Mobile live-streaming has made a resurgence in early 2015 with Meerkat and Periscope. But these apps have been limited to amatuer-style vertical video. Periscope is the first company smart enough to finally acknowledge that vertical-only video is, indeed, a bug to be fixed.
In a response to a technical support request about being forced to stream and view vertical video, a representative from Periscope confirmed that this is a problem that would be resolved.
Thanks to users writing in, we've identified this as a bug. We’ve relayed it to the appropriate team and we appreciate your patience as we work through improvements.
Thus, we have only to wait until Periscope fixes this bug of vertical-only video in their popular live-streaming platform.
Meerkat, however, seemed to avoid acknowledging any problem or reassuring of any coming solution.
At the moment you can only view vertical, however we have loads of exciting new features in the future, ….
The problem with vertical video
The problem with vertical video is that everything outside of a smartphone is designed for horizontal video. Computer screens, televisions, movie theaters, and even our eyes are all designed for viewing things horizontally.
Problems started with amatuer video-takers using their smartphone video cameras without thinking. They would hold their phones in the orientation phones are designed to be held (vertically), but not realizing the consequences this would have on video.
If you thought the old days of watching widescreen, “letterbox” movies on a 4:3 ratio TV was bad, vertical video wastes even more screen space and reduces visual quality.
Jon Steinberg, CEO of Daily Mail, reports that full-screen vertical video ads in already-vertical mobile apps perform better than widescreen video, which require either rotation or letterboxing. Though the testing protocol and other factors seem to have been ignored, such as how it's usually harder or less obvious for how to skip these kinds of vertical video experiences.
Obligatory Vertical Video Syndrome PSA
No article about vertical video is complete without this public service announcement, thanks to Bento Box's “Glove and Boots.” (Video contains profanity.)
Yes, this article is highly opinionated based on a personally held worldview, exactly like all other articles are written.