YouTube HDR live stream support arrives, but you need the right gear

Streamers can now broadcast their videos in HDR on YouTube, assuming they have the right hardware. Though the company already had support for HDR videos uploaded to the service, it has — until now — lacked the ability to live stream HDR content, an increasingly archaic restriction as more consumers adopt devices with HDR support.

Livestreaming is a popular activity on YouTube, particularly among game streamers. Despite the growing number of people who have HDR-compatible smartphones, TVs, and projectors, the big streaming platforms have largely lacked support for HDR broadcasts.

YouTube has changed that, potentially giving it an edge over competitor Twitch, which still lacks support for the standard. Whether streamers will decide to offer their videos with high dynamic range remains to be seen, however. Google details how to get started with HDR streaming on its YouTube Support website.

In the case of game streamers, you'll of course need to play a game that has HDR support turned on. You'll also need a display with HDR support and a compatible encoder. If you're not a game streamer, you'll need to live stream your content using a camera that supports HDR video with HLG or PQ standards in addition to the compatible encoder.

There's a good reason to add HDR to your live streams — the quality is considerably higher, providing more detail than may otherwise be washed out in shadows or highlights with a standard dynamic range. YouTube says that it will expand this feature in the future to include mobile devices and additional encoders.