YouTube Supports Live Streams at 60fps and HTML5 Playback

YouTube is looking to take on game-streaming services such as Amazon’s Twitch by allowing live video streams that run at 60 frames per second (double its previous limit). Higher frame rates are vital for fast-moving games including racers and first-person shooters, and attracting gamers will be important if YouTube hopes to remain competitive in the growing eSports market. To address growing interest in gamers sharing their sessions, YouTube has been upgrading playback quality, adding support for HD, 4K, and most recently, browsers that use HTML5.

youtube“Amazon last year paid nearly $1 billion to buy Twitch, a company Google had considered buying,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “In January, Twitch said it had reached an average of 100 million viewers a month. Meanwhile, the French startup Dailymotion launched its destination dedicated to streaming live video of games, saying videogames were among the most popular content on its site.”

An increasing number of gamers are broadcasting their sessions live, especially those competing in multiplayer battle-arena games like “League of Legends” and “Dota 2.” Audiences for these broadcasts are driving the success of sites like Twitch and have even led to live public events in stadiums.

YouTube quietly turned on support for 60fps last fall, but only for newly uploaded videos. Playback requires YouTube’s HTML5 player (YouTube replaced Flash with HTML5 by default in January).

“YouTube says 60fps live streaming is ‘an early preview’ that only works on HTML5-compatible browsers (if you’re on the latest version of Chrome, IE, Firefox, Safari, or Opera, you should be fine),” notes VentureBeat.

“Because YouTube live streams require using an HTML5 player in supported browsers, variable speed playback has now also been made possible. You can skip backward in a stream while it’s live, or even watch at 1.5x or 2x speed to catch back up.”