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YouTube live streams now support HDR

YouTube live streams now support HDR


It has supported HDR for prerecorded content since 2016

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Starting today, YouTube creators can live-stream their videos in high dynamic range (HDR), the company has announced. The platform has supported HDR in prerecorded content since 2016, but now, live content can also benefit from the technology. YouTube claims it’s “the first major platform to support live HDR.” At launch it supports the HDR10 and HLG standards, and YouTube says it hopes to expand this offering in the future.

HDR is a technology that lets videos show a wider range of colors and brightness. Blacks can be darker and whites can be brighter, revealing more detail in the shadows and highlights of an image, respectively. The result is that images appear much more punchy and vibrant leading some to argue that the jump from SDR (standard dynamic range) to HDR offers a bigger benefit than the jump from 1080p to 4K. YouTube added support for 4K live-streaming back in 2016.

In order to benefit from the new technology, creators will need to use one of the supported encoders Google lists, and viewers will need to be watching on a supported playback device like the YouTube app on HDR TVs, a Chromecast Ultra, or an Android device with an HDR display. YouTube says it plans to add support for more encoders and mobile devices to stream HDR content in the future.

Update December 8th, 12:49PM ET: Added confirmation that the HDR formats supported are HDR10 and HLG.