YouTube plans to bring HDR 4K video to mobile and desktop

Patrick O'Rourke

January 8, 2016 5:57pm

Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer, says HDR 4K video is coming to both the platform’s web and mobile applications, allowing users to view streaming video content in significantly more detail.

While HDR has evolved into a buzzword over the last few years, it’s poised to make a significant difference in terms how of we stream content online, as well as view video in general. HDR video features a wide range of colour and contrast, which results in video that displays additional detail, especially with dark colour palettes. In most cases, this means viewers will be able to see more detail in the content they’re watching than ever before.

The catch here is that a compatible TV or computer monitor is required to view videos that support YouTube’s upcoming HDR features. Right now, 4K screens that feature HDR are scarce, but LG, Sony and Vizio have plans to release 4K displays in the near future, and a variety of television manufacturers announced HDR plans at CES 2016. HDR is often seen as the next major innovation in 4K image technology, making early ultra high-definition television sets obsolete.

There’s no word on a timeline for when YouTube plans to bring HDR to its desktop and mobile app, but given the fact that the streaming platform remains one of 4K and 60fps’s earliest adopters, the feature is likely set to drop at some point in the next few months.

Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, which isn’t available in Canada, also have plans to launch HDR support.

  • Even though phones are approaching 6″ as the standard, is there really any point of having 4K res on 6″ phone?

    • NotARogersEmployee

      There will be tablets that benefit from mobile HDR 4K… and then there’s the VR stuff… as long as my battery lasts the day, they can go to 64K for all I care.

    • Do Do

      It would be stupid if all they did this for was phones but for devices other than phones it might matter. I say might because I’ve never complained about 720 or better.

  • Marv-O

    Using Bell 25Mbps here, and bandwidth and compression are a major issue with Netflix 4K, let alone HDR 4K. As it stands, 1080p blurays upscaled on my 4K TV still look better than Netflix 4K. Even 4K Ultraflix movies look only marginally better than upscaled blurays.

    • Eluder

      I gotta disagree here, saw Daredevil on Netflix on a Samsung UN65JS8500 in 4k on a 100Mbps Rogers connection and the different between a 1080p source and that was very noticeable. Everything was sharper, more details on the actors faces, etc.

    • NotARogersEmployee

      I’m using Rogers 250 Mbps connection and have no issues with Netflix 4K. What issues are you experiencing? Is it getting choppy or going back and forth from FHD to 4K? Netflix needs a consistent speed of 25 Mbps or higher, perhaps upgrading your package would resolve these issues?