YouTube launches HDR playback on select mobile devices

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Last November, YouTube began supporting HDR for those who watch its videos via their TV sets. Today, the company announced it’s expanding the technology to mobile, initially on select Android devices, but not yet on iOS. With support for HDR, videos offer better picture quality, with higher contrast that allows you to see more vibrant colors and make out more of the image in darker scenes.

At launch, YouTube mobile HDR is rolling out to Pixel, LG V30, Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note8 and Sony Experia XZ Premium devices, through the YouTube mobile app.

The company says it will continue to work with mobile industry partners to bring HDR playback to more devices over time. The plan is to support new HDR capable devices as they enter the market. (YouTube’s HDR requires VP9 Profile 2.)

When HDR first launched on YouTube, it was only being used by select YouTube channels, including those like MysteryGuitarManJacob + Katie Schwarz and Abandon Visuals.

The technology is still not broadly adopted, but YouTube today points to a few other resources for finding HDR quality videos, including on Youtube.com/4K or HDR shelf, as well as in videos such as Venice Carnival in 4K HDR 60P (UHD), The Redwoods | Shot on Epic-W with HELIUM 8K S35 Sensor 8K HDR, and Peru 8K HDR 60FPS (FUHD).

HDR is still an up-and-coming technology, in terms of TVs. Though there are plenty of HDR TVs to choose from, most consumers don’t upgrade their television set that often. In other words, when something like 4K or HDR hits, it could be years before it reaches the masses.

Right now, it seems that HDR TV sets will surpass 4K sets, with shipments reaching 245 million units by 2022.

However, making HDR video available via mobile could broaden its adoption, given that many consumers already have these devices in hand, and phones are swapped out on a more frequent basis.

Following the launch of HDR, YouTube has been working with creators who want to take advantage of the technology. It made HDR recording gear and post-production facilities available in some of its YouTube Spaces, including New York, L.A., London, and Tokyo. In addition, all YouTube spaces have cameras capable of capturing the requisite dynamic range and RAW/Log format to take advantage of HDR.

YouTube also tells us it’s looking to upgrade Rio and Paris to HDR-capable post production facilities next, and those upgrades should be complete next year.

Google had also previously made it possible to stream HDR content to TVs via its Chromecast Ultra device.

YouTube mobile HDR is rolling out now to the supported devices.

Featured Image: nevodka/iStock Editorial