360-degree video livestreaming

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360-degree video livestreaming has now come to YouTube. It was always likely that Google’s YouTube will not sit by idly and watch its rivals in the online video stream upgrade their video products. Of course, YouTube would not directly admit it is responding to what Periscope, Instagram and Facebook Live have recently done to online video streaming.

360-degree video livestreaming

YouTube as a the leading and global giant in online videos decided to do theirs a little differently by offering support to 360-degree video livestreaming. It is all about the technology because this is not just your everyday video streams. To create something like YouTube’s 360-degree video, you need a camera that simultaneously captures all parts of a scene. Like a double bird’s eye-view. The main advantage is that viewers can manipulate and rotate the video to watch from any angle. And just like Instagram did when it added a new feature in Explore, Coachella music festival will be the first to try out this new addition to YouTube.

YouTube’s chief product officer, Neal Mohan, went down memory lane while announcing the advent of YouTube’s 360-degree video livestreaming:

”Growing up as a kid, my favorite basketball player was Magic Johnson. I wanted nothing more than to be able to watch him play in person, but unfortunately I never got the chance. Whether it’s a sporting event or a concert or even a family gathering, all of us have had the feeling of wanting to be somewhere we couldn’t. But these days, virtual reality and 360-degree video can help get you one step closer to actually being at those places and in those moments. Today, we’re taking immersive video even further with 360-degree live streaming on YouTube.”

YouTube’s 360-degree video was launched in 2015. What is different this time around is the live streaming support added to the feature.

That is not all though, spatial audio for on-demand videos for Androids was also launched. This means viewers, for the first time ever, would be able hear audio in YouTube’s 360-degree video livestreaming. Though the sound one hears depends on the viewing angle. Hear Mr Mohan explaining this feature:

“Starting today, we’re also launching spatial audio for on-demand YouTube videos. Just as watching a concert in 360 degrees can give you an unmatched immersive experience, spatial audio allows you to listen along as you do in real life, where depth, distance and intensity all play a role.”

And if you want to get a feel of how the spatial audio works, you can get the playlists, specially created to showcase it in YouTube’s 360-degree video, here. However spatial audios can only be experienced in on-demand videos. So no audio would be available while watching live Coachella performances through YouTube’s 360-degree video livestreaming .

360-degree video livestreaming

To take advantage of YouTube’s 360-degree video livestreaming is not that straightforward though. Video creators need to buy some hardware, mostly camera that can be integrated to YouTube. So this is not just a case of using your Android phone to create 360-degree videos. Some of these cameras cost as much as $500 or more. But cameras like the Ricoh Theta at about $350 can also be effective in creating simple 360-degree videos.

Expect YouTube’s 360-degree video livestreaming to feature prominently at next month’s Google’s annual I/O conference. Also at the conference Google would likely announce a VR gadget for android devices. The Samsung Gear VR should brace up for the arrival of Google’s VR as the competition in virtual reality gadget hots up.


photo credits: shiftvr.com; googleblog.com