No Hardware Support for YouTube HDR? Google Brings Support to Pixels Entirely in Software!
Google introduced HDR playback in YouTube just a few days ago, but the feature wasn’t expected to be supported in its own flagship lineup. Popular Android devices like Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and LG’s G6 come with built-in support for HDR video, but not the Google Pixel and Pixel XL. Apparently, Google couldn’t afford its customers missing out on the awesomeness that is HDR video and has brought in a software solution.
Google Pixel HDR support is all in software
Folks over at Android Police first spotted the Google Pixel and Pixel XL in the supported list of YouTube HDR playback devices, but how is that support possible? In response to this curiosity, Google has said that its Pixels are doing YouTube HDR in software.
“Usually, OEMs have to work closely with SoC vendors to make sure a phone’s hardware can decode HDR video bitstreams,” AP writes. Which is how smartphones like Samsung Galaxy S8+ and LG V30 support HDR since they all have built-in support for HDR video. Because the Pixel and Pixel XL don’t have that hardware support, Google created a custom software decoder and rendering stack to bring Pixel users back on the fun train. Here’s Google’s statement to AP.
“We’re using a highly optimized software decoder and custom rendering stack, and were able to extend support to Pixel devices,” Google responded. However, it did add that the “next generation mobile devices with hardware acceleration will perform even better.”
While the next generation of Pixels is just a month away (and mostly likely will bring HDR support), your current Pixel and Pixel XL can already do HDR video – even if on a software level. Do note that this capability doesn’t extend to anywhere outside of YouTube, though.
If you are wondering, here is the list of devices that support YouTube HDR playback.
- Google Pixel
- Google Pixel XL
- LG V30
- LG G6
- Samsung Galaxy S8
- Samsung Galaxy S8+
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- Sony Xperia XZ Premium