YouTube's new VR180 video format bridges the gap between 2D and VR, and it's going to be a big deal.

At VidCon 2017, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced some big things for the platform, including a mind-blowing statistic: 1.5 billion people watch YouTube videos monthly.

But one of the bigger topics discussed at the show was an upcoming video format called VR180, which combines virtual reality and regular old flat 2D content into a single video. Using new cameras that will be available from Lenovo, Yi and LG later this year, videos are shot in 180-degrees, so not the completely 360-degree notion of what we think of as traditional VR, but can also be watched on a flat phone or computer screen with ostensibly no loss in quality.

The idea behind VR180 is that, right now, traditional VR scenes must be filmed using either expensive proprietary cameras or lower-quality consumer hardware, like the Gear 360, and there's very little incentive for someone to watch that film in 2D since it wasn't designed for such a thing. VR180 aims to keep the qualities of both, and "this format delivers 3-D video while capturing 180-degrees around you. Creators only have to worry about recording what's in front of them while viewers get an awesome, immersive experience with a VR headset, or a video that looks just as great on a phone as any other video."

YouTube already has some VR180 films uploaded using prototype cameras, and you can watch the one above (which is pretty amazing even on this 13-inch laptop screen) in VR as well.

There were some other big announcements on the YouTube front, too:

  • The YouTube app for Android will adjust properly to videos shot in portrait, or in square formats.
  • YouTube's sharing features that launched earlier this year in Canada are expanding to Latin America and the U.S.
  • YouTube TV is getting ten new markets, including Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington, D.C., Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne and Charlotte.
  • YouTube Red is getting some new original programming, raising the number to 37 altogether.

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