360 videos and photos are becoming one of the more popular formats out there, but there are still significant challenges to be had. Playback is one of these obstacles, but a new app from the VLC crew (VideoLAN) shows a lot of promise.
VideoLAN has released the VLC 360 tech preview, allowing you to play 360 photos/videos on Windows 7 and later or MacOS 10.10 and later.
As for capabilities, the 360 tech preview supports 360 video playback using the “Spatial Video spec”, as well as 360 photo/panorama support via the “spherical spec”. Either way, you can swipe through content using a keyboard or mouse.
The app also supports zoom, little planet and reverse little planet display modes.
VideoLAN confirmed that the 360 features will be merged into the VLC 3.0 app update, bringing support to all users.
VLC 360 tech preview is still in its early stages, but it’s got the basics down
In terms of real-world usage, the preview is still a little rough around the edges, being a tad slow in terms of swiping through content. I also tried using clips from the LG 360 Cam, but the stitching between the two cameras was extremely noticeable in the app. Nevertheless, a sample clip on the VLC website was more polished.
What about future platforms, then?
“Future releases of VLC with 360 features will be available for Android, iOS and Xbox One. Mobile versions will use the phone sensors to navigate inside the videos,” the VideoLAN team wrote.
“VLC will probably support VR headsets like Vive, Daydream, Oculus or OSVR, in 2017,” the team elaborated.
The developers added that 3D audio playback, “including head tracking headphones” will come to VLC.
Either way, between Facebook, YouTube and now VLC, it’s clear that support is slowly gathering for the fast-growing formats.