YouTube has come up with a solution for those who are not able to watch a 360-degree video on the site because of browser incompatibility or other reasons. With the new technology, dubbed YouTube VR180, Google is looking to capture 180-degree images in 3D to make it easier for non-VR viewers to watch them.

YouTube VR180, 360 videos
Image Source: YouTube (screenshot)

Better than 360-degree videos

With the new format, video makers need only be concerned about capturing what is happening in front of them “while viewers get an awesome, immersive experience with a VR headset, or a video that looks just as great on a phone as any other video,” said YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki.

The format is based on the idea of cutting the VR video in half so the viewer can watch only the front half of the video, notes TNW. Although it will not be up to the standards of a VR experience, it will open up the content to a larger viewer base. Another good thing about the format is that the videos will be better than the 360-degree videos that are currently available on YouTube. The 360-degree videos will still be there, but they will not be the focal point of YouTube, or at least not right now, notes Mashable.

For now, all YouTube 360-degree videos have the equirectangular projection, which gives the viewer the feel of being a part of the videos. Although the top and bottom of the video have the best quality, the middle does suffer in terms of quality. But this is not the case with YouTube VR180, which offers higher resolution (up to 4K) across the entire video image.

Further, YouTube VR180 offers a stereoscopic view, giving an in-depth view of the objects rather than the flat panoramic video that is common among 360-degree videos. To put it simply, YouTube VR180 offers a more engaging video in the YouTube browser, notes Mashable.

New cameras for YouTube VR180

According to Google, viewers will be able to edit the YouTube VR180 videos with the help of apps such as Adobe Premiere. Further, the company stated that it is working with manufacturers to create all-new cameras for VR180. For now, OEMs that have come on board are YI, LG and Lenovo. These manufacturers will come up with specialized cameras by this coming winter.

YouTube’s VR product lead, Erin Teague, stated that the cameras will be priced in the range of conventional point-and-shoot cameras. Google is also working toward creating a VR180 certification program to help others join in, notes TNW.

Wojcicki also talked about the update for YouTube TV, Google’s $35 per-month live TV streaming service. The service will be launched in ten more markets in addition to the five it was in at the time of its launch. In the coming weeks, the service will become available in Washington, Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, Detroit, Dallas, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Charlotte, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne.

Wojcicki also stated that the company is looking to ramp up its mobile capacity, considering the fact that users now spend more than an hour a day on average watching videos on mobile devices.