In an effort to solidify its place as a destination for high-quality streaming video, Vimeo has made a serious upgrade to its viewing experience.
The company announced Dec. 3 that its desktop and mobile players will now feature adaptive streaming, making it possible for Vimeo viewers to automatically view content at the highest resolution — 4K — all of the time.
The playback will be optimized to the viewer’s bandwidth and switch automatically between resolutions in order to prevent lag and pauses for buffering.
Andrew Pile, chief technology officer at Vimeo, said the technical details of the upgrade may not be something everyday viewers will appreciate, but once they experience the boosted streaming clarify firsthand, they’ll understand the importance.
Pile said the upgrade is consistent with Vimeo’s overall branding message: “It’s more of a destination for these high-quality experiences, so we’re bringing up the video quality to match.”
The quality provided by 4K is quickly becoming an industry standard — the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus models can shoot in that quality, for instance, and Netflix has also started creating some of its originals in 4K resolution.
However, to date, Vimeo says it is the only VOD platform to bring that quality to its entire content library. Adaptive streaming will roll out immediately beginning Dec. 3 with Vimeo’s most high profile creators, and will be fully implemented by Q1 2016.
The quest for 4K isn’t a competition, Pile said. Rather, it’s a matter of staying current amid rapidly changing tech offerings and viewer expectations.
“When you now have mobile phones that can shoot at 4K, you’ve got great pieces of technology like the new iMac and 4K TV sets, you know it’s going to be a mainstream standard,” he said.
On the creative side of the business, Vimeo has also begun rolling out a new slate of originals. Following the success of the comedy High Maintenance, which was picked up by HBO for a linear series, Vimeo’s first original comedy special, Bianca Del Rio’s Rolodex of Hate (pictured) debuted on the platform Dec. 2. More originals from Vimeo creators Aidy Bryant and Adam Goldman are set to roll out in 2016.