23, 2010
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V9 is a horrible codec though, I hope Apple don't put it into Safari, and nor Firefox follow suit to prevent this adoption - they should be using the far better H.265, not only is it better quality but it's set to be the industry standard - the iPhone has already decoded it for two generations, many video cards enable efficient processing for it - V9 has none of this, there is no hardware decoding for what is (even if it had it) a worse codec.
New Kaby Lake processors have hardware decoding for VP9, calm down
 
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hvfsl

macrumors 68000
Jul 9, 2001
1,838
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London, UK
I did a quick search on VP9 and found this on wiki:
Parts of the format are covered by patents held by Google. The company grants free usage of its own related patents based on reciprocity, i.e. as long as the user doesn't engage in patent litigations.[5]

I wonder if that means Apple can't use the codec while suing Samsung etc.
 
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Konstruktor

macrumors newbie
Dec 11, 2012
17
16
Rotterdam, NL
Same for 5k content, but this is a video from 2014 though..
I can't get it to work on a 2016 mbp in Safari, but I can in Chrome:
 

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wilsonlaidlaw

macrumors 6502
Oct 29, 2008
430
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I have found in a similar issue, that Amazon Prime will not play original video content such as Grand Tour or movies in Safari, with an HDCP error. The identical content plays with no problems in Chrome. This applies to my 2011 Mac Mini, connected to a full HD TV or a 4K TV. This shows it must be a Safari problem. This has been the case for around 12 months now, so about time Apple fixed it.
 
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dannys1

macrumors 68030
Sep 19, 2007
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New Kaby Lake processors have hardware decoding for VP9, calm down

Oh great - so Mac users will be able to natively decode a proprietary format Google is pushing now possibly by November at which point every other Mac sold to date can't without significant battery drain.
[doublepost=1484314110][/doublepost]
High time Apple leaves antiquated h264 codec behind and move along with times by adopting h265 and vp9
[doublepost=1484312528][/doublepost]High time Apple leaves antiquated h264 codec behind and move along with times by adopting h265 and vp9

Apple adopted the far superior and non proprietary H265 years ago. It's had iPhone support since the 6s.
 
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Cineplex

macrumors 6502a
Jan 1, 2016
743
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I've literally never experienced what you describe once in Safari - like ever. Maybe you are using some extensions or allowing Adobe Flash to run?
I've been there, with a vanilla install. It also sucks managing memory for large amounts of tabs and windows open.

It is a good browser....but I find Microsoft Edge to be just as good, if not better in some areas as Safari is on the Mac. Lack of codec support in 2017 is just ridiculous.

I wonder how long it will be until Apple gets bored with it? They are forced to keep it going due to its heavy intergration I would guess.
 
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