Facebook now supporting 360 videos

by Ian Hamilton • September 26th, 2015

Facebook is joining Youtube in support for 360 videos directly on its site and apps. Initial partners sharing panoramic footage include Star Wars, Discovery, GoProLeBron James & Uninterrupted, NBC’s Saturday Night Live, and VICE. For example, there’s a Star Wars video available of a craft speeding across the desert you can watch on the Facebook page for Star Wars linked above.

The videos are said to work cross-device much like they do on other panoramic video platforms, allowing you to rotate around the footage on the web by dragging around the video with your cursor or on mobile devices by either using your finger or turning the device.

Star Wars 360 iOS

360 videos from Facebook aren’t currently supported on iOS.

“If you’re using Facebook on the web or on Android, you should be able to see 360 videos in News Feed soon. We plan to roll this out for iOS in the coming months,” the press announcement said.

It’s an interesting statement of Facebook’s priorities that it would support Android and web long before iOS. Previously, Oculus “paused” support for developing the Rift on Mac computers. There are no Mac desktops or laptops which meet the minimum specification needed to run the Rift and all mobile Oculus software that has been released so far has been made for the Android platform.

Facebook’s David Pio takes the stage at Oculus Connect this afternoon for a presentation on “New Techniques for Streaming 360 Video.” Here’s the description of the talk:

More content creators are filming immersive 360-degree VR video content than ever before. However, VR video today requires high resolutions and high bitrates that stress the limits of video decoders and modern CPUs. These requirements make it challenging to stream high-quality VR video over typical wifi. We’ll reveal new techniques and transformations you can use to reduce the resources required to stream and decode high-quality VR video for playback on Rift and Gear VR.

We’ll update this post later with more information after the talk.

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