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YouTube Exec Talks HDR and 360-Degree Video at CES
Posted January 9, 2016
YouTube Exec Talks HDR and 360-Degree Video at CES
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By Dan Heilman. Updated January 9, 2016 8:19AM

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During a keynote address at CES 2016 in Las Vegas Thursday, an executive of YouTube declared that the company will support high-dynamic range (HDR) video in the future. During his speech, Robert Kyncl, the company’s chief business officer, discussed the future of the video platform as well as the promise of 360-degree video.

During his speech, Kyncl (pictured above) stated that by the end of the decade, digital video will overtake TV as the predominant means of viewing video. Kyncl has been with YouTube since 2010, and Netflix before that. He oversees all business functions for YouTube, including sales, marketing, content and general operations.

"I believe digital video will overtake TV to become the single largest way people spend their free time before the end of this decade, with YouTube being a major driver of that shift," said Kyncl, who also noted that the only two things people do more than watch video are eat and sleep.

Higher Standard

Amazon and Netflix have already voiced their support for the HDR standard. With YouTube now on board, three of the most prominent providers of online video are behind the technology.

In essence, HDR video takes two videos or images and merges them in a way that’s meant to offer the best lighting and quality possible, with greater color and detail. The process is similar to HDR mode on a smartphone camera, which combines multiple exposures into a single frame. HDR focuses on all colors and the shades in between them, making colors more vivid and realistic and bringing more visibility to subtle elements of the video image.

HDR isn’t supported by most TVs at the moment, but some TV manufacturers have indicated that their upcoming models will support the technology. Some more recent video playback devices that offer true 4K content, such as Ultra HD Blu-ray players, also support it.

360 Is Coming

The main topic of Kynci's talk was actually the growing potential of virtual reality and 360-degree video. YouTube has already been involved in at least one venture related to this technology -- a project promoted by The New York Times, which delivered more than one million Google Cardboard VR viewers to its subscribers.

During his keynote, Kynci also announced that YouTube and camera hardware maker GoPro are teaming up to produce more 360-degree content. GoPro CEO Nick Woodman and Chris Milk, CEO of VRSE, the virtual-reality studio that worked on The New York Times project, joined Kyncl during that announcement. GoPro is planning to release an entry-level spherical capture camera this year to encourage more 360-degree content productions.

The promise of 360-degree video and virtual reality has been a major theme at CES this year. The new Ricoh Theta S 360 camera won the CES 2016 Innovation award, and the new 360Fly company displayed a new compact spherical camera that can shoot 360-degree video in 4K resolution.

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