Littlstar appears to have become the first to debut a 360-degree video app for the Apple TV. Using the touchpad remote control for the new Apple TV, viewers can pan around a 360-degree video on their television.
There are a a number of sites hosting 360-degree videos, including YouTube, Facebook and Vrideo. Disney-backed Littlstar is another company working in this area with apps on Android, iOS, Gear VR and a website with embed codes so you can put 360-degree videos anywhere on the Web. With the addition of an Apple TV app, the service is one step closer to being as ubiquitous for 360-degree video as YouTube is for traditional video.
The app is an important first for the cross-platform rollout of 360-degree video, which, aside from 360-degree photos, is the easiest content to produce for VR. You can hack together your own 360-degree camera rig from GoPros or buy a completed one from a growing list of providers including Nokia and Giroptic.
While some criticize this kind of content for not being as immersive and interactive as software built with a game engine like Unity or Unreal, these cameras do make it easy to capture a representation of the real world so dancers, actors, singers, or news events can unfold as they normally would in the real world for future presentation in VR. In comparison, volumetric capture companies like 8i and Uncorporeal show potential to realistically capture people you could walk around while still immersed in VR, but these companies are in the very early stages.
In the meantime, companies including Littlstar and WEVR are working on adding additional functionality to 360-degree video. For example, Littlstar suggested recently they are working on supporting branching storylines so that 360-degree videos aren’t only linear. More 360-degree videos in the future could change based on where you look, like a choose-your-own-adventure tale.