There’s no question that 360-degree video adds substantial value for the audience. Viewers have been enjoying 360-degree videos on YouTube since it was rolled out on the platform last March. Now, YouTube wants to take the immersive video experience even further, by adding a function that will enable viewers to stream 360-degree videos live.
BuzzFeed is reporting that sources “familiar with the company’s plans” allege that “YouTube has been meeting with 360-degree camera manufacturers about adding support for immersive live-streamed video broadcasts to its platform.” This sounds awesome in theory, but in reality it’s no simple task. YouTube will have to work out a number of kinks if it’s intent on taking its virtual-reality experience to the next level.
At present, there aren’t many 360-degree cameras that can stream live content. Even the feeds from those cameras aren’t broadcast quality and can be difficult to display on YouTube depending on how each hardware system weaves together different feeds. YouTube has figured out how to efficiently stitch together a 360-degree video while it’s being uploaded from the GoPro Odyssey, but this is a special case since YouTube already knows the precise specifications of the device, and also has a fix on the placement of each of its lenses. A comparable result will be difficult to achieve using other cameras without having the specs of each camera ahead of time.
Going forward, YouTube has a few options to fill in the missing puzzle pieces of its plan to offer live-streaming of 360-degree videos. The company could either create a set of standard specifications for 360-degree camera manufacturers, develop stitching software that’s compatible with a wide range of 360-degree cameras, or, for the time being, limit the feature to a small group of 360-degree cameras that are capable of stitching video themselves.
An ETA for live-streaming 360-degree videos on YouTube is currently unknown. Given the issues that still need to be worked out, we might be waiting a while for the company to get it right. In the meantime, you can still enjoy some great pre-recorded 360-degree videos. If you missed it, check out this one that lets you explore Salvador Dali’s paintings through virtual reality.
Photo Credit: YouTube