Google’s video sharing and streaming platform YouTube is quietly developing the ability to livestream 360-degree videos.
YouTube has been in talks with 360-degree camera manufacturers about adding support for more immersive live-streamed content but the launch timeline is still unclear, BuzzFeed News reported quoting multiple sources.
As augmented and virtual reality becomes more mainstream, the live 360-degree video feature will become the company’s next growth area in terms of new content in a different format. Earlier, the company had launched support for Google Cardboard that allows users to convert smartphones into basic headsets to watch content followed by the launch of 3D videos in November which can only be seen via the Cardboard.
Also, it hired a virtual reality expert to recruit more content partners to develop VR content for its platform. Live 360-degree video would be perhaps the biggest step the company has taken since first launching support for the format.
However, there are some problems that YouTube has to tackle in order to get the live-streaming feature to work accurately and come out with good quality videos. Currently, certain 360-degree cameras can live-stream content, but the video feeds they create aren’t broadcast quality; they are intended to give camera operators a quick and dirty sense of the video the are capturing. But YouTube is in the process of creating is a platform for broadcasting live 360-degree video to a global audience.
Generally, a 360-degree video is spliced typically from multiple sources but what YouTube wants that to happen in real time so that the video could be broadcast immediately. This explains the meeting with manufacturers to get them to make cameras that could do the splicing in real time.
The GoPro Odyssey, for example, — a 16-camera rig developed by Google’s JUMP programme — takes the footage from each camera and automatically stitches it together while it’s being uploaded. But there are a few such cameras available now and others headed to market later this year. It’s possible that YouTube’s live 360 initiative could be limited to these devices alone — initially.
YouTube did not make any comments regarding the new feature.