Skybox supports all platforms—and its free.
’Tis the season for family and friends. And as we pack our heavy parkas and a healthy dose of patience during some of the busiest travel days of the year, many of us will also be bringing along our favorite VR headset as well.
Whether cozied up around a fireplace or gossiping around the dinner table, sharing VR with friends and family can be some of the more enjoyable moments during the holidays. Maybe Grandma has dreamed of going skydiving or little Timmy wants to barrel surf the beaches of Tahiti.
It can be a challenge to find a great VR video player that impresses. Especially one that consistently works when you want it to and is also supported on the VR headset you actually own.
One app that i’ve been relying more on to watch videos in VR is the Skybox VR Video Player. Sometimes its just watching a 2D movie on a packed flight, letting me transport myself to a big theater environment. Other times it may be reviewing 360° video footage we just shot for post-production edits. The Skybox VR video player is simple and it’s supported by pretty much all headsets.
Available on Oculus, Steam VR, Gear VR, and Daydream (Cardboard coming soon), Skybox is the best free VR video player out there and will take whatever you throw at it. And when I say whatever you throw at it, I mean everything. Skybox supports some 30 plus video formats and even more audio/video compression standards. I’ve yet to run into any playback issues.
The app automatically recognizes the type of video and can tell whether the video being played is a 180° or a 360° video—or even the type of 3D video format to play correctly.
And when it comes to sharing VR video with friends, we all know how important first impressions can be. Many VR video players just present a floating video library to select from. But for Skybox, once you put the headset on, you are transported to an actual environment that 3D renders in real-time. These scenes include a main hall with a canyon view, a giant movie theatre, and even a space station. Since these are 3D environments and not just 360° photo backgrounds, you have the freedom to walk around with headsets like the HTC Vive. The environment also changes as the video content is being played, rendering in real-time, where you can see light reflections on the surrounding objects around the big screen.
For those of you worried about videos taking up to much space on your mobile device, the app also has a feature called AirScreen that lets you watch and organize content from a desktop or laptop. The desktop client app for both PC and Mac supports 4k streaming, while playing video locally off a device has 8k resolution.
Then there’s those of you who might watch certain VR video in your free time, video that horrify you if Mom stumbled across when exploring content on your phone. A hidden video files feature allows you to hide files from the phone’s gallery app, making your questionable videos only show up in the Skybox app.
Although I would love to see more customization of environmental lighting within the app, Skybox gets the job done with little headache.
Now go out and enjoy the holidays with family and friends. And introduce some new folks to VR.