YouTube Adds Support for HDR Video on Compatible Screens

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High dynamic range (HDR) video offers richer colors and deeper blacks, and now YouTube supports the technology. In a blog post, YouTube said that it supports HDR for all video types such as HD, 4K, live, 3D, and 360°. Viewing HDR requires a compatible screen, and HDR videos will default to standard dynamic range (SDR) playback where HDR isn't supported.

According to the researchers at IHS Markit, the HDR TV market is small but growing. By 2020, almost all of the 112 million 4K televisions shipped globally will be compatible with HDR, however only 30 percent of those will include true HDR capabilities. HDR support is largely limited to big screen TVs, as 80 percent of HDR TVs will be 50-inches or larger.

Besides the announcement, YouTube offers technical guidance for editors creating HDR video. While YouTube didn't announce one or more HDR profiles that it's supporting, it explains that HDR videos need the appropriate HDR metadata in the container or codec. The company offers an HDR metadata tool for those whose grading workflows don't support the metadata. Once correctly formatted, HDR videos can be uploaded just like any other YouTube content.

The YouTube Spaces in New York City and Los Angeles now include HDR video gear.

"HDR adds a whole new dimension of creative freedom and visual spectacle," writes YouTube software engineer Steven Robertson and product manager Sanjeev Verma. "We've barely scratched the surface of what this means for storytelling."

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