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YouTube takes on Twitch with 60FPS HTML5 live streaming

We reported in March that YouTube was preparing to take on Twitch by relaunching YouTube Live in a manner better suited to streaming games. That time has arrived, as YouTube now supports live-streaming at 60 frames per second.

The new feature is now available as an “early preview” on HTML5-compatible browsers, YouTube announced in a blog post today. Streaming at 60FPS is available in both 720p and 1080p resolution, which now puts YouTube’s streaming capabilities on a par with Twitch’s.

The HTML5 player YouTube is using actually gives it some advantages over Twitch’s streaming. First, performance is generally better than the CPU-intensive Flash player. Second, YouTube’s HTML5 player supports variable-speed playback, meaning that viewers “can skip backward in a stream while it’s live and watch at 1.5x or 2x speed to catch back up.”

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To help make the process easy for streamers, YouTube has worked with developers to make new versions of Elgato Game Capture as well as Xsplit Broadcaster and Gamecaster available that support 60FPS streaming to YouTube. It should be easy for other apps like OBS to add support, as YouTube says that “any app using our live streaming API can add a new high frame rate flag to enable 60fps streaming.”

The ability to watch these 60FPS streams is currently only available to those viewing YouTube on the desktop. The company says it will “also make your stream available in 30fps on devices where high frame rate viewing is not yet available, while we work to expand support in the coming weeks.”

YouTube further asserts that this represents the latest in a series of improvements it has been making to its live-streaming, and that “there are plenty left to come, so stay tuned for more very soon.” While Amazon probably doesn’t have to worry about a flood of users leaving Twitch just yet, this is probably a good time for the streaming site to look into some improvements of its own.

To take a look at some of the new live streams, head over to YouTube Live.