Google Brings YouTube HDR Support to Pixel Devices via Software Update

Google Brings YouTube HDR Support to Pixel Devices via Software Update

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Google is working to expand HDR support on YouTube and while it only actually works with special videos, the feature has become quite the buzzword these days. We recently reported on this feature coming to devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Xperia XZ Premium, and that was possible thanks to the hardware supporting it. While hardware support isn’t there on the Pixel or the Pixel XL, Google has said they’re bringing YouTube HDR to these devices thanks to a software update.

Early feedback of YouTube HDR videos on the Galaxy S8 and the Xperia XZ Premium hasn’t been great though. We spoke about some people having stuttering playback and frame drops with both of these devices. Then in the comments of our own report, we saw multiple users that confirmed these exact issues. So it’s clear that there are some bugs that Google will need to take care of before the YouTube HDR experience is desirable for everyone.

So as we mentioned, this is possible on the Galaxy S8 and the Xperia XZ Premium thanks to hardware support. This means all the work is done through the hardware and that results in it not having that much of an impact on the performance side of things (at least that’s how it is supposed to work). What Google is doing is adding YouTube HDR support to “Pixel devices” thanks to a software update using “a highly optimized software decoder and custom rendering stack.”

Because it’s being handled by the software, we can expect the Pixel phones to work harder to play these types of videos. It’s unclear if that means the devices will heat up more than ordinary, but it does mean the CPU and GPU will need to be ramped up in order to handle the workload of YouTube HDR videos. I looked for this feature and cannot find it on my Pixel XL, but some comments in the Android Police article says it’s a server side switch that’s currently being rolled out to some but not all users.

Source: Android Police