The rise of affordable VR hardware has created a growing need for VR content, and not content to be left behind as new challengers arrive to offer it to us, YouTube’s been stepping up to help lead the way. Already, that’s meant supporting both flat panoramas and, more recently, fully 3D 360-degree video. Now we’re getting ready for the next chapter in that story, as we receive word that YouTube’s about to step up its VR-video support with live streaming 360-degree content.
Reportedly, YouTube’s been meeting with companies behind various 360-degree cameras in the interest of making sure their hardware’s ready to broadcast its content live.
While the difference between pre-recorded and live 360-degree video may seem academic, when we’re looking at VR as a way of giving users a virtual telepresence at popular events (not unlike what Microsoft’s been envisioning for HoloLens), the ability to not just drop users into a remote environment, but to do so in real time, is key to the overall experience. There’s also the issue of turning raw camera output into viewer-ready video, whether by means of cameras that achieve their 360-degree effect through the use of special lenses, or those that combine the output from multiple cameras; in both cases, algorithms must be up to the task of stitching all that video together, live as it happens. While YouTube already offers solutions along that line, right now many of the details are camera-specific, and more work’s needed to increase compatibility.
For now, it’s not clear just when live 360-degree YouTube video support might be ready, nor what filming hardware might initially offer compatibility with YouTube’s system.