YouTube Gets 4K Streaming: Here's How to Watch it

After offering 4K videos for years, YouTube is spreading the ultra-high resolution love to its live broadcasts. The platform has officially added 4K streaming support for both standard and 360-degree livestreams, and you won't have to wait very long to see them for yourself.

Photo: The Game Awards

Photo: The Game Awards

YouTube's 4K streams will kick off with tonight's broadcast of The Game Awards, which begin at 9 p.m. ET but should be available on-demand afterwards. The annual gaming industry awards show will also be broadcast to places like Twitch, Twitter and Facebook Live and will even be viewable in VR, though YouTube seems like the only place to watch the show in glorious 3840 x 2160 resolution.

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Google's blog post doesn't specify what hardware you'll need to watch livestreams in 4K, though you should be good to go as long as you have a 4K TV or monitor and a device capable of playing YouTube videos. You'll also need decent bandwidth — while YouTube doesn't give any recommendations, Netflix suggests having a download speed of at least 25 megabits per second.

Your stream should default to 4K if you have the right display, but if not, you can click the settings icon at the bottom right of your video and make sure quality is set to 2160p.

The debut of live 4K YouTube streams is just one of many recent instances of 4K video coming to the masses. This year's PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One S consoles are both capable of 4K streaming (and in the PS4 Pro's case, 4K gaming), while streaming devices such as the Chromecast Ultra and Roku Ultra have made ultra-high-resolution video more accessible than ever.

YouTube's 4K livestreams could be a great way to make live events such as concerts and awards shows look even more true-to-life, especially when it comes to immersive 360-degree video. It's ultimately up to creators to make that happen, so here's hoping that YouTube's biggest channels embrace the platform's live-in-4K future.

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.