Popular open source video playback app VLC has added support for 360-degree video to its desktop versions, and is planning to bring 360-degree support to its mobile apps in the near future as well. Dedicated VLC versions for virtual reality (VR) headsets like Oculus Rift and Google Daydream will likely be added next year as well.
New test versions of VLC for Windows and Macintosh computers can be downloaded from the VLC website for free. The apps can play 360 videos as well as 360 photos and panorama shots; users can pan through these videos with the help of their mouse or keyboard.
Videolan, the non-profit organization that has been developing VLC as an open source project, cooperated with VR camera developer Giroptic to add 360-degree video support to VLC. “VLC is one of the video players most widely used in the world,” said Richard Ollier, co-founder and CEO of Giroptic. “This will allow the millions of VLC users to take full advantage of a promising new technology and be widely involved in its democratization.”
Jean-Baptiste Kempf, one of the lead developers behind VLC, told Variety Friday that his team had already begun to work on spatial 3D audio necessary for implementing VLC on VR headsets. VLC will likely be available for Android-based VR devices like Google’s Daydream VR first, and then come to Windows-based devices like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, he said.