How to Play 360° Videos and Photos using VLC Media Player

VLC Media Player becomes the first mainstream media player to support 360-degree videos and photos out of the box. The latest announcement from the newsroom of the people who dedicated their time to create the most amazing video player app says that. So, from now on you will be able to play the spherical video formats in your Windows and Mac computers. The feature will soon be available for other platforms like Android, iOS and Xbox One.

But the feature will not be available in the older version i.e. the app with the 2.x.x version numbers. You will have to download a separate installer—currently available for Windows 7 onwards and macOS 10.10 and later for the Apple users.

Play 360° Videos and Photos using VLC Media Player

To start watching 360 content in your desktop or laptop, from the download page (linked above) download VLC 360 Windows or VLC 360 MacOS. An installer file will download to your machine. Locate it and install the program like you would install any other app. Since it is highly likely that you already have an older version, the installer will ask you to upgrade it. Please note that this is a technical preview version and more upgrades are soon to come. Once you upgrade your player, you will get VLC Media Player with the version number 3.0.0-git Vetinari [Help > About].

Using this upgraded player, open up your 360 video files. It also supports 360 photos and panoramas. You can rotate the video using your mouse or the arrow keys on your keyboard. There are different display modes as well—Zoom, Little planet, and Reverse little planet. Those of you who have been taking 360 photos in Android devices might be familiar with these modes.

We can’t wait till this interesting feature is merged with VLC 3.0 final release. The possibilities are infinite with VR support and 3D audio playback to look forward to.

42 thoughts to “How to Play 360° Videos and Photos using VLC Media Player”

  1. is there a way to force vlc to play in 360 mode, some files work other not.

  2. Two laptops with VLC 3.0.16, 360 mp4, open in VLC, I see the first frame only, I can pan around, the time bar keeps advancing, but the picture is frozen. If i manually advance the time bar, i get a new frozen picture, bar advances but not video.
    Third laptop has VLC, same video works perfect, but when i try to look for update for 3.0.16 for first 2 laptops, it says they already have latest VLC??

  3. I have two VR videos that are split across the middle on left and right sides. One is displayed in an immersive mode in VLC and the other isn’t. On another video player they book look split. Does VLC display them differently because one of them has 360 metadata and the other doesn’t? Is there anyway I can play the second video like the first one? Or without the metadata is it impossible?

    1. VLC 4.0 will have support for Stereoscopic VR (IE: top+bottom VR, or left+right VR). No, it won’t be anytime soon. VLC 3.x only has support for 360. No, there are no free players with stereoscopic support.

        1. Probably not. The lander does not have a 360 camera mounted (AFAIK) so what you downloaded is not really a 360 video but just a 360 pan of normal video created by someone stitching together a series of still photos. The lander does have 2 cameras that take pics together so it you could stitch the second camera’s images (which are also available to download) into another 360 pan, then merge with the 360 pan from the first camera to get a 360 video pan in 3D! (if you have a 3D viewer). I did it manually with just three images and looking out over the Martian landscape in 3D is quite breathtaking! (Ironically, since IRL you wouldn’t be able to take a breath while enjoying that view 😀 ). Sadly I don’t have the skills to write the software to do a full 360 3D video, nor the time to do it manually.

        2. Sorry. When I replied I was referring to the first video of Mars I saw which was not a 360 vid. I just clicked your Youtube link and see it is a 360 still image, so may be convertible.

  4. help…..ive got an Oculus Quest and want vlc media player to install on it, is there an installation file for vr headsets????

    1. They don’t have an official version for Oculus Quest yet. May be you can sideload the VLC Android apk to work on the Oculus Quest.

      1. I have tried side loading but unfortunately I’m have problems with it freezing when i select the next item to watch and need to completely restart the headset.. by the way thank you for the response

  5. Hello, I play 360 degree video in VLC on IOS.When it opened first time it was great size, qulity but than i accidentally touched the screen and the video got zoomed and since than whatever I try it wont go back to the not zoomed version. I even restarted computer deleted the app and installed it again, same with the video. How do I undo zoom of 360 video?

  6. Hi, I’ve recorded many 360 pics and videos on holiday with a Samsung 360 Gear. Ive “stitched them together “and downloaded them onto my Samsung phone and copied the files across to my windows p.c. The phone (what ever player android uses, plays both the videos and photographs in full 360 with no glitches. so then I turned to find a player to view them on my P.C with full functionality, your VLC player does play the videos perfectly (although as in a previous comment) quality seems a little low. However when its time to view the photos all that happens is the VLC icon jumps around the screen and flashes within the open player. Please help, any ideas.?

  7. It plays my 360 videos great, very clear picture. But I don’t find any button to change the spherical view to little planet, etc. How do you do that?

    1. That is a very good question. While hitting Page up and Page down (if you are on Windows) will Shrink and Expand the viewpoint field of view for 360 videos, it won’t create a little planet. It is possible in the android version where you drag your finger towards the top (or even toward the bottom).

      1. Hi good morning from the UK. I have a question I’ve just purchased a occulus rift s and would love the use VLC to play all my VR videos as this is the only player I have ever used over the last 30yrs. Question is how do I do it?. I can view the video on my PC on vlc but in unable to view the video through my headset. I can use virtual keyboard but I still only see the video being played on the desktop not as I would if I was using the skybox app for example. Manys thanks look forward to a reply.

  8. Some 360 videos play fine in VLC while others simply show up the whole thing instead of showing as VR. Is there a recommended metadata editor for MP4 files that I can use to modify information on those files?

  9. Quality of VLC Player playback of 360 Videos or Photos is really bad in comparison to Go Pro VR Player or Insta 360 Player.
    Please do something about it as VLC Player is most popular player and because of this people can try for the first time this great new tech and instantly hate 360 Videos/Photos as quality of VLC Player is below standards..

  10. I Just updated to version number 3.0.0-git Vetinari so I could preview my high resolution .jpg panoramas. When I try to open the files the traffic cone jumps around for a while and then nothing. In the previous version the pano would load but just display the complete image file in it’s distorted format and then go black.

    What formats are supported as both of my pano generating softwares produce .jpg ?

  11. Hi can somebody tell me how you can listen to 2nd order ambisonic files. I made mixes in pro tools and want people to look at in VLC. Or can somebody tell me if there is a manual online where I can find more information?

      1. the problem i’m having is that when i open a square video file(stuff i rendered for instagram usually), it thinks its 360 content and goes into vr mode.. so i do need a way to turn it off

  12. VLC 3.x works well (on Mac) if I have a 360 Video local file but if I try and stream the same file (using UNReal Media server) all I get is equirectangualar video – I am guessing meta data is missing? It would nice if VLC had a options to force to treat video as a 360.

  13. For People importing from 360-camera be sure to convert your Videos to equirectangualar (from the round image to a distorted lanscape projection). Fly360 and Rocoh have this export function in their software.

  14. Hi, great news about the 360 Viewer. I’m testing with spherical 4k mp4 content but its displaying the full equirectangular frame, not navigable. Does the mp4 need special metadata..?

    1. from their website – “Playback of 360 Videos following the Spatial Video spec” -looks like special meta data needed

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