Eleven years after YouTube started letting the world share videos, it is now supporting high dynamic range (HDR) content within what the company calls an effort to consistently push the boundaries of online video. The announcement, which was made last Nov. 7, is a just a few days shy of the PlayStation 4 Pro release, which will also support the format.
What Is HDR?
HDR refers to the imaging technology that can reproduce an object in photographs and videos with a higher dynamic range, which can be translated into a capability to support a more comprehensive range of color and to display blacks and whites with more accuracy.
This is the reason why HDR photos and videos have increased contrast and more precise details than those in other formats. The support for wider color range also means that images and videos are more vibrant.
"HDR adds a whole new dimension of creative freedom and visual spectacle, and we've barely scratched the surface of what this means for storytelling," Google said in a blog post. "We can't wait to see the amazing videos you're going to make with HDR."
Currently, a number of smartphones already support HDR video and photo capture.
HDR Display Requirements
Those interested to watch HDR content, YouTube has already uploaded four mastered videos that demonstrate what it is talking about. The company claims that the platform will detect the display specifications of the viewer and adjust the quality accordingly.
This underscores the fact that HDR content requires HDR devices, which include HDR televisions with Chromecast Ultra or the upcoming 2016 Samsung SUHD and UHD TVs. If you do not have an HDR compatible device, you can still view the content but in standard dynamic range.
It is important to remember that the number of pixels does not play an outsized role in HDR videos. You can watch HDR content at 1080p and still enjoy its vibrant quality. The format, however, takes full advantage of pixels to display a wide range of colors.
HDR content, including streaming feature later on, will also require superfast internet connection. Currently, the best quality is 2160p, and you may be assured it will take ages to load if your connection has lower bandwidth or you are using your smartphone data in non-LTE covered area.
YouTube HDR Content Development
This early, Google has identified key partners in its push for HDR adoption at YouTube. These include developers who are working to make the HDR publishing process at YouTube easier and hardware vendors to install HDR-ready gear in YouTube Spaces found in Los Angeles and New York.
YouTube has also tapped creators such as Abandon Visuals and MysteryGuitarMan to lead the charge in content production at YouTube. The rallying cry is founded on the drive to provide a new dimension to the videos available in its platform. Google is already supporting 4K video formats.