Video wars get heated: YouTube launches 360-degree live video

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 19 April 2016
Image credit: YouTube

The latest shots have been fired in the war for video dollars, with YouTube announcing it's taking two of its popular offerings and combining them, 360-degree footage and live streams.

Google's video behmouth announced overnight that it's launching the first 360-degree live streaming offering, a little over a year since it launched its 360-degree video capabilities.

To launch this feature, YouTube will be partnering with T-Mobile to showcase select acts at the second weekend of the Coachella music festival.

YouTube's chief product officer, Neal Mohan, explained in a blog post that: “after years of live streaming Coachella for fans around the world who can’t attend the festival, this year we’re bringing you the festival like never before by live streaming select artist performances in 360-degrees this weekend.”

Facebook has also put live video, along with 360 capabilities at the top of its priorities list, with some commentators noting this latest YouTube announcement is a shot at its biggest social rival.

As part of the announcement, YouTube also revealed it's launching spatial audio for on-demand. Meaning now in 60-degree videos spatial audio allows people to listen along as they would in real life, where depth, distance and intensity all play a role in the sound that can be heard.

“What excites me most about 360-degree storytelling is that it lets us open up the world's experiences to everyone,” Mohan says. “Students can now experience news events in the classroom as they unfold. Travelers can experience faraway sites and explorers can deep-sea dive, all without the physical constraints of the real world. And today's kids dreaming of going to a basketball game or a concert can access those experiences firsthand, even if they're far away from the court. What were once limited experiences are now available to anyone, anywhere, at any time.”

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