YouTube today announced that its platform now supports high dynamic range, or HDR, video. HDR essentially allows screens with the right hardware specifications to display a more accurate and realistic range of whites and blacks, as well as a wider range of colors. Alongside 4K resolution, HDR technology is the other big selling point of new TVs and one of the key benefits touted by Microsoft and Sony for the latest versions of their respective gaming consoles. However, there’s a critical lack of HDR content out there to watch, and a hodgepodge of different hardware and software requirements that make it difficult to know where and how to access those videos.
So now YouTube is trying to urge both creators and viewers to start dabbling in HDR video in a central location, and its best way of doing that is by pushing the world’s largest video platform to adopt the format. YouTube has done the same in the past for 4K content, as well as for 360-degree video and live-streaming. The goal is to keep YouTube at the forefront of streaming and display technology so that it stays competitive against other video options like Netflix and Amazon. YouTube says it’s working with top channels and creators to fill out its HDR catalog in the coming months.
To view any of this content right now, you’ll need a piece of external hardware. That includes Google’s new Chromecast Ultra, as well as a HDR Blu-ray player or the Xbox One S. However, YouTube says Samsung’s 2016 4K TVs will support native HDR video playback from the device’s built-in app some time in the future, meaning you won’t need a separate box hooked up.