GoPro, which is building to the release of the GoPro Hero 5 action camera, showed off a new two-lens camera which can shoot 360-degree video in a video of MotoGP racing bikes published on its YouTube channel last week.
Such a device was promised by GoPro CEO Nick Woodman at CES in January, but no further news has been heard since. However the camera shown in the MotoGP video does not appear to be the same product, writes Sean O’Kane for The Verge.
Custom Solutions camera seen on new video
This particular camera was announced in April at the NAB trade show, appearing as part of the “Custom Solutions” program now offered by GoPro. The company works with specific partners in order to make new versions of its cameras that suit particular needs.
The camera may look different but it is essentially two Hero 4 Black cameras attached to one another. The rig also includes two HeroCast units, used to live stream high-quality video from modified cameras.
Commentators may have been expecting a consumer camera, but this product is interesting for different reasons. GoPro is paying more and more attention to live streaming, which suggests that each of the upcoming releases, the 360-degree camera, the Karma drone and the GoPro Hero 5, will use the feature.
Live streaming an important feature for new hardware
The inclusion of live streaming on the GoPro Hero 5 would go a long way to making the action camera stand out from the competition. None of GoPro’s major rivals have the feature, which has only been seen on a camera from a startup called Sioeye and an unreleased action camera from LG.
In January GoPro made its first move into live streaming with a partnership with Periscope. However it looks like the GoPro Hero 5 will have an LTE chip built in, allowing live streaming to YouTube and Facebook straight from the camera.
Other rumors surrounding the GoPro Hero 5 suggest that it will have 8K video and built-in stabilization. However these features may not be enough to appeal to the mass market.
The Hero 5 will be GoPro’s first new flagship camera in two years, and live streaming video is growing in popularity. It would seem silly for the company not to include the feature.
Live video increasing in popularity
YouTube recently enabled live streaming for 360-degree video, which suggests the medium will grow in popularity. With an LTE chip and compression algorithms, the company could offer consumer live streaming with the GoPro Hero 5.
In the drone market GoPro is going up against DJI, which has been pushing live streaming capability. It would seem silly for GoPro not to include a feature that looks set to be increasingly important.
It may turn out that live streaming is not included on any of the upcoming hardware from GoPro. One point to consider is the incredible drain on battery life, which consumers have criticized GoPro cameras for in the past.
We are increasingly seeing live video on Facebook, YouTube, and to some extent, Twitter. The vast majority of that footage is recorded using smartphones at this stage, but people will want to explore different perspectives as live video grows in popularity.
GoPro is perfectly placed to meet the future desires of customers, and it must be hoped that the company builds live streaming features into its product range. Investors and consumers alike are sure to give the potential news a warm reception, given the interest in live video and the possibility of driving sales.