TV-quality live videos are coming to Facebook

Live video on Facebook is about to grow up.

The social network, in partnership with several publishers, has developed equipment that will allow publishers to broadcast high-quality live videos, according to sources. Whereas before a live video on Facebook only required a smartphone or tablet to record the content, major publishers will now be able to integrate this technology into their control rooms, allowing for videos that have multiple cameras, remote segments and a more polished look.

Facebook is planning to announce this capability during its annual F8 developers conference, scheduled for April 12-13 in San Francisco, according to one source. “F8 is critical in terms of media publishers right now,” said the source.

If announced as planned, this will be a major advancement for publishers live streaming video content on Facebook. Many publishers, ranging from news outlets like ABC News to pro sports teams like the Denver Broncos, have embraced Facebook live streaming as a quick and easy way to get in front of viewers. And Facebook users have been watching, with broadcasters like TMZ getting as many as 100,000 viewers whenever they go live.

Part of the appeal of Facebook live video, especially for smaller publishers, has been that it does not require a lot of resources. Oftentimes, it only needs one person to shoot video with a smartphone or tablet. Some publishers prefer to have a second producer behind the camera in order to monitor comments and engagement. The minimal requirement, combined with Facebook’s immense reach, has led to a wide adoption of the format, at the expense of other live streaming video platforms.

This technology could prove to be especially fruitful in Facebook’s efforts to get more TV networks distributing video content on its platform. It would enable news networks to go live on Facebook at the same time on linear TV, or simply produce a TV-quality broadcast only for Facebook.

“It’s a very cool evolution of the technology,” said a source.

When reached for comment, Facebook declined to elaborate. “We’re working with a small number of partners to test different ways to share live video on Facebook,” the company said.