Yoga 3 Pro: HD&4K video problem persists
In my Yoga 3 Pro review I talked about a problem of watching HD and 4K videos on the Yoga 3 Pro with Chrome. Chrome wants to use the VP9/WebM codec by default, which is not hardware accelerated on the Yoga 3 Pro. Result: if you watch videos on the Yoga 3 Pro with Google Chrome, you will not be satisfied with video dropping frames and picture jumping. Here is a little update on the situation.
The short version
You should still use IE to watch high def and 4K videos on the Yoga 3 Pro.
If you really want to use Chrome, install h264ify (see below). If you use another computer and use Chrome to watch videos, consider installing h264ify as well (also, see below).
The long version
A new plugin offers a slight improvement, but the issue remains.
A little plugin called h264ify (from the Chrome Web Store) offers a partial solution. When you install this plugin from the Chrome Web Store, it will force YouTube videos to play using the H.264 codec and not VP9. Unfortunately, this will not make them hardware accelerated (why oh why??), but offers a performance increase. This might just make HD videos barely watchable on the Yoga 3 Pro, but 4K videos remain very unwatchable.
Subjective measuring using YouTube statistics:
4K video playback, 600 frames, Yoga 3 Pro, Internet Explorer: 0 dropped frames
4K video playback, 600 frames, Yoga 3 Pro, Google Chrome: 300 dropped frames
4K video playback, 600 frames, Yoga 3 Pro, Google Chrome + h264ify: 200 dropped frames
Google still did not fix this issue. As it affects only their browser, this is not the hardware that is at fault. IE offers the best video playback experience on the Yoga 3 Pro.
The issue was raised here but so far no solution was proposed, and the issue was even closed! Yet, it is not solved.
It really angers me that this could have gotten this far.
I tested the same thing on my ThinkPad as well. The VP9 video here drops frames as well and eats the CPU (obviously the problem is not so big because of much stronger CPU), so it is not hardware accelerated either! Using h264ify solves the problem on the ThinkPad, because then the video becomes a hardware accelerated .mp4 video and is very smooth. But this same solution does not work on the Yoga.
I am also baffled that Google would promote their own video format/codec and dropping support for H.264 / mp4 at the cost of user experience! The Don’t be evil slogan for Google now exists only as part of the history books, sadly 🙁
Just a footnote: Firefox is terrible in every way: it software accelerates h264 videos both on the Yoga and the ThinkPad.