YouTube Launches 360-Degree Live Stream, Spatial Audio For On-Demand Videos
YouTube has announced that it is now supporting 360-degree video livestreaming and that the Coachella music festival will be the first to take advantage of the new feature.
"We first launched support for 360-degree videos back in March 2015. From musicians to athletes to brands, creators have done some incredible things with this technology," YouTube's chief product officer Neal Mohan said in the company's Google Blog. "Now they'll be able to do even more to bring fans directly into their world, with 360-degree live streaming."
YouTube has also launched spatial audio for on-demand videos for Android.
Now users will be able to hear audio in 360-degree videos depending on which angle they are viewing the live stream, providing a more immersive experience.
The company has also created a playlist of six 360-degree videos using spatial audio. As of now, directional audio only works on Android devices, but it's expected to expand availability in time.
Mohan also announced that select artist performances at Coachella will be livestreamed in 360 degrees this weekend.
Unfortunately, spatial audio will only be supported on on-demand videos so users shouldn't expect it while watching live Coachella performances.
With the launch of live 360-degree videos and support for spatial audio, YouTube is the first video service to support both of these features at this scale, as pointed out by TechCrunch.
In order to make live 360-degree videos possible, YouTube also brought in some technical improvements to the site.
Now, creators will be able to live stream 360 videos at 1440p resolution, at 60 frames per second, according to The Verge.
The only real challenge in trying to take advantage of all these new features is that creators would need a new camera rig that's integrated to YouTube.
One of the camera rigs that supports these new features is the newly announced ALLie Camera which costs $500. There's also the cheaper $350 Ricoh Theta and the higher-end Orah 4i that sells for $1,800.
Since not all creators can afford to experiment with live 360-degree videos, YouTube is also inviting them to try it out in their YouTube Space locations, according to WIRED.
"They can focus on what they need to focus on, which is the best content possible, the best story possible," Mohan told WIRED.
It's believed that Google launched these new features on YouTube to gain some momentum before it holds its annual I/O Conference next month.
Google will reportedly be announcing a new VR product for Android devices that could compete with the Samsung Gear VR.
Google will also be unveiling a new iteration of the Cardboard VR goggles as the company made all 360-degree videos on YouTube compatible for the accessory last fall.