VLC Media Player, you have to be someone who doesn’t play videos on his computer to not know the name. The app that lets you play basically any video format on practically any platform, is now about to add support for the possible future. By future I mean, 360-degree videos which are becoming more and more common, and yet, strangely, we hardly have any native apps to play them apart from the web browser.
This week, VLC unveiled a technical preview of the feature that allows its desktop app to play the newest format in videos. The preview is currently available for Windows and Mac machines. It is expected that the full VLC version 3.0 will be rolled out at the end of the month.
VLC’s creators VideoLan teamed up with 360-degree camera maker Giroptic to develop its system, which can display photos, panoramas and videos. You can use your mouse and keyboard to control your point of view in the footage. VideoLan says it will make these features available on its mobile apps as well, and let users navigate the clips by moving their accelerometer-carrying devices around.
Support for VR will also be arriving in 2017 allowing you to use your new Google Dayadream View headset, among others, to consume local 360 degree content. The app is also getting 360-degree audio support “including head tracking headphones,” says the company, although it’s not clear when that will happen. As ever, VLC 3.0 is “open source and cross-platform” and “accelerated with OpenGL and Direct3D11” for 360-degree features.
It is to be noted that currently, only the technical preview of the feature is out which means it is still short of perfection. For those willing to test the feature, the preview is available on http://streams.videolan.org/ along with some sample videos and images.
It’s clear that VLC is making a big push into enabling VR experiences across all its supported platforms, which should be good news for its large base of tech-savvy fans.