YouTube now lets you watch 360 videos live

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Almost a year back in March 2015, YouTube announced that it would support 360-degree virtual reality videos. A year later, such videos still amaze us, especially when viewed with a VR helmet like Google Cardboard.  Today, it’s taking these videos a step further. Today, YouTube has announced that it will offer 360-degree support for live-streaming videos. As Neal Mohan, Chief Product Officer at YouTube describes, “It lets us open up the world’s experiences to everyone”

Neal Mohan, Cheif Product Officer at YouTube (Image credits: The Verge)
Neal Mohan, Cheif Product Officer at YouTube (Image credits: The Verge)

This would allow you to experience a concert without actually being at the venue. This would allow you to watch cricket matches at home and feel like you’re at the stadium. You can go on live tours and see the wonders of the world while you’re still at home. The possibilities for 360-degree storytelling is now practically limitless.

So how do these live virtual reality videos work? According to The Verge, the answer to that is a lot of technical magic. YouTube has been working with many partners across the industry, to create this magic. Today, YouTube announced that it would be increasing the resolutions and frame rates creators can send. With these new changes, creators can now use 1440p videos at 60 frames per second. Additionally, YouTube is also launching support for DASH and VP9 injection. With these technologies, broadcasters only need to send half the amount of data (bits) to stream a high-quality video live.

For creators, YouTube will initially let you create 360-degree live VR videos with cameras like the $350 Ricoh Theta, the $500 ALLie, and the $1,800 Orah 4i. YouTube is also releasing an API so any hardware manufacturer can add Live 360 support into their products. Additionally, the camera’s it is supporting are all significantly cheaper compared to Facebook’s VR camera that was unveiled at the F8 conference last week. By having so many options and all of them being significantly cheaper, YouTube could gain an edge over Facebook when it comes to offering 360-degree video experiences.

But what about experiencing 360-degree videos as a viewer? That’s not going to change anytime soon. Just like how you’ve watched the video we included above, the new 360-degree live-streams will be experienced the same way. Though we recommend you get a VR headset. We found Google’s own Cardboard to be a great way to experience VR without breaking the bank.

YouTube has picked an interesting time to announce this new feature. With just a month left until Google’s massive I/O conference, it looks like the reports that Android N will include some massive VR features might be true. Of course, that’s something we’ll know in a month’s time. Whatever comes out of Google I/O, one thing for sure is that this is a sweet new update. Knowing YouTube, we will likely see a few 360-degree live streams in the coming weeks. Hopefully, this year we can enjoy Google I/O in VR. Fingers crossed, for we are all now on the road to Google I/O.

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