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YouTube today added support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) videos. This means you can now watch YouTube videos in HDR on supported devices, including HDR TVs with the Chromecast Ultra and soon on all 2016 Samsung SUHD and UHD TVs.

HDR videos have higher color contrast as well as more detailed shadows and highlights. The technology supports a wider range than the conventional gamma curve, mimicking what the human eye sees in the real world thanks to clearer and more vibrant colors. YouTube chief business officer Robert Kyncl first announced at CES 2016 in January that the service was getting HDR video support, though he didn’t offer a timeframe.

It’s not possible to show HDR quality on a standard dynamic range (SDR) display, so YouTube has produced a simulated comparison:


As you might expect, any device that doesn’t yet support HDR will still play YouTube videos as before in SDR. In other words, if you don’t have an HDR device, nothing changes for you today.

But YouTube isn’t just stopping here. The Google-owned company plans to work with partners to enable streaming in HDR. No timeframe was given as there are still very few HDR devices available.

YouTube has also partnered with creators like MysteryGuitarMan, Jacob + Katie Schwarz, and Abandon Visuals to offer new HDR content in time for the launch today. There’s even a playlist available where you can see all the new HDR clips.

But again, anyone can now upload HDR videos. YouTube worked with the DaVinci Resolve team to make uploading HDR videos just as simple as SDR videos. The YouTube Spaces in LA and NYC also now offer all the gear needed to produce HDR content.

It will be a long time before HDR videos are the norm, given that products for capturing, playing, and serving all need to support the technology. YouTube pushing support will definitely make a big difference.

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