Goodbye, crummy Facebook Videos? Facebook 4K is in testing

Facebook 4K video
Vasilis Ververidis / 123RF

As video continues to grow on Facebook, the platform could be launching a long-overdue feature: 4K. According to TechCrunch, Facebook is now trying out 4K video by offering the feature to select users and Pages during testing.

If the Facebook 4K launches outside of testing in a wider rollout, the feature would bring up Facebook’s 1,080p upload limit to 2,160p in the UHD-1 Ultra-High Definition standard format, offering higher quality video streams.

YouTube has offered 4K since 2014 (and 4K 60 fps since 2015) but began testing the feature three years before that. While it’s unsurprising that the video-focused platform had the higher resolution first, Facebook’s push for more original video content makes the higher resolution a bit overdue. Facebook now has a Watch tab, designed to encourage creatives to launch their own video shows alongside deals for Facebook’s first original Shows including shows with National Geographic and Mike Rowe.

While the enhanced quality makes sense if Facebook wants to compete as a video platform, even the experience of sharing a casual smartphone video with friends could benefit from the update now that 4K isn’t an uncommon spec. The 4K format is becoming much more mainstream, with even smartphones boasting the ability to record video in that higher resolution. The first smartphone to shoot in 4K launched in 2013, while the iPhone 6 helped popularize the feature on a more widespread basis.

To keep the higher resolution videos from slowing down devices with slower internet connections, tapping on the gear icon on a video allows users to choose the quality to see the video in. With the current video settings allowing users to choose whether to watch the video in HD or not by default, users will likely be able to turn on 4K viewing by default as well if the feature launches.

While live-streaming in 4K is tougher to do, Facebook already has that feature available for going live with a 360 camera, though 4K wrapped around 360 degrees isn’t the same as a standard 4K resolution.

Facebook currently allows video resolutions up to 1080p and file sizes up to 10 GB, according to the company’s video best practices.