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YouTube adds support for 4K and 360-degree live-streaming

01 Dec 2016 | Rasmus Larsen |

6 years ago, YouTube took the first step to support streaming in 4K quality. Starting today, you can experience live-streaming in up to 4K and 306-degree quality. The company wants to showcase the technology by live-streaming the Game Awards 2016.

Live from the Game Awards 2016

If you want, you can set up a small studio at home or in your backyard and beam out a signal in higher video quality than almost any broadcast TV station can offer. That says something about how far YouTube – and streaming technology in general – has come.

- ”Today, we’re proud to say that we’re taking 4K video one step further with the launch of 4K live streaming for both 360-degree videos and standard videos,” said Kurt Wilms, Senior Product Manager, YouTube.

The company wants to showcase the new technology and invites you to join the live-stream of the Game Awards 2016 later today. Five games are nominated for the "Game of the Year" award: INSIDE, Uncharted 4, Titanfall 2, Overwatch, and Doom. INSIDE was created by Playdead, an independent game studio with a far lower budget than any of the big boys. INSIDE is also nominated for "Best Narrative", "Best Art Direction", "Best Music/Sound Design", and "Best Independent Game".

The Game Awards 2016 can be live-streaming in 4K and 360-degree quality. The latter makes it possible to aim the camera angle in any direction you prefer. It is not true virtual reality with 3D depth but a step in that direction.

Game Awards


Concerts, events, and more

The company sees the new technology as ideal for live-streaming concerts and events but you can also “broadcast yourself”.

Up to 2-3 times higher bitrate than Netflix’s UHD
- “Basically, 4K makes everything better to look at. And because we support 4K at up to 60 frames per second, creators can make content that looks silky smooth, and more realistic than ever before,” the company added

4K live-streaming on YouTube can be transmitted with a bitrate of up to 51 Mb/s, which is 2-3 times higher than Netflix’s UHD bitrate.

Also read: YouTube adds support for HDR video streaming

You can experience the 4K streaming on a PC/Mac or on an Ultra HD TV that supports Google’s VP9 compression format. This typically means a 2015 or 2016 UHD Smart TV or a streaming device such as Nvidia Shield or Chromecast Ultra.

- Source: YouTube



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