The world’s largest video streaming site, YouTube, will now support HDR (High Dynamic Range) videos, according to an announcement by the company’s Chief Business Officer, Mr. Robert Kyncl, during his keynote speech at the ongoing CES 2016 trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada. While Mr. Kyncl hasn’t given out any ETA for the feature to roll out, Mashable is reporting that it will happen sooner rather than later, so it seems likely that YouTube will be joining other video major video streaming platforms on the web like Netflix and Amazon. The one important thing to note, however, is that viewers will need compatible TV sets or PC monitors to be able to take advantage of the new feature, as current mainstream displays do not have built-in support for HDR videos.
For those wandering about HDR, it is a photography (or videography) technique used to capture a greater dynamic range of light, which allows for the preservation of details that would otherwise be lost because of limited contrast ratios. What it essentially means, is that while capturing a scene containing brightly lit areas and extremely dark areas in the same frame, traditional cameras would either overexpose the brighter areas to capture details from within the dark, or would underexpose the darker areas thereby completely blacking out those parts. This is where HDR comes in. The images and videos captured in HDR mode will have high levels of resolved details in the darker areas without washing out the brighter areas in a photo or video. This is achieved by capturing and then combining several different images of the same subject matter at almost exactly the same time, with a narrower exposure range for each individual image.
It remains to be seen how YouTube’s latest decision appeals to its fans around the globe, but seeing as the feature needs new hardware support, it will probably take a long time to actually catch on, seeing as a lot of people have already dropped big bucks over the last couple of years on 4K televisions that lack the feature. Hardware support, however, is on the horizon, as leading consumer electronics companies like LG, Sony and Vizio have already announced their plans to launch new 4K TV sets with built-in HDR support. PC manufacturers are also expected to follow suit, and large-screen desktop monitors shouldn’t be too far behind either. All of that means 4K HDR videos should elevate YouTube, Netflix and Amazon’s Instant Videos to a whole new level of awesomeness this New Year.