YouTube Reportedly Exploring Streaming of Immersive 360-Degree Video

By Jaikumar Vijayan  |  Posted 2016-02-03 Print this article Print
YouTube Video

The move would build on the Google-owned video sharing site's existing support for 360-degree video.

YouTube is reportedly planning to enable live streaming of 360-degree videos on its platform.

The video-sharing Website is in talks with manufacturers of 360-degree cameras to find out how to bring fully-immersive live broadcasts to YouTube, according to a BuzzFeed News report this week.

BuzzFeed said its report is based on information from sources close to YouTube's plans. No timeline is currently available for when YouTube will enable this capability, BuzzFeed said.

Google, which owns YouTube, did not respond immediately to a request for information on its reported plans. So it was not possible to confirm whether the Website actually plans to deliver live immersive video.

If it does, the move will build on YouTube’s existing support for 360-degree videos.

Immersive videos are basically seamless composites of video recorded from all 360 degrees of a particular scene using a specialized camera system. Users can watch the spherical images generated by these cameras on mobile devices or desktop systems. The main appeal of such videos is that they allow the viewer to pan 360-degrees and tilt up or down to get the same views of a scene that they would have if they were actually physically present at a location.

In March 2015, YouTube announced support for 360-degree video uploads. At that time, YouTube had noted that it was working with several camera manufacturers across the industry to enable easier uploads of immersive video on its platform.

Among the 360-degree cameras that it identified at that time as being compatible with the YouTube platform were Ricoh's Theta, Giroptic's 360cam, Kodak's SP360 and Bublcam. YouTube had said it would work with other manufacturers as well to broaden the number of 360-degree cameras that work with YouTube.

"You could let viewers see the stage and the crowd of your concert, the sky and the ground as you wing suit glide, or you could even have a choose-your-own-adventure video where people see a different story depending on where they look," Google product manager Sanjeev Verma had said while announcing support for the video format last March.

In order to load an immersive video file to YouTube, users have to first download a video metadata app, then save their file as a 'Spherical' file and upload it to the Website. The app is available for Windows and Mac systems. YouTube has said that it eventually plans to eliminate the need for users to run the script before uploading their videos to the Website.

Facebook offers similar support for 360-degree videos. The social media site says that it can add 360-degree metadata automatically to immersive video shot using Ricoh's Theta, Giroptic 360cam and a couple of other models. 360-degree video shot using cameras that add the metadata automatically can be uploaded to Facebook like any other video. Unlike YouTube, Facebook does not require users to download any app first.

Several companies currently offer or are exploring 360-degree live video content creation and broadcasting services. One example is NextVR, which claims its technology is capable of transmitting high-definition immersive video both live and on-demand over the Internet.


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