Facebook Live Now Comes With 4K Streaming Support and 360 Degree Video
Stephan Jukic – July 25, 2017
Want to watch live 4K streaming from Facebook in 360 degrees or in VR? Well now you can thanks to the newly added support feature that the social media monster has tacked onto Facebook Live. The company let users know about this capability this morning during a wider announcement about a whole slew of other updates aimed at making their live 360-degree video platform more accessible to creators and users both. The 4K streaming support is probably the single most notable new improvement of these updates though.
Thanks to this new 4K feature, you as a user can now view live-streamed 4K UHD 360-degree videos on the social media platform as long as you have the correct sort of 4K display screen. The same goes for creators who want to upload their 4K 360 degree videos, so long as they have the right kind of streaming and recording gear to make the 4K resolution and panoramic view work.
These streaming video options are also being made available in VR format for anyone who’d like to watch them on a device such as a Samsung Gear VR headset in 4K. Amusingly though, the 4K VR option for such streams isn’t yet available in Facebook’s own Oculus Rift device since Facebook has yet to add support for UHD resolution to the Rift.
Facebook is also including a “donate” feature for their live video platform so that users who post videos for different reasons can request money from viewers. This could be very useful to charities and other social activism campaigns in which extremely detailed, highly immersive video is being used to send a powerful message about a major problem somewhere in the world.
It’s worth mentioning here that the streaming and viewing features of Facebook Live in 4K 360-degrees will only work for users who have access to internet connections strong enough to support ultra HD in streaming format (about 20Mbps or more) and of course, the right kind of video cameras, such as 360-degree 4K UHD action cameras would be ideal for the stream-creator end of this new video option, while 4K UHD monitors, TVs or the aforementioned Samsung Gear VR system would be necessary on the viewer end to enjoy the full 4K UHD punch of any available footage.
To make this hardware and software selection process for users and viewers even easier, Facebook has taken the rather comprehensive extra step of starting a new partnership program with third-party manufacturers of products which are certified “Live 360 Ready”. This will essentially be a frequently updated listing of all devices and software suites that have been approved by Facebook’s own internal development team for the creation of high-quality video streams in 4K and other resolutions. Currently the list contains nearly a dozen devices, most of them cameras such as the Garmin VIRB 360, Giroptic iO and three Insta360 models.
These and other less noteworthy updates to Facebook Live are coming together in a way that’s slowly making the social network’s streaming video platform into a major potential competitor to YouTube and other streaming video rivals. Moving even further beyond this, the Facebook Live system could possibly become a rival to professional streaming entertainment services like Netflix and even to live traditional TV platforms at some point.
Facebook itself is certainly making specific, intense efforts in both of these directions. For one thing, the company is trying to convince its vast potential viewer/creator base of nearly 2 billion users to utilize the social network as a primary video content distribution channel instead of simply uploading videos from other major streaming sites. Making the Live platform into something much more versatile and integrated, with options not available to posted video links from other sites is a big step towards making Facebook Live a strong alternative to YouTube or Vimeo. And as for Facebook’s competitive efforts against professional streaming entertainment video services, we note the social media platform’s current project of developing its own original TV series as a first step to competing with the original programming of sites like Netflix and Amazon. Whether this planned TV series will also be available in 4K UHD is unknown at this time.
Story by 4k.com