Google-owned YouTube said it had been held back from having sufficient resources to screen live footage, but was planning to launch a service later this year.
Users will be able to film events and upload them directly onto YouTube or to their own websites, opening up a new potentially large market that could drain more revenue away from traditional broadcasters.
The user-generated content could screen breaking news stories and live music as well as family events and celebrations.
Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube, said: "We've never had the resources to do it correctly, but now with Google we hope to actually do it this year."
However, a spokesman for YouTube downplayed suggestions that it had fixed an actual date for the launch of a live streaming service.
He said: "We are constantly working to develop new features and improve the product for our users, but we don't have anything to announce at this stage."
Meanwhile, veteran Hollywood actor Jack Nicholson has posted a humorous video mash-up in support of Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton on YouTube, featuring film excerpts from throughout his career.
The video, which has already generated more than 1m hits, is called 'Jack and Hill' and features footage from his role as The Joker in 'Batman', as well as clips from 'The Shining' and 'A Few Good Men'. The video asks: "Don't we need a president we can trust to be ready to go on day one?"