Wed. Oct 20th, 2021

YouTube is the largest repository of videos on the internet. From funny cat videos to news, movie trailers, music videos, gameplay walkthroughs and city tours, you can find it all on Google’s video streaming platform. Google has, of course, made steady improvements to the video quality and compression available on the platform. In 2015 YouTube started supporting playback in 4K and in 2016, the service added the ability to play content in HDR. However, HDR content was limited to playback of content which was uploaded on the platform. It wasn’t available for those streaming live to YouTube. 

Streaming HDR content on YouTube

Those looking to stream content on YouTube in HDR will need to use a compatible encoder. 

For gamers looking to stream HDR gameplay will need to adhere to the following:

Play a game that supports HDR output.
Turn on HDR in the game’s settings.
Use a monitor or TV that supports HDR.
Use a compatible encoder.

To live stream other HDR content streamers will have to 

Use a compatible encoder.
Use a camera that supports HDR video with either the PQ or HLG colour standards. Check your camera’s manual to see if these standards are supported.

You can learn more about streaming to YouTube in HDR here. 

Viewing HDR live streams on YouTube

Viewers will be able to see the stream in HDR automatically. They just need to be watching it on a supported device. If your device does not support HDR playback, you will watch the stream in SDR. Supported HDR devices include:

The YouTube app on HDR TVs.
Casting to Chromecast Ultra devices connected to HDR TVs.
Android-based mobile devices with an HDR display.
Windows and Mac PCs with HDR graphics support and an HDR display. Viewers will see your stream in HDR if they have HDR enabled in their computer’s settings.

Note: The preview in the Live Control Room will not show HDR colours.

How to know if you’re watching in HDR

HDR streams will show “HDR” in the video quality settings menu, usually found at the bottom right of the screen. If your device doesn’t support HDR, you won’t see the HDR badge, and your stream will be shown in SDR.

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