YouTube adds 360 capabilities to live video

The streaming giant has also added enhanced spatial audio tech, providing an immersive sound experience that varies by distance and depth.
April 19, 2016

The past year has seen big investments in both live streaming and virtual reality.

Now, YouTube has combined the two. The Google-owned streaming powerhouse has officially enabled 360 video viewing for its live-streamed videos. The update was announced in a blog posted by the company’s chief product officer, Neal Mohan.

To mark the launch, YouTube will live-stream in 360 select artists the second weekend (April 23 and 24) of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Cal.

YouTube first launched support for 360 viewing in March 2015 and has slowly been adding to its 360 capabilities since then. In summer 2015 it announced support for 360 advertisement, and invested in a 360 (as-yet-untitled) unscripted, original series for YouTube Red. The latest step means viewers can watch events in 360 as they unfold live. Videos can be streamed on mobile screens by panning their phones around in all directions, or by inserting their devices in a store-bought or homemade rig (such as Google Cardboard). Viewers can also view the 360 content through desktop by using onscreen controls to pan around the scene.

In addition, YouTube has launched enhanced spatial audio, which enables videos to incorporate 360 immersive sound, where distance, depth and intensity are altered depending on the position of the watcher.

YouTube is currently working with tech companies such as VideoStitch and Two Big Ears to make their software compatible with YouTube’s own 360-degree live streaming. It will also make 360 live-streaming and spatial audio technical tools available at its various YouTube Space locations around the world so creators can tap into the technology.


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