Facebook announced today that it will be launching a feature tomorrow that will offer 360 degree live video.
At the moment, only publishers will be able to stream in 360 degrees, and the first such video will be streamed Tuesday from the Mars Desert Research Station facility in Utah. For Facebook, this is a further extension of the company’s decision to bet heavily on virtual reality.
Later this month, Facebook Live 360 broadcasting will become an option in the Facebook Live’s API. Next year, Facebook plans to roll out the immersive, real-time video streaming capability to all Pages and users.
For now, live 360-degree videos can only be streamed by publishers and is not open to all of Facebook’s 1.8 billion users.
The social network will officially launch live 360 videos on Tuesday with a video from the Mars Desert Research Station facility in Utah, in partnership with National Geographic.
YouTube is leading the way, as anyone can currently live stream in 360, but only if they have special encoder software set up on their computer like OBS streaming from a Ricoh Theta S.
Facebook is a bit behind, but will take a more user-friendly approach to broadcasting, aiming to allow normal profiles to be able to easily broadcast from a 360 mobile device without desktop software. Facebook first started rolling out Live in August 2015 and 360 video in September 2015, and now it’s combining them.
Also, Facebook announced Instagram Live is rolling out to everyone in the U.S., with videos that always disappear to differentiate from replayable Facebook Live clips.