November has been quite the month for YouTube adding new features. First, it added support for HDR (High Dynamic Range) videos, then it followed up with support for VR videos. Not content to close out the month wirth only two major new features, the service on wednesday added another big feature: support for 4K live-streaming.
“Back in 2010, we enabled 4K video support for the very first time. Since then, millions of videos have been uploaded at that eye-popping resolution, making YouTube’s the largest library of 4K videos online,” Kurt Wilms, YouTube senior product manager, wrote in a blog post. “Today, we’re proud to say that we’re taking 4K video one step further with the launch of 4K live-streaming for both 360-degree videos and standard videos.”
When introducing new features, YouTube usually launches with a playlist designed to show off its new tech, but since the new 4K support is for live-streaming, the company is taking a different approach. YouTube will stream the 2016 Game Awards live, all of which will be presented in 4K.
YouTube isn’t the first company to offer 4K live-streaming — gaming-focused streaming service Hitbox began offering 4K streaming in 2015 — but it is the largest. The ability to stream 360-degree video in 4K is also an interesting addition. VR is certainly going to be the preferred way to watch those videos, at least for those with the proper setup, but increased resolution for 360-degree video is the next best thing.
With more cameras adding support for 4K video, YouTube seems to be in the right place at the right time to introduce this feature. If you’re interested in seeing just how much of an improvement 4K is for live-streams, tune into the Game Awards, which air on YouTube at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on December 1.
Updated by Kris Wouk on 12/01/2016: Updated air time for the Game Awards