Dear Interweb: Watching YouTube in H.264 *without* paying the Apple Tax?

Dear Interweb,

I’ve heard this great news [apple.com] that Google is transcoding its videos to high-quality MP4 format for AppleTV and iPhone users. To my surprise (and disappointment), however, there are no instructions on how to use it from non-Apple devices (or even a non-appliance Mac).

I have been to YouTube Mobile, and as reported by jukkaeklund [allaboutsymbian.com] the video available to other mobile users (or PC users who use the URL) are still H.263, though in a saner container than those horrible FLVs. Not all the videos are there too.

Is Google giving Apple preferential treatment? Is Google becoming like the IBM of the past, with balkanized teams not coordinating with each other? (Hope not). Funny thing is, the video that motivated this question was a Linus Torvalds tech talk at Google, on distributed SCM. Unlike earlier Tech Talk videos hosted on Google Video, this one is on YouTube only — meaning no decent-quality downloads!

I can imagine even ordinary Mac users (as opposed to those on the consumer appliances) getting disappointed at this. They have paid the Apple Tax already, after all.

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