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True colors: adding support for HDR videos on YouTube

By Steven Robertson

Software Engineer

We believe in the power of video at YouTube. It’s what allows for the creativity, connection, and fun that brings together our community of creators and viewers. And over the last 11 years, we’ve worked hard to push the boundaries of online video. We’ve added product features and made new video and audio formats available to everyone, from HD to 4K video, live streaming, 3D, 360-degree video, and spatial audio.

Today we are adding support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) videos on YouTube. HDR videos have higher contrast, revealing precise, detailed shadows and stunning highlights with more clarity than ever. Support for wide color gamut means colors are more vibrant. Simply put, HDR unlocks the most spectacular image quality we've ever streamed.

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Simulated SDR vs HDR comparison (seeing true HDR requires an HDR display)
Starting today, you can watch YouTube videos in HDR on supported devices, such as HDR TVs with the new Chromecast Ultra, and soon on all 2016 Samsung SUHD and UHD TVs. If you're using a device that doesn't yet support HDR, don't worry, videos will still play in standard dynamic range. As more HDR devices become available, YouTube will work with partners to enable streaming of the HDR version.

And if you want to watch some amazing content in HDR today, we got you covered. We’ve worked with YouTube creators like MysteryGuitarMan, Jacob + Katie Schwarz, and Abandon Visuals to bring you great content in HDR.

Starting today, any creator can upload HDR videos to YouTube. You can learn more about uploading HDR videos here. To make sure creators can tell awesome stories with even more color, we’ve been working with companies across the industry. We’ve worked with the DaVinci Resolve team to make uploading HDR just as simple as SDR videos to YouTube. We’ve also outfitted the YouTube Spaces in LA and NYC with all the gear needed to produce great HDR content.

HDR adds a whole new dimension of creative freedom and visual spectacle, and we've barely scratched the surface of what this means for storytelling. We can't wait to see the amazing videos you're going to make with HDR.

Steven Robertson, Software Engineer, recently watched “History of Japan,” and Sanjeev Verma, Product Manager, recently watched “Flaming Wire Wool.”