360° videos are everywhere, from Youtube to Facebook and now you can play them on your Windows 10 PC.
Even better, no additional apps are required since Microsoft has already rolled out a bundle of software that is capable of playing such high-resolution 360° videos.
The default video player app — Movies & TV is already equipped to play such video. But in case you need more features, third-party apps these days offer the same features as well.
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#1 Movies & TV has a built-in 360-degree video player
Windows 10 comes out with a media player program named Movies & TV. This software can play a 306-degree video with no additional extension.
1. Right-click on the video, select Open With, and choose Movies & TV. You may just ‘Open’ the video if the Movies & TV is already the default media player.
2. On the Movies & TV window, click the three horizontal dots at the bottom right and select Play as 360° Video.
3. The 360° view has been activated. Click and drag the mouse to look around.
While Windows 10 is armed with Movies & TV, older operating systems need some help from third-party apps. Among them, I found two that are quite popular, relatively simple, and of course, free to use.
#2 Or you can use VLC Media Player
Since the release of the VLC 3.0 update in early 2018, they added the ability to play a 360-degree video similar to Windows 10′ Movies & TV.
On top of that, VLC also activates hardware decoding to get 4K and 8K videos. That’s a logical move considering 360° videos have higher resolution than regular flat video formats.
Download VLC Media Player here, install it on your machine, then play the video. Alternatively, if you are still running older versions of VLC, just update it. Launch VLC, then under the Help menu, click Check for Updates.
#3 GoPro VR Player to watch 360° video & photo
The GoPro VR Player (previously Kolor Eyes) has been around supporting 360-degree video since its first release. The software is available for free, even if you don’t own a GoPro product. The app also works well with VR devices, a perfect choice to enjoy this kind of video.
Download GoPro VR Player, install and open that app, after drag & drop the video to GoPro VR Player window. The app should immediately recognize the media type and run in 360-degree mode.
In case you experience a performance drop or the video didn’t play smoothly, consider upgrading your graphics card. Alternatively, overclocking the GPU can add a bit of a free performance boost.