VLC, the world’s number open source free media player just added a new feature to the software that would take it to another level. The feature though is mainly about keeping up with the latest video technology and formats. This time around, we are talking 360-degree videos.
VLC median player is one of the softwares I make sure to install on any new computer or anytime I format or upgrade a system. The fact is, if you don’t have VLC media player on your system, it means you are simply a neophyte in all things digital videos.
Anyway, all I am trying to say is that VLC is by far the best free, open source media player right now. Though I know a couple of people who think otherwise.
Talking about the new feature. The company launched only the technical preview for computers with VLC to be able to play 360-degree videos. So for now, this preview is not available for smartphones.
The full version of the software would be available when the next upgrade of VLC is released in a couple of days time.
However, VLC did not go at this project alone. They got a lot of help from Giroptic. In the tech world, Giroptic is well known as one of the leaders in the design and production of 360-degree cameras for consumers.
That is the sort of partnership that makes sense as both of them complement each other a lot. One is an expert in making cameras while the other provides the best media player for the videos shot with the cameras.
360-degree videos are not common at the moment. The chief reason being that it requires specialized cameras to make these videos and they are not cheap to make.
So you have to be somebody with a lot of money with a good reason to make these 360-degree videos before going into it.
In simple terms, 360-degree videos are differentiated from normal videos by the fact that you can view the video from different perspective. Meaning, you can look at the videos from any direction you chose; not just from the one angle presented by a normal camera.
And while these videos are playing, you can change the perspective or viewing angle. It is fun if you know how to work your way through them.
For now, the VLC 360-degree video feature does not support the same video format from YouTube. This could be a problem because, YouTube is the one place you are sure to get many 360-degree videos.
According to the VLC President, Jean-Baptiste Kempf, when contacted about the lack of support for YouTube videos, everything depends on Google the owners of YouTube. The issue basically is that the codes to make YouTube 360-degree videos play in other media players are yet to be released by Google.
This feature is just one of the few changes coming to VLC from next year. In the coming year, the company also planned include support for virtual reality headsets like Oculus Rift, Google’s Daydream, OSVR by Razer and Vive from HTC.
Mobile devices should not despair as VLC intend to bring support for Android and iOS platforms very soon. That means popular mobile VR headsets like Gear VR from Samsung. Windows ecosystem too is not left out in the planned upgrade. So expect to see support for the Xbox One and Windows 10 devices.
And to complement the 360-degree videos, VLC plan to introduction of 3D audio with head-tracking headphones very soon.
When this new features are added to VLC, the media player would cement it’s place as the media player that can play any video format in the world.
And that is one of the things that makes VLC awesome, it can play virtually any video file/format you throw at it.
image credit: endgadget.com; pcworld.com; gizbot.com; youtube.com